In the universe of Robert Jordan's epic "The Wheel of Time" series, events repeat themselves with each turn of time's wheel - A turn that lasts thousands of years and spans many ages. As the Wheel turns, people are reborn to fulfill a destiny predetermined in a previous age.
One such person was The Dragon - a man who wielded the power of the universe to defeat the forces of darkness but was driven mad by that power.
It is now thousands of years later, and prophecies have foretold the coming of a new Dragon. Rand al'Thor, the protagonist of "The Eye of the World", has wielded this same power to temporarily defeat the villain Ba'alzamon and he now realizes that he is the Dragon Reborn. Rand is a shepherd from an isolated village who is unprepared for this responsibility and fearful of the madness that may consume him.
"The Great Hunt" is volume 2 of tWoT series and takes us with Rand as he and his companions seek the Horn of Valere - a sacred artifact stolen by Dark friends from those who follow the Light.
As in tEotW, we follow the travelers on their quest as they battle magic, demons, and other obstacles until they conclude their quest. Along the way, we get a closer look into the characters that make up the series and the world they inhabit. They grow up a little, hone their skills a little, and evolve a little. The action comes swiftly, but the characters evolve slowly - presumably to make the arc last for over a dozen books in the series.
The pacing is better in this novel than in Book 1, which dragged at times. Topics introduced in the first novel are explored further in Book 2. We see rivalries between factions of the Ais Sedai - a cult of female warriors / sorceresses capable of channeling the universe's power. We see women betrayed and enslaved by other women; we see Perrin tapping into his power to communicate with wolves; and we see Mat bonding himself to more magical devices with tragic consequences.
Jordan continues to draw ideas from Tolkien (calling upon an army of ghosts to fight your battle is an idea lifted straight out of Lord of the Rings), but he includes more of his own ideas in this story.
This is a worthy sequel and an inspiration for me to continue to Book 3.