The universe of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" series contains The One Power, a mystical force that is split into two parts - saidine, the male half which men can control; and saidar, the female half which women can control. Only a select few can channel this power and the male half comes with a great price: it drives mad and eventually kills any man who uses it. The most drastic example of this is The Dragon Reborn - a being destined to appear every few thousand years and lead a battle against the forces of evil before going mad and destroying the world until the cycle repeats. Rand al'Thor is the current Dragon Reborn and he is fighting the madness inside his head.

In book 9 - "Winter's Heart" - Rand decides he can and will remove the taint from saidine, freeing the men who channel from their black fate. The book also contains a lot of Mat Cauthon's adventure - significant because he was absent from volume 8 - as he plans his escape; and Elayne Trakand, who is establishing herself as queen of her mother's country.

Some plot lines are wrapped up and some leave the reader hanging. In early chapters, Perrin sets out to rescue his kidnapped wife; then the story never returns to them.

As with the other books in this series, the plot advances slowly until the last few chapters when an epic battle accelerates the action.

So far, I have read thousands and thousands of pages, and I am frustrated that this saga is not yet complete.