Terry Goodkind is the author of the Sword of Truth series of books which, by June, 2002, comprised seven books and one short story. His first novel The Wizard's First Rule (1994) established him as an accomplished fantasy writer.
Goodkind thought up the Sword of Truth series during the early 1990s, while building his home in the forests of the North Eastern US.
It started with the character of Kahlan, and grew from that seed. It really became a haunting experience. As soon as I started writing Wizard's First Rule , I knew writing was my calling. I've found something to which I truly want to dedicate my life.
Goodkind was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where he also studied art, one of his many interests, on the way to becoming a writer. Besides a career in wildlife art, he has been a cabinet maker, violin maker, and he has done restoration work on rare and exotic artefacts from around the world; each with its own story to tell, he says. In 1983, Goodkind moved to the forested mountains he loves. There, in the woods near the ocean, he built the house where he and his wife, Jeri, live, and came at last to tell his own stories.1.
The World of the Sword of Truth
The Sword of Truth series is set in a completely fictional world in some ways similar to the world of JRR Tolkien. Goodkind's world is in turn subdivided into two worlds within the story; the 'Old World' and the 'New World'. The partition was created by ancient wizards who created a barrier of spells to prevent a war between the two sides.
The story begins in the New World which has three regions 'The Midlands', 'D'Hara' and 'Westland'. At the beginning of the saga these are separated by a boundary known as, unsurprisingly perhaps, 'The Boundary'. This was cast into existence by another wizard to stop the war between D'Hara and the Midlands and create Westland - a place for people who wish to live without magic. This may seem a little bit complicated to someone who hasn't read the books, but in the series it works quite seamlessly.
Characters of the Sword of Truth
Throughout the eight books Goodkind manages to establish a multitude of characters and here are four of the main characters:
Richard Cypher (Rahl)
Richard is born in Westland (the land without magic) as a simple woods guide. Unbeknown to him he has been born with a wizard's power unlike any that has been seen for generations. This is a result of his power being the culmination of two wizard's bloodlines. Wizard Darken Rahl, the leader of D'Hara, is his father (he is an illegitimate child) and First Wizard Zorander is his grandfather and trusted friend. His grandfather then names him the Seeker of Truth who carries the Sword of Truth which has a powerful magic all of its own, to add to his already terrifying credentials. Thus the series is named.
Character - Richard is a friendly type most of the time and is innocent of the evils of the world until he gets the Sword and has to learn to tap his rage and cleave people in two.
Kahlan Amnell is the ruler of the Midlands. She is also known as the Mother Confessor. She has the power to make anyone she touches, through magic, become utterly devoted to her with no regard for their lives. During the war with D'Hara she comes to Westland and meets Richard in her quest to stop Darken Rahl.
Character - Kahlan is headstrong, a wise leader and very fine. She does suffer from loneliness occasionally, though, as everybody is scared of Confessors.
Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander
Zedd as he's more commonly known is the First Wizard (ie the most powerful) of the Midlands. After the war, the other wizards betray Zedd's counsel and he leaves them to live in Westland and look after Richard his grandson.
Character - Zedd is slightly eccentric and both knowledgable and powerful. In well-written places he meanders from doddering old man to all powerful First Wizard.
Jagang through patient conquest holds the empire of the whole Old World. He is somewhat of a tyrant and sworn enemy to Richard. He also has the power of a 'Dreamwalker' in that he can slip into the minds of people with magic and get them to do his bidding. The exceptions to this power are Richard Rahl and those loyal to him, whose minds are protected by the magic of the bond created by Richard's ancient descendant Alric as a means to counter Dreamwalker's power.
Character - Jagang is a bit of a lout; he likes his drink, war and the company of young ladies. While he would be invaluable in a bar fight, he is twisted, cruel and evil. Despite these flaws he is extremely intelligent and a powerful leader.
Titles and Synopsis of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series
Book I - The Wizard's First Rule
Richard Cypher has to stop the twisted but powerful wizard Darken Rahl from opening the Box of Orden which will allow him to rule the World. The first book sets the standard for the rest and is generally the favourite among fans of the series.
Book II - Stone of Tears
The Stone of Tears is in the world and Richard must return it to the Underworld or the Keeper will break loose and reign in an orgy of death, mindless destruction, drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll.
Book III - Blood of the Fold
Richard begins to take the Midlands under control as the Emperor of D'hara but Jagang has his own plans to disrupt him. Not to mention the Blood of the Fold and their nipple collections.
Book IV - Temple of the Winds
Richard must breach the Temple of the Winds or a plague will wipe out the Midlands but there is a 'double-bind2' prophecy which must be fulfilled for this to happen. Jagang the villian is particularly nasty in this one.
Book V - Soul of the Fire
The chimes are loose and Richard and his newlywed Kahlan must banish them or magic will be sucked from the world and they will lose the powers they need to stop Jagang and the Imperial Order.
Book VI - Faith of the Fallen
Book six in the series, Faith of the Fallen is this researcher's personal favourite. Richard refuses to continue his fight in the war against the Order until the people prove themselves to him. Then he goes and gets captured by a Sister of the Dark and is taken into the heart of the Old World and the Emperor's home town.
Book VII - Pillars of Creation
This book veers somewhat from the main storyline to follow the path of Richard's little sister as she runs from the Lord Rahl. Still worth reading, though, even if only for the Imperial Order finally laying siege to Alyndril.
Short Story - Debt of Bones
A nice little (by Goodkind's standards positively minuscule) prequel to the events that happen in the other books. It is set in the time of the War against Panis Rahl and a young Zedd's efforts to stop him.