Introduction to Terry Goodkind
Terry Goodkind is the author of the Sword of Truth book series at this point totalling nine books in total 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.
He quotes, "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 attended art school, 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 artifacts 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 completly fictional World in some ways similar to the world JRR Tolkien created for his work.
This 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 seperated by boundary known as unsuprisingly 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 series it works quite seamlessly.
Characters of the Sword of Truth
Throughout the 8 books Goodkind manages to establish a multitude of characters and I will not attempt to reveal them all but here are four of the main characters:
Richard Cypher (Rahl)
Richard is born in Westland (the land without magic) 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 a b*****d 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 a powerful magic all of it's 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 that is 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 as well as knowledgable and powerful. In well written places he meanders from doddering old man to all powerful First Wizard.
Jagang through patient conquest is 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. Except for Richard Rahl and those loyal to him who's 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 Wizards 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-bind" (in layman's terms this translates too a prophecy of two unavoidable options, both dire) prophecy which must be fulfilled for this to happen. Jagang the villian is particuarly 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 6 in the series Faith of the Fallen is this researchers 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.
Book VIII - Naked Empire
In this Researcher's opinion this book shows something of a return to form for Goodkind although still lacking some of the thrills of the first books. In this book, Richard travels into a previously blocked off part of the world where ungifted people like his sister live. These people are being opressed by the Imperial Order and given time could be used as lethal weapons by Jagang in the elimintation of magic.
Richard attempts to help these people whilst simultaneously fighting the effects of a deadly poison and trying to second guess a deadly new weapon of Jagang's created by the Sisters of the Dark.
Book IX - Chainfire
As the Sword of Truth series nears its end this is rumoured by the official site to be the second last book. I haven't read it yet but some of the reviews have been unfavourable Publishers Weekly for instance says "Even fans will be disappointed by the minimal action and lengthy speeches that slow this juggernaut of a novel to a tedious crawl. Hopefully, Goodkind has positioned all his pieces and the pace will pick up in the next installment."
Short Story - Debt of Bones
A nice little (buy Goodkind's standards positively miniscule) 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.