Sword of Truth Series

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Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind

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Goodkindís debut novel, Wizardís First Rule, is an epic fantasy adventure. The tale begins as Richard Cypher, a not-so-simple woods guide from Westland, rescues the fair Kahlan Amnell from a vicious-looking group of men. Richard soon finds that there is much more to Kahlan than meets the eye. She is from the Midlands, a country steeped in magic and, until now, sealed away from Westland by a magical boundary. Kahlan informs Richard that the boundary is failing and a great evil is threatening them all. She has come to Westland seeking a great wizard. Richard is also searching for something Ė the person or thing that murdered his father. By agreeing to help Kahlan, Richard begins a journey that will forever change him. It will also shape the future of the world.

Without giving away more of the plot, suffice it to say that Goodkind has crafted an intricate and well-designed novel full of unexpected twists and turns. Richard Cypher and Kahlan Amnell are absorbing and likable characters. They both have secrets, some of which the reader knows, others which have yet to be discovered. They are surrounded by a supporting cast of interesting and quirky characters, both good and evil. The world that Goodkind has created is very real in some aspects. Although there is magic aplenty, Goodkind does not rely solely on magic to resolve the problems his characters confront. The only sour note in this novel occurs about three quarters of the way through. Goodkind introduces some very dark and disturbing elements which include pedophilia and sado-masochism. He does use these devices quite effectively to move the plot along, but I still found them to be rather jarring and unexpected. Goodkind also pays quite a bit of attention to character development and motivation.

It takes a while to find out what the wizardís first rule is, but once you find out youíll be amazed you didnít think of it first! Iím not sure if Goodkind intended to begin a series when he wrote this first book, but thatís what happened. The Sword of Truth series is now heading into its sixth novel, with Faith of the Fallen scheduled for release in August 2000. Fortunately, Goodkind is a considerate author. Wizardís First Rule is a perfectly complete story. While there are definitely more adventures in store for Richard and Kahlan, you wonít have to wait with bated breath for the next book to find out if they are rescued from the peril du jour as some authors of series would have you do. Thatís quite a relief, because at 836 pages for just the first novel, youíre looking at a considerable investment in time! Still, I definitely recommend reading Wizardís First Rule; I think youíll find it will be time well spent.

Reviewed by Diane

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