Blood of the Fold is part three of The Sword of Truth. Verna is now Prelate of the Sisters of the Light and takes control of the Palace. She has to figure out who of her colleagues is Dark and who is not, a task that is proving to be quite hard. Meanwhile, Richard formally takes up leadership of D’Hara in order to secure Aydindril and stabilise the Midlands. He also has to deal with representatives from all the Midlands states who are hesitant to follow his lead. In the south, Emperor Jagang plans his invasion of the New World and has the fanatic Blood of the Fold soften up the Midlands for him. Kahlan is busy travelling back and forth and does not do anything of note.
Verna’s plot is quite interesting, but lacks surprising elements if you know Wheel of Time; the parallels to hunting the Black Ajah — and of the Sisters to Aes Sedai in general — are apparent. Kahlan’s part really disappointed me. I enjoyed her chapters the most in volume two and now she hardly appeared; I just hope she is not demoted to hero’s wife permanently. Richard’s plot is moving rather slowly for most of the time, building for the future. He makes many good decisions but is so appallingly stupid in the overhastily constructed ending that it hurts. The Mord’Sith bodyguards and our elderly wizards make for a couple of funny scenes that help with all the gloom and sappiness. Read more »
The Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind is the second volume of Sword of Truth. After their victory, Richard and Kahlan travel back to the Mud People to return Siddin to his family and have — finally — some peaceful time together. Things are bound to get busy soon, anyway, since the magic of Orden damaged the veil that keeps the Underworld apart from the living. The heroes want to ask the Mud People spirits for advice but end up releasing Darken Rahl’s spirit from the Underworld. But they are confronted with more urgent, tangible problems: Kahlan has to travel to Aydindril in order to pacify the Midlands again; after the end of the war, petty local conflicts have broken out everywhere. Richard needs to train with the Sisters of the Light — their keep situated in the opposite direction of Aydindril — in order not to die of his inborn and now manifesting magic. Both face long and hard journeys with many an unexpected event. In the meantime, Zedd picks up Adie; he needs her knowledge about the Underworld in order to figure out what to do about the tear in the veil.
This book is mainly devoted to character development. While Richard behaves stubbornly juvenile for most of the time, there are some very funny, but also moving scenes with the Sisters and, of course, Gratch. Richard is taught a lot, but sadly learns only little. He seems to spend his time mostly with threatening Sisters and plotting his escape departure. Kahlan’s journey is a lot more intense, showing off her martial talents and giving more insight into the Midlands. I greatly enjoyed her parts. Kahlan is the more mature character and it shows; she also got the more twisted, less predictable plot. Read more »
Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind is the first volume of sizeable series The Sword of Truth, counting eleven issues. It starts in the backwater Westlands where two strange things happen to woodsguide Richard who only recently lost his father. He is bitten by a strange plant and shortly thereafter helps the beautiful yet mysterious Kahlan escape from deadly pursuers — which all die in the process. Shocked by this experience, the otherwise peacefully living Richard is intrigued by the apparently foreign and rather tightlipped woman. He learns that she is looking for a powerful wizard who lives in exile in the Westlands; he turns out to be his life-long friend and mentor Zedd.
The two tell Richard of tyrant Darken Rahl who seeks to dominate all three territories — Westlands, Midlands and D’Hara — through brutal rule and powerful magic. Zedd names Richard Seeker of Truth and therewith proclaims him the one hero who can save the world from Rahl. Without further ado the little group sets out for the Midlands, Rahls agents on their tracks. Our heros are not helpless, though, having the magic of Wizard of the First Order Zedd, that of Richard’s Sword of Truth and a mysterious power of Kahlan’s at their disposal.
As you can see, Wizard’s First Rule is a good old orphan-becomes-hero tale. As such it is easy to grasp and follow. Goodkind has a pleasant style, if sometimes a little longwinded. Some episodes, especially Richard’s captivity, had my hair standing on end, literally. Others were sweetly malicious, for instance Rachel’s part. The main characters are easy to identify with; thank you, archetypes. To be fair, there are numerous inner and inter character conflicts that are very well engineered and spice the book up significantly, driven by secrets some of which even the reader does not know the truth of. Read more »