The Sword of Truth

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The Sword of Truth
The Sword of Truth cover designs.png
First edition cover designs for the 11 books in the original series
Author Terry Goodkind
Cover artist Keith Parkinson,
Doug Beekman (Wizard's First Rule),
Kevin Murphy (Blood of the Fold)
Country United States
Language English
Genre High fantasy,
Action,
Adventure,
Romance
Publisher Tor Books (USA),
Gollancz (UK) (Books 1-7),
Voyager (UK) (Books 8-11)
Published 15 August 1994 – 20 August 2013
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback),
Audiobook
Preceded by Debt of Bones

The Sword of Truth is a series of fourteen epic fantasy novels written by Terry Goodkind. The books follow the protagonists Richard Cypher, Kahlan Amnell and Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander on their quest to defeat oppressors who seek to control the world and those who wish to unleash evil upon the world of the living. While each novel was written to stand alone, except for the final three that were intended to be a trilogy, they follow a common timeline and are linked by ongoing events that occur throughout the series.

The series began in 1994 with Wizard's First Rule and Goodkind has since written eleven more novels in addition to a novella titled Debt of Bones. The last novel in the series, The Third Kingdom, was released in 2013. As of 2008, 25 million copies of the series' books have been sold worldwide,[2] and the series has been translated into more than 20 languages.[3] A television series adaptation of the novels, titled Legend of the Seeker, produced by ABC Studios and broadcast via syndication, first aired on November 1, 2008.

Keith Parkinson served as the cover artist for all the novels of the first edition, apart from Wizard's First Rule and Blood of the Fold. New hardback and paperback editions of those two books were later published with new cover illustrations by Parkinson. Parkinson died on October 26, 2005, but not before completing the cover art for the last two novels in the series.

Synopsis[edit]

The series is set in a world divided into two major regions: the New World and the Old World. The New World consists of three lands with Westland in the west, D'Hara in the east and the Midlands in the center of the two. D'Hara is ruled by a magically gifted member of the Rahl family, while the welfare of the Midlands is decided by a council of representatives led by the Mother Confessor, who is also the leader of the Confessors. The Confessors are a group of women who each have a magical power to force a person to become entirely devoted to them, allowing them to fulfill their purpose – to find the truth. Westland, a land of no magic, is also ruled by a council of representatives. The Old World is not introduced until the second book in the series and its geographical features are described in less detail.

The main character is a young man named Richard Cypher, a Westland woods guide whose simple life is forever changed after he becomes the Seeker of Truth – a position similar to that of a Confessor, requiring him to uphold justice in the world. Over the course of the series, Richard learns about his heritage while seeking to stop the evil that others would unleash upon the world of the living. Because Richard refuses to sacrifice his values and lives his life as a free man, others begin to understand the nobility of man and what it means to be free. Each book is loosely themed around a Wizard's Rule, tenets by which all wizards should abide. The eleventh full-length novel, Confessor, concludes the series' central story arc regarding the invasion of the Imperial Order, an empire in the Old World led by Jagang.

Introduction[edit]

The first book, Wizard's First Rule, takes place in the New World, some twenty or so years after two magical boundaries were raised to separate Westland, the Midlands, and D'Hara. The story deals with the growth of the D'Haran Empire under its leader, Darken Rahl, as he invades the Midlands, taking over its territories while seeking to gain control of an ancient power over life called the magic of Orden. The book begins a few weeks after the murder of Richard's father. Richard encounters a young woman by the name of Kahlan Amnell, who is a Confessor and has come from the Midlands in search of the First Wizard. He discovers that his best friend and mentor, Zeddicus Zu'l "Zedd" Zorander, is the wizard whom she seeks. Furthermore, he finds himself appointed and accepting the role of the Seeker of Truth and wielding the Sword of Truth. The sword is said to work through perception, it will cut through anything thought of as an enemy; with any doubt the sword will stop mid-air, inches from the target. The Sword also instills and amplifies great anger and rage thereby giving the one wielding it added strength, agility and conviction. Richard, Kahlan and Zedd journey to the Midlands in search of the last Box of Orden that Rahl needs to acquire before he can use the magic of Orden. Along the way, Richard and Kahlan fall in love. The first book concludes with Richard killing Rahl by tricking him into making a mistake, and the revelation of Richard's true parentage.

Invasion of the Imperial Order[edit]

The series continues with Stone of Tears, which immediately follows the events that occurred in Wizard's First Rule. Unbeknownst to Richard, the opening of the boxes of Orden has torn the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead, allowing minions of the Keeper of the Underworld to come forth. Richard and Kahlan return to the Mud People (whom Richard and Kahlan befriend and defend in Wizard's First Rule) and decide to marry. However, before they can, they are separated when Richard is captured by the Sisters of the Light; they are women from the Old World, and they train men who can use magic to become wizards. Richard is taken to the Old World, while Kahlan goes to Aydindril to find Zedd for help. On the way, she witnesses the beginning of the Imperial Order's invasion into the New World. Upon reaching Aydindril, she discovers that her people have been corrupted by the Order; she is subsequently sentenced to death. Meanwhile, at the Palace of the Prophets (the Sisters' home in the Old World), Richard learns more about magic, prophecies, and his identity. He escapes the Palace and returns to D'Hara to stop the Keeper from devouring the world of the living. The novel ends with Richard discovering that Kahlan is safe outside Aydindril with her identity shielded by Zedd, and Kahlan being reassured that Richard has returned to the New World.

Richard's plan to reunite with Kahlan is delayed by the arrival of the Mriswith and the advancement of Jagang's army into the New World in the third novel, Blood of the Fold. Having accepted his identity as a war wizard – and the gifted son of Darken Rahl – Richard decides to rule D'Hara and take command of the D'Haran army to seize control of the Midlands, which has weakened with Kahlan's absence as the Mother Confessor. Kahlan is captured on her way back to Aydindril, along with the sorceress Adie, by the Blood of the Fold. The Blood of the Fold are being tricked by Emperor Jagang, the leader of the Imperial Order, to do his bidding. After realizing that the Blood of the Fold have taken Kahlan and Adie to the Palace of the Prophets, Richard travels to the Old World to rescue them. He takes this opportunity to destroy the Palace, preventing Jagang from using the treasures it holds. While Verna, the new Prelate, leads the Sisters of the Light and their students to join the D'Haran army, Richard and Kahlan return to Aydindril and defeat the Mriswiths, as well as the Blood of the Fold.

The fourth novel, Temple of the Winds, tells of the struggles Richard, Kahlan and their friends face as they attempt to stop a plague released by a Sister of the Dark under Jagang's control and to prevent Jagang from seizing important items that will help him win the war. As Nathan Rahl retrieves books from Jagang under a tentative deal struck between them, he sends Zedd and Ann to destroy the prophecies found within the Jocopo Treasure. As foretold by prophecy regarding the plague, Kahlan betrays Richard in order for him to gain admittance into the Temple of the Winds, where he can then stop the plague. When Richard eventually returns, they forgive each other for their actions. However, the price of Richard's return includes that he has to leave with the plague. With Nathan and Cara's help, Kahlan is able to cure Richard of his plague. The plot concludes with Richard and Kahlan's wedding at the Mud People's village, where they are reunited with Zedd and Ann.

Directly following Temple of the Winds, Soul of the Fire revolves around Richard and Kahlan dealing with the threat of all magic's disappearance and the leaders of Anderith, who are considering surrendering to the Imperial Order whilst they have a weapon of mass destruction called the Dominie Dirtch in their possession. Richard and Kahlan discover that a terrible magic known as the "Chimes" has been released and is draining magic from the world, causing magic to fail and creatures of magic to die. They head to Anderith, a land in the Midlands which they believe is connected to the Chimes. Moreover, as Jagang's army marches towards Anderith, Richard attempts to save the people of Anderith by urging them to join the D'Haran Empire but fails. Meanwhile, Ann attempts to save the Sisters of the Light under Jagang's control but is betrayed by them and is captured instead. She escapes with the help of her former student, who is a Sister of the Dark. The novel ends with Richard banishing the Chimes and deciding to return to Westland, where he will help Kahlan recover from injuries sustained in Anderith and wait until the people of the New World prove to him that they truly want freedom.

The next volume in the series, Faith of the Fallen, chronicles more than one and a half years of the characters' lives. Nicci, a Sister of the Dark and a follower of the Imperial Order, captures Richard and forces him to travel with her to the Old World by using a magical spell that allows her to control Kahlan's life. Prevented from following Richard, Kahlan and Cara rejoin the D'Haran army in the Midlands. Kahlan assumes control of the army and stalls Jagang's army from capturing Aydindril, the seat of power in the Midlands. When Kahlan finally sees that she cannot stop Jagang's army from seizing control of the Midlands, she travels to the Old World with Cara in search of Richard. Meanwhile, in the Old World capital of Altur'Rang, Richard has begun changing the outlooks people have, including Nicci's, on their lives and the beliefs they have of the Imperial Order through his determination and will to live. The people of Altur'Rang rebel against and free themselves from the Order. Repenting, Nicci removes the spell from Kahlan and joins Richard and Kahlan in their fight against the Order.

Journey through the Old World[edit]

While continuing on from Faith of the Fallen, The Pillars of Creation differs from the other novels in the series in that its protagonists are not Richard and Kahlan, but new characters by the names of Jennsen Rahl and Oba Rahl, who are Richard's half siblings. Both are unaware that they are pristinely ungifted and immune to magic. Jennsen, who has spent most of her life hiding from the Lord Rahl (originally Darken Rahl), meets an Imperial Order spy named Sebastian, who fuels her hatred of the new Lord Rahl (Richard) by convincing her of the Order's beliefs in equality. She joins Jagang and his army as they launch an attack on the Confessor's Palace in Aydindril. After their defeat, Jennsen strikes a deal with the Keeper to surrender herself in exchange for Richard's death. Meanwhile, Oba follows the bidding of the Keeper, who is using him in his plan to enter the world of the living. In the novel's climax, Jennsen realizes the truth by seeing through the lies of the Imperial Order and chooses to help Richard in his quest against Jagang.

In the eighth novel, Naked Empire, Richard and Kahlan are interrupted from their journey home to the New World to help free the Bandakar Empire, deep in the Old World, from the Imperial Order. They learn that the people of Bandakar are pristinely ungifted like Jennsen and Oba, and have been overrun by the Order because they have shunned all forms of violence, refusing to fight for their own lives. Richard eventually convinces them to rise up and cast the Imperial Order, led by a cruel and merciless Slide, from their mountain homeland. In the process, Richard learns to restore his gift, which had failed because he did not have enough faith in himself and his abilities. Meanwhile, the Wizard's Keep in Aydindril is infiltrated by men captured from Bandakar. The novel ends with Zedd and Chase reclaiming the Keep, and the defeat of the Imperial Order's army in Bandakar.

Chainfire[edit]

The latest three novels of the series, Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor, were written as a trilogy called the Chainfire Trilogy, which brings the story arc concerning Jagang's invasion to an end. After recovering from an injury, Richard wakes up to find Kahlan missing and that no one remembers she existed. Richard discovers that the Sisters of the Dark kidnapped Kahlan and cast the Chainfire spell that erases everyone's memories of Kahlan and Kahlan's memories of herself. However, Richard's mind was protected from the spell by the Sword of Truth. The Sisters use Kahlan to steal the boxes of Orden in the People's Palace in D'Hara, which they intend to use to unleash their master, the Keeper of the Underworld, into the world of the living. Unbeknownst to the Sisters, Jagang still has access into their minds, and has learned much from their journey and of their plans. Meanwhile, Richard, under an alias, is captured by the Imperial Order, who are making their way to the People's Palace in D'Hara. Kahlan, who has also been captured by Jagang, sees Richard and although she does not remember him, she feels encouraged to fight on and remember her past. After Richard and Kahlan escape from Jagang, they return to the People's Palace, where Richard defeats the Sisters of the Dark and Jagang. To remove the Chainfire spell, Richard must use the magic of Orden. With that power, he not only restores Kahlan's memories and others' memories of her, he also creates an identical world or parallel universe to the one they're living in to which he banishes all of the people from the old world who are unable to see the benefit of individuality and prosperity. Jennsen and the people of Bandakar, the "pillars of creation", (the pristinely ungifted) decide to also go into this new, magicless world. (If they stayed and bred in Richard's world, magic would eventually die out.) Richard then closes the gateway seemingly forever and separates the worlds. The series ends with the marriage of Cara and General Meiffert, and Richard's declaration that the traditional D'Haran devotions are no longer necessary, because everyone's life is their own to live.

Prequel[edit]

In addition to the eleven novels, Goodkind wrote a short story titled Debt of Bones for the 1998 anthology Legends, edited by Robert Silverberg. It was published as a stand-alone novella in 2001. The story takes place in The Sword of Truth universe and is set a few decades before the events in the main series, focusing on how and why the boundaries that separated Westland, the Midlands, and D'Hara in "Wizard's First Rule" were created.

An e-book was also released in July 2012, titled The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus, set millenias prior to the main Sword of Truth series. The First Confessor covers a wide variety of information including the Wizards War, the Creation of the Sword of Truth, Confessors, and information about the damage done to magic with the Temple of the Winds. Terry Goodkind's website says, "The First Confessor is the foundation of the Sword of Truth series. This is the beginning of the grand adventure."

Omen Machine[edit]

On April 2, 2010, a video went up on Terry Goodkind's official site and YouTube channel promoting a new Richard and Kahlan novel that was released on August 16, 2011.[4][5][6][7][8] Mr. Goodkind has, after an extensively riddled online clue hunt, revealed the synopsis of the book. The Omen Machine takes place immediately after Confessor—beginning on the night of the wedding of General Benjamin Meiffert and the Mord'Sith Cara, the event of which concludes the last novel in the Sword of Truth series—when a mysterious machine is found underground and begins to give predictions, most of which are seemingly benign, but Zedd believes the machine must be destroyed until a prediction is given that scares him to death; a prediction which, if true, will tear apart Richard and Kahlan's life as they know it.

TV series adaptation[edit]

Main article: Legend of the Seeker

In July 2006, Goodkind announced on his official website that he had entered into negotiations with The Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi and producer Rob Tapert to bring The Sword of Truth to life as a TV live-action weekly series. According to the article, Raimi, Tapert and Joshua Donen planned to begin work on the Wizard's First Rule live-action weekly series in May 2008. Raimi & Tapert also wanted Goodkind to remain intimately involved with the project.[9] The show was renamed Legend of the Seeker because the producers wanted to be able to continue the series beyond the first book, and they felt the title Wizard's First Rule was too restrictive. It premiered on November 1, 2008.[10]

There are significant differences between the events of the novels and those of the series. In a February 2008 letter addressed to the fans, Terry Goodkind wrote, "The nature of TV syndication requires that each week's episode be a story in itself, meaning that while the TV series will follow the background story of the book, it will not be able to follow the book exactly because there would be parts that would make an incomplete episode." He later confirmed:

Sam Raimi and his team want to keep the TV series true to my vision, so rest assured that I am going to be intimately involved in the writing of each of the episodes. If you love the book just the way it is, then enjoy the book for what it is and come to the TV series prepared to enjoy the show for what it is.[11]

The TV series ran for 2 seasons, concluding May 22, 2010 with a total of 44 episodes.

References[edit]

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