|Cover artist||Keith Parkinson|
|Series||The Sword of Truth|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|LC Class||PS3557.O5826 N35 2003|
|Preceded by||The Pillars of Creation|
This book opens with Richard and Kahlan still in the Old World traveling back to the New World. A new character, Owen, pleads for Richard and Kahlan’s help in freeing his people from the hands of the Imperial Order. They are set upon by a seemingly mysterious dust storm that holds the silhouette of a man. They are sent a warning letter by Nicci, but before they are able to finish reading the letter they are set upon by Imperial Order mercenaries. After learning that Richard has been poisoned by Owen, they must travel back deeper into the Old World to the Bandakar. They find an ancient boundary protecting the Bandakar Empire from outside invaders came down two years past and now the Imperial Order has occupied this nation of frail-minded people. Soon Richard and Kahlan learn of a new monster that was created by Jagang’s Sisters of the Dark.
Richard, Kahlan, Cara, Jennsen, Friedrich and Tom are in the Old World, near the Pillars of Creation. They are trying to determine the meaning of a small statue resembling Kahlan. Cara had touched it and it activated like a sand hourglass. Richard notices some ravens and suspects that the birds are tracking them somehow. In the middle of the night, a shadow of a man could be seen with the ravens, his outline betrayed by the swirling sand and grit. Richard also discovers the existence of a boundary, recently destroyed, similar to the ones placed between Westland, the Midlands, and D'Hara, although he could not fathom why it existed. Richard's gift is giving him headaches again, but they're different from before. As they continue to travel, they cross paths with a young man who recognizes Richard as the Lord Rahl and begs Richard to help save his people from the Order, as his own people are too enlightened to perform violent deeds. With other trouble on his mind, Richard refuses and sends Owen away. Richard begins to notice a problem with the Sword of Truth, as well as his magic. Furthermore, he starts developing a fever and a chill. Nicci sends a letter in warning, but it is destroyed by the Imperial Order before they could finish reading it.
Meanwhile, Zedd and Adie are back at the Wizard's Keep to defend it against Emperor Jagang's Sorceresses. However, they are overwhelmed by intruders who enter the Keep, unaffected by any of the protection spells placed. A sister enters the Keep after Zedd and Addie are tied up and R'ada Hans are placed around their necks.
Richard was poisoned by Owen, a man from the Bandakar Empire, in order to force Richard to save the Bandakar people from the Order. Like Jennsen, Owen is Pristinely Ungifted, meaning immune and invisible to magic. Arriving in the Bandakar lands, he finds them stunted intellectually and culturally, embracing a philosophy of aggressive passivity, allowing themselves to be dominated entirely by the Order. Given their complete lack of ability to do violence, Owen brought Richard, believing he could drive the Order away. Richard discovers that the Bandakar are the long lost descendants of the House of Rahl's Pristinely Ungifted children, banished across the boundaries to the Old World three thousand years ago. Once in the Old World, a great wizard then placed them in isolation to prevent their ideas from infecting the rest of the world. Using the Bandakar as hostages, Jagang has sent them into the Wizards Tower to rob it, as the pristinely ungifted Bandakar are totally immune to magic.
Demanding to meet their leader, Richard is shocked to discover that the Wise One is merely a blindfolded child indoctrinated in their beliefs, believing that innocent children cannot lead them astray. After proving through debate that this is nonsensical, Richard is nearly killed by a Bandakar, and the horrified Bandakar realize that despite their passive ideology, they are also capable of violence. After raising an ad hoc army from the newly converted Bandakar, Richard assaults and kills Nicholas the Slide by tricking Nicholas into leaving his body vulnerable.
Wizard's Eighth Rule
The Wizard's Eighth Rule, revealed in Naked Empire, is:
Deserve victory. (Translated from "Talga Vassternich" in High D'Haran, a literary fictional language)— Chapter 61, p.626, U.S. hardcover edition
It is explained in the novel as follows: "Be justified in your convictions. Be completely committed. Earn what you want and need rather than waiting for others to give you what you desire."
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- Terry Goodkind: The Official Website. Retrieved November 1, 2010.