Terry Goodkind

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Terry Goodkind
TerryGoodkind TG-studio-2005.jpg
Goodkind in 2005
Born 1948 (1948)
Omaha, Nebraska, US
Occupation Writer
Period 1994–present
Genre Epic fantasy, sword and sorcery
Notable works The Sword of Truth

Terry Goodkind (born in 1948)[1] is an American writer. He is known for the epic fantasy The Sword of Truth series as well as the contemporary suspense novel The Law of Nines, which has ties to his fantasy series. The Sword of Truth series sold twenty-five million copies worldwide and was translated into more than twenty languages.[2] It was adapted into a television series called Legend of the Seeker; it premiered on November 1, 2008, and ran for two seasons, ending in May 2010.[3]

Goodkind is a proponent of Ayn Rand's philosophical approach of Objectivism,[4][5] with references to Rand's ideas and novels in his works.[6]


Goodkind was born in 1948,[1] and his home town was Omaha, Nebraska.[7] In 1983 Goodkind moved with his wife Jeri to a house he built in Maine, later making his residence on the coast of Lake Las Vegas, Nevada his primary home.[7]

Goodkind has dyslexia, which initially dissuaded him from any interest in writing. Before starting his career as a writer, Goodkind built cabinets and violins and was a marine and wildlife artist,[7] selling his paintings in galleries.[5] In 1993, during the construction of his home on the forested Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine with his wife Jeri, he began to write his first novel, Wizard's First Rule, and his writing career was launched with its publication in 1994.[8]

Goodkind has competed in various forms of amateur and semi-professional auto racing and currently drives a Radical SR8 SM-500 race car for his own Rahl Racing team.[9]


Goodkind's first book, Wizard's First Rule, was auctioned to a group of three publishers in 1994 selling it for a record price of $275,000.[7][10][11]

Goodkind has subsequently published 16 other novels and one novella. All of his books, with the exceptions of Stone of Tears and Wizard's First Rule, have appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list.[12] Of his recent novels, Chainfire, debuted at #3;[13] in January 2005, Phantom at #1[14] in August 2006; and Confessor at #2 in November, 2007.

Goodkind's twelve books in the The Sword of Truth series have sold twenty five million copies and been translated into more than 20 languages.[2]

Genre and influences[edit]

While he acknowledges writing in the fantasy genre, he perceives his novels to be more than just traditional fantasy because of their focus on philosophical and human themes.[15][16] Goodkind believes that using the fantasy genre allows him to better tell his stories and better convey the human themes and emotions that he desires to share with the reader.[17]

Goodkind has been strongly influenced by the books of Ayn Rand and is a strong supporter of her works and her philosophical approach known as Objectivism. Writing about the series in The Atlas Society newsletter, Willam Perry states that Goodkind's "characters, plots, and themes...are clearly and directly influenced by Rand’s work, and the book’s heroes occasionally invoke Objectivist principles" with Goodkind using the novels to illustrate these themes. Perry notes the Objectivist themes become most obvious in Faith of the Fallen, which made the novel controversial among Goodkind's fan base; moreover, the novel contains several scenes that echo the plots of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.[6]


Some of Goodkind's political views have provoked controversy,[4] notably the dedication to his 2001 novel The Pillars of Creation:

To the people in the United States Intelligence Community, who, for decades, have valiantly fought to preserve life and liberty, while being ridiculed, condemned, demonized, and shackled by the jackals of evil.[4]


Don D'Ammassa described Goodkind as part of a "host of brand new writers [with] no previous experience writing fiction but who could turn out one large epic adventure after another", taking advantage of publishers' realization in the mid-1990s that traditional fantasy literature was a highly lucrative market. D'Ammassa described the series as having an inconsistent background that was reinvented and expanded in each new book, "regardless of how well it meshes with what he has previously established." D'Ammassa stated that Goodkind possessed "undeniable storytelling skills and a talent for inventing detailed and interesting societies", but described his characters as lacking depth, with a confusing morality that has "heroes performing acts every bit as heinous as those of the villains, sometimes with no apparent justification" and ascribed much of the popularity of the series to its "perverse sexual undertones" and sadomasochistic scenes described in "excruciating detail". D'Ammassa also stated that the "rules" found in the books are actually witticisms and concluded Goodkind's books to date were unlikely to produce anything of interest beyond their present popularity.[19]

Robert Eaglestone described the books as a "depressing read" due to the overarching cynicism of the series, with a weakness being the heroic characters are only likable in comparison with utterly murderous villains. Eaglestone notes that Goodkind brings "a sense of evil that is genuinely disturbing, deriving from twentieth-century monsters like Hitler and Jim Jones" to the post-Tolkien epic, also noting that Goodkind's use of sadomasochistic imagery was interesting, generating a genuine sense of perversity.[20]

Published works[edit]

The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #1

Debt of Bones (1998) (Prequel novella)

  1. Wizard's First Rule (1994)
  2. Stone of Tears (1995)
  3. Blood of the Fold (1996)
  4. Temple of the Winds (1997)
  5. Soul of the Fire (1999)
  6. Faith of the Fallen (2000)
  7. The Pillars of Creation (2002)
  8. Naked Empire (2003)
  9. Chainfire (2005)
  10. Phantom (2006)
  11. Confessor (2007)
The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #2

The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus (2012) (Prequel novel)

  1. The Omen Machine (2011)
  2. The Third Kingdom (2013)
  3. Severed Souls (2014)
  4. Warheart (2015)
Related novels

Goodkind wrote a novella titled "Debt of Bones" for the 1998 anthology Legends, which was edited by Robert Silverberg. It takes place in the Sword of Truth universe and is set a few decades before the events in the main series. In 2001, the story was published as a stand-alone book.

The last book in the first story arc, titled Confessor, was released on November 13, 2007.[21]

In June 2008, Goodkind signed a contract to publish three mainstream novels with G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Books.[22] The first of these novels was titled The Law of Nines, and was released August 18, 2009.

In April 2010, Goodkind signed a contract to publish three more novels with Tor Books, the first of which revisited the world and characters of the Sword of Truth series.[2] The first new novel, called The Omen Machine was published on August 16, 2011, by Tor Books. The second new novel, The First Confessor: the Legend of Magda Searus was self-published by Goodkind on July 2, 2012.[23] The book was ranked #28 on the Kindle bestseller list by the next morning.[24] The Third Kingdom, a sequel to The Omen Machine, was released on August 20, 2013, by Tor Books. The third novel Severed Souls continues where The Third Kingdom ended and was published on August 5, 2014 by Tor Books.

In other media[edit]

Main article: Legend of the Seeker

On July 24, 2006, it was originally announced that the Sword of Truth series would be produced as a mini-series produced by Sam Raimi and Joshua Dohen.[25] The series was ultimately dubbed Legend of the Seeker in order to differentiate it from the novels and allow an episodic format of self-contained stories that moved beyond the first novel.[26] Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Ken Biller and Ned Nalle served as executive producers for the series, distributed by ABC Studios.[27] The first episode aired in syndication on November 1, 2008, and the show lasted for two seasons being canceled in May 2010.[3]

Severed Souls[edit]

An announcement video of the project was released on Vimeo[28] presenting it as a manuscript. On August 10, 2014 Severed Souls was made public and is now available in local libraries and book stores. The E-book was made available on Amazon August 5, 2014.


  1. ^ a b D'Ammassa D (2006). Encyclopedia of fantasy and horror fiction. New York: Facts on File. pp. 138–9. ISBN 0-8160-6192-0. 
  2. ^ a b c "Tor signs three book deal with Terry Goodkind". 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  3. ^ a b Townsend, A (2010-04-26). "Legend of the Seeker Canceled, I Mourn". Time. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  4. ^ a b c Gelder K (2004). Popular fiction: the logics and practices of a literary field. New York: Routledge. pp. 157n2. ISBN 0-415-35646-6. 
  5. ^ a b "'Naked Empire': Author Terry Goodkind - Talk Today". USA Today. 2003-04-08. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  6. ^ a b Perry, WE (2006-05-17). "The Randian Fantasies of Terry Goodkind". The Atlas Society. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  7. ^ a b c d White, K (2000-08-01). "Author relies on memory to create fantasy tales". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  8. ^ "Terry Goodkind Bio at terrygoodkind.com". 
  9. ^ Rahl Racing, Retrieved 2013-10-28
  10. ^ "Lynn Flewelling interview with Terry Goodkind". Bangor Daily News. SFF.net. November 1995. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  11. ^ Gilmore, C (1996). Pringle D, ed. The St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers. St. James Press. pp. 237–8. ISBN 1-55862-205-5. 
  12. ^ "Hawes' archive of New York Times bestsellers from 1994 to 2005". 
  13. ^ "Hawes' archive of New York Times bestsellers—Week of January 23, 2005". 
  14. ^ "Hawes' archive of New York Times bestsellers — Week of January 23, 2005" (PDF). 
  15. ^ "Terry Goodkind - Interviews & Past Chats - VA Book Signing". 2000-09-09. Archived from the original on 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  16. ^ "Prophets Inc Chat 5". 2003-09-20. Archived from the original on 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  17. ^ Snider, JC (August 2003). "Interview: Terry Goodkind". SciFiDimensions. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  18. ^ Gelder cites Goodkind's work as an example of the "reactionary aspects" of some modern fantasy writers. See Gelder, 2004.
  19. ^ D'Ammassa D (2006). Encyclopedia of fantasy and horror fiction. New York: Facts on File. pp. 138–9. ISBN 0-8160-6192-0. 
  20. ^ Eaglestone R (2005). Reading The Lord of the Rings: new writings on Tolkien's classic. London: Continuum. pp. 172. ISBN 0-8264-8460-3. 
  21. ^ Announcement of final book in series.
  22. ^ Andriani, L (2008-06-28). "Terry Goodkind Moves to Putnam for Three-Book Deal". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  23. ^ Deahl R (2012-06-13). "Terry Goodkind to Self-Publish Next Novel". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  24. ^ "Tracking Amazon: Terry Goodkind's Self-Published Novel Skyrockets". Publishers Weekly. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  25. ^ Maul, K (2006-07-24). "Spider-Man director buys rights to Goodkind series". Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  26. ^ Fickett, Travis (2008-07-24). "SDCC 08: Wizard's First Rule First Look". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  27. ^ Barnes, B (2008-10-26). "Swords and Sorcery Return to Syndication". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  28. ^ http://vimeo.com/81714777 2013-11-12

External links[edit]