Terry Goodkind

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Terry Goodkind
Goodkind in 2005
Goodkind in 2005
BornTerry Lee Goodkind
(1948-01-11)January 11, 1948
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedSeptember 17, 2020(2020-09-17) (aged 72)
Boulder City, Nevada, U.S.
GenreEpic fantasy, sword and sorcery
Notable worksThe Sword of Truth

Terry Lee Goodkind (January 11, 1948 – September 17, 2020)[1] was an American writer. He was known for the epic fantasy series The Sword of Truth as well as the contemporary suspense novel The Law of Nines (2009), which has ties to his fantasy series. The Sword of Truth series sold 25 million copies worldwide and was translated into more than 20 languages.[2] Additionally, it was adapted into a television series called Legend of the Seeker, which premiered on November 1, 2008, and ran for two seasons, ending in May 2010.[3]

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


Goodkind was born in 1948,[7] and his home town was Omaha, Nebraska.[8] Because he had dyslexia, he found little interest in school, and therefore had no formal education beyond high school. In 1983, Goodkind moved with his wife, Jeri, to a house he built in Maine and later made his residence on the coast of Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, his primary home.[8]

Goodkind's dyslexia 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,[8] selling his paintings in galleries.[5] In 1993, during the construction of his and Jeri's home on the forested Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine, he began to write his first novel, Wizard's First Rule, and his writing career was launched with its publication in 1994.[9]

Goodkind competed in various forms of amateur and semi-professional auto racing, and drove a Radical SR8 SM-500 race car for his own Rahl Racing team.[10]

Goodkind died on September 17, 2020.[11] The cause of death was not released.[12]


Goodkind's first book, Wizard's First Rule, was auctioned to a group of three publishers in 1994 and sold for a record price of $275,000.[8][13][14] He 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.[15] Of his recent novels, Chainfire debuted at #3,[16] in January 2005; Phantom at #1,[17] in August 2006; and Confessor at #2, in November, 2007.

Goodkind's 12 books in the Sword of Truth series have sold 25 million copies and been translated into more than 20 languages.[2]

Genre and influences[edit]

Goodkind perceived his novels to be more than just traditional fantasy because of their focus on philosophical and human themes.[18][19] Goodkind believed that using the fantasy genre allowed him to better tell his stories and better convey the human themes and emotions he desired to share with readers.[20]

Goodkind was influenced by the work of Ayn Rand and Objectivist philosophy. 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". 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 Rand's books The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957).[6]


Some of Goodkind's political views have provoked controversy,[4] notably the dedication to his novel The Pillars of Creation (2001):[21]

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 he 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.[22]

Robert Eaglestone described the books as a "depressing read" due to the series' overarching cynicism, 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.[23]

Published works[edit]

The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #1 – Darken Rahl

#1 – Wizard's First Rule (1994)

#2 – Stone of Tears (1995)

The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #2 – Imperial Order

#3 – Blood of the Fold (1996)

#4 – Temple of the Winds (1997)

#4.5 – Debt of Bones (1998) (Prequel novella)

#5 – Soul of the Fire (1999)

#6 – Faith of the Fallen (2000)

The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #3 – Pristinely Ungifted

#7 – The Pillars of Creation (2002)

#8 – Naked Empire (2003)

The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #4 – Chainfire

#9 – Chainfire (2005)

#10 – Phantom (2006)

#11 – Confessor (2007)

The Sword of Truth Series: Story Arc #5 – The Darklands

#12 – The Omen Machine (2011)

#13 – The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus (2012) (pre-prequel novel)

#14 – The Third Kingdom (2013)

#15 – Severed Souls (2014)

#16 – Warheart (2015)

The Nicci Chronicles[24] (Sword of Truth Universe)
  1. Death's Mistress: Sister of Darkness (2017)
  2. Shroud of Eternity: Sister of Darkness (2018)
  3. Siege of Stone: Sister of Darkness (2018)
  4. Heart of Black Ice: Sister of Darkness (2020)
The Children of D'Hara (Sword of Truth Universe)
Angela Constantine / Jack Raines
  • Nest (2016)
  • Trouble's Child (2018)
  • The Girl in the Moon (2018)
  • Crazy Wanda (2018)

Modern Standalone

Goodkind wrote a novella titled Debt of Bones for the anthology Legends (1998), which was edited by Robert Silverberg. It is set in The Sword of Truth universe, 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 last story arc, titled Confessor, was released on November 13, 2007.[25]

In June 2008, Goodkind signed a contract to publish three mainstream novels with G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Books.[26] The first of these novels, titled The Law of Nines, 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] Tor Books published the first new novel, The Omen Machine, on August 16, 2011. Goodkind self-published the second new novel, The First Confessor: the Legend of Magda Searus, on July 2, 2012;[27] the book was ranked #28 on the Kindle bestseller list by the next morning.[28] Tor Books released the sequel to the Omen Machine, The Third Kingdom, on August 20, 2013, and the third novel, Severed Souls, which continues where The Third Kingdom ended, on August 5, 2014.

In January 2017, Goodkind's newest novel in the Sword of Truth Series was released, titled "Death's Mistress".[29]

In January 2019, Goodkind's continuation of the Sword of Truth series was announced, titled "The Scribbly Man".[30] [31]

In other media[edit]

On July 24, 2006, it was originally announced that the Sword of Truth book series would be produced as a television mini-series produced by Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen.[32] 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 book.[33] Raimi, Robert Tapert, Ken Biller, and Ned Nalle served as executive producers for the series, distributed by ABC Studios.[34] The first episode aired in syndication on November 1, 2008, and the show lasted for two seasons until its cancellation in May 2010.[3]

Severed Souls[edit]

An announcement video of the project was released on Vimeo,[35] presenting it as a manuscript. On August 10, 2014, Severed Souls was made public and is now available in local libraries and bookstores.[36]


  1. ^ Kurutz, Steven (October 2, 2020). "Terry Goodkind, Master of Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Tor signs three book deal with Terry Goodkind". us.MacMillan.com. 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. April 8, 2003. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  6. ^ a b Perry, W.E. (2006-05-17). "The Randian Fantasies of Terry Goodkind". The Atlas Society. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  7. ^ D'Ammassa D (2006). Encyclopedia of fantasy and horror fiction. New York: Facts on File. pp. 138–9. ISBN 0-8160-6192-0.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Terry Goodkind Bio". terrygoodkind.com.
  10. ^ "Rahl Racing". Facebook. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "Terry Goodkind (1948-2020)". Locus Online. 2020-09-17. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  12. ^ Visser, Nick (2020-09-18). "Bestselling Fantasy Author Terry Goodkind Dies". HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  13. ^ "Lynn Flewelling interview with Terry Goodkind". Bangor Daily News. SFF.net. November 1995. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  14. ^ Gilmore, C (1996). Pringle D (ed.). The St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers. St. James Press. pp. 237–8. ISBN 1-55862-205-5.
  15. ^ "New York Times bestsellers from 1994 to 2005". Hawes' Archive.
  16. ^ "New York Times bestsellers—Week of January 23, 2005". Hawes' archive.
  17. ^ "New York Times bestsellers — Week of January 23, 2005" (PDF). Hawes' archive.
  18. ^ "Terry Goodkind - Interviews & Past Chats - VA Book Signing". Prophets-Inc.com. September 9, 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  19. ^ "Prophets Inc Chat 5". terrygoodkind.com. 2003-09-20. Archived from the original on 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  20. ^ Snider, JC (August 2003). "Interview: Terry Goodkind". SciFiDimensions. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  21. ^ Gelder cites Goodkind's work as an example of the "reactionary aspects" of some modern fantasy writers. See Gelder (2004).
  22. ^ D'Ammassa D (2006). Encyclopedia of fantasy and horror fiction. New York: Facts on File. pp. 138–9. ISBN 0-8160-6192-0.
  23. ^ Eaglestone R (2005). Reading The Lord of the Rings: new writings on Tolkien's classic. London: Continuum. pp. 172. ISBN 0-8264-8460-3.
  24. ^ "Author Terry Goodkind". Terry Goodkind 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  25. ^ "His works: Confessor". terrygoodkind.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Announcement of final book in series.
  26. ^ Andriani, L (June 28, 2008). "Terry Goodkind Moves to Putnam for Three-Book Deal". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  27. ^ Deahl R (2012-06-13). "Terry Goodkind to Self-Publish Next Novel". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  28. ^ "Tracking Amazon: Terry Goodkind's Self-Published Novel Skyrockets". Publishers Weekly. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  29. ^ "Amazon.com: Death's Mistress". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  30. ^ Goodkind, Terry (April 2019). Amazon.com: The Scribbly Man. ISBN 978-1789541182.
  31. ^ "Terry Goodkind Website". Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  32. ^ Maul, K (2006-07-24). "Spider-Man director buys rights to Goodkind series". bookstandard.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  33. ^ Fickett, Travis (2008-07-24). "SDCC 08: Wizard's First Rule First Look". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  34. ^ Barnes, B (October 26, 2008). "Swords and Sorcery Return to Syndication". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  35. ^ "Severed Souls announcement". Vimeo. November 12, 2013.
  36. ^ Severed Souls. 2014. ASIN B00HBPXSYM.

External links[edit]