The Sword of Truth
Cover of Legend of the Seeker box set volume one
In chronological order:
|Cover artist||Keith Parkinson,|
Doug Beekman (Wizard's First Rule),
Kevin Murphy (Blood of the Fold)
|Publisher||Tor Books (US),|
Gollancz (UK) (Books 1–7),
Voyager (UK) (Books 8–11)
|Published||15 August 1994 – present|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback), Audiobook|
|Preceded by||Debt of Bones|
The Sword of Truth is a series of twenty one epic fantasy novels written by Terry Goodkind. The books follow the protagonists Richard Cypher, Kahlan Amnell, Nicci, Cara, 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 eighteen more novels in addition to a novella titled Debt of Bones. The latest novel in the series, Shroud of Eternity, was released in 2018. As of 2008, 25 million copies of the series' books have been sold worldwide, and the series has been translated into more than 20 languages. 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 two more novels in the series.
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. Warheart was the last novel in the series.
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 Boxes 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 "Old One" 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
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
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.
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.
In addition to the 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.
Set millennia prior to the main Sword of Truth series, The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus was initially released on July 15, 2012, as an e-book, then in print July 2015. 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 claims "The First Confessor is the foundation of the Sword of Truth series. This is the beginning of the grand adventure."
The Richard and Kahlan series
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. 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.
Published on August 20, 2013, The Third Kingdom is the second novel in Goodkind's new series about Richard and Kahlan. Following an attack by the mysterious half people in the Dark Lands, Richard and Kahlan find themselves abandoned by their friends. After being saved by the people from Stroyza, Richard heads out on a quest to save his friends and meets the sinister Bishop Hannis Arc.
The third novel in the new Richard and Kahlan series, Severed Souls, was published on August 5, 2014. Following the events in the previous two books, Richard must find a way to cure Kahlan and himself from the Hedge Maid's stain of death. Meanwhile, Hannis Arc and Emperor Sulachan march towards the heart of D'Hara.
Warheart is the fourth entry in the new Richard and Kahlan series, published November 17, 2015.
The Nicci Chronicles
Taking place after the events of the four Richard & Kahlan novels, Goodkind has released a new series which follows further exploits of former Sister of the Dark, Nicci, & former prophet, Nathan Rahl.
Released January 24, 2017. It is the first entry in the Nicci Chronicles series and the 18th novel, chronologically, in the Sword of Truth universe. Following the events of Warheart, Nicci decided to take her leave of Richard and Kahlan for a time. For whatever reason, Nathan Rahl chooses to accompany her. She goes on a mission to the Dark Lands to visit the witch, Red, who sends them off chasing a vague prophecy that she will save the world, which takens them across the known world & deep into a forgotten, unmapped region south of the Old World and the D'haran Empire, known as the Phantom Coast. Before leaving, Nicci saves a young sailor named Bannon, who grew up in a place called Chiriya Island, and he joins them on their quest, learning a lot of wisdom from both Nathan and Nicci. Nathan begins to lose control of his magic, an effect of the fact that prophecy has been allegedly eradicated. Together, they cross the Phantom Coast, fight off the dangerous, Viking-like Norukai & vicious sea monsters, stop a mad judge who froze an entire population with a cursed necklace, meet the last dragon left in the Old World & discover an ancient archive of arcane magic guarded over by a group of less-than-cautious scholars as they try to seek out a mysterious realm called Kol Adair & unravel the mystery of Red foretelling. It is followed by Shroud of Eternity.
Shroud of Eternity
Released January 9, 2018. It is the second entry in the Nicci Chronicles series and is the 19th novel, chronologically, in the Sword of Truth universe. Picking up where Death's Mistress left off, Nicci, Nathan and Bannon find Kol Adair to be a mountain pass which leads to a field full of petrified soldiers and little else. Nathan recognizes some of the insignias, claiming them to be the army of a General Utros- a powerful military commander who served another would-be despot, Emperor Kurgan, 1500 years prior. He went off to conquer a mythical city called Ildakar & never returned. The following night, they are met by three strange young men who are out destroying the statues. The three men lead them into the city of Ildakar which, to hide from further military conquests, erected a magical barrier called the Shroud of Eternity, which pulls them out of time & traps them in a bubble. In recent years, the shroud has been failing, however. Nicci, Nathan & Bannon are introduced to Ildakar as official emmiseries of Lord Rahl & begin trying to forge an alliance. They find Ildakar to be a society ruled over by the gifted, who enjoy lavish lifestyles and enslave the non-gifted. Prior introduced characters Prelate Verna Sauventreen & General Zimmer also return. Having returned to Tanimura to lead an excavation of the Palace of the Prophets, they intercept messages sent by Nicci and Nathan from the Cliffwall Archive and decide to mount an expedition to find it and secure it for the D'haran Empire. It is followed by the third novel, Siege of Stone.
Siege of Stone
Released December 31, 2018. It is the third entry in the Nicci Chronicles and is the 20th novel, chronologically, in the Sword of Truth universe. After a joining a slave uprising and overthrowing the leader of Ildakar, Sovrena Thora, Nicci, Nathan and Bannon begin work to put the city back together. Thora's husband, Commander Maxim, goes missing and, shortly thereafter, General Utros' army awakens. His army, still partly stone and quite difficult to kill, learns of all that has transpired and, in a sense of confusion and rage, renews their war on Ildakar in the name of an Emperor long dead. The Norukai King, Grieve, also begins planning an assault on Ildakar and the D'haran Empire, hoping to conquer the world. It is followed by the fourth novel, Heart of Black Ice.
Heart of Black Ice
Released January 21, 2020. It is the fourth entry in the Nicci Chronicles and the 21st Novel, chronologically, in the Sword of Truth universe. After Nicci travels north in a new Sliph to warn the cities of the Old World of the impending attacks and Nathan and Bannon help lead a dedicated force to attack the armies of Utros and Grieve beyond city walls, the leadership of Ildakar betray them, re-erecting the Shroud of Eternity, disappearing from the world again and leaving them stranded. As the third Sliph, an emphatic supporter of old Emperor Sulachan, realizes that Nicci is her enemy, she decides to strand her alone in the ruins of the city of Orogang, former seat of Emperor Kurgan, somewhere in the mountains of the Phantom Coast. Bannon is captured and enslaved by the Norukai and, despite managing to link his forces with those of Prelate Verna and General Zimmer, Nathan's force of Ildakaran and D'haran soldiers, Sisters of the Light and Ildakaran Wizards and Morazeth, they are vastly outnumbered. Worse, with the unexpected demise of Commander Maxim, his spells fully wear off and Utros' forces return entirely to humanity. Whilst stone, they couldn't feel hunger, but now they are ravenous and desperate. Utros makes a devil's pact with Grieve to unite their forces and declare war on D'hara. This novel is meant to end the Ildakar arc of the Nicci Chronicles series, but may be followed by further novels in the future.
The Children of D'hara
In 2019, Terry Goodkind began to release a short series of five new novellas following the story of Richard & Kahlan after the events of Warheart. The first book, released April 4, 2019, is entitled The Scribbly Man: The Children of D'hara 1. The second, Hateful Things, will be released on July 22 of the same year, followed by Wasteland, Witch's Oath, and Into Darkness. These books run together, as a single story and, due to a point made in Heart of Black Ice, seem to run concurrently with some books of the Nicci Chronicles. In 2021, they will also be re-released as a single novel. At the end of Warheart, Richard promised Kahlan that their time would be the birth of a new Golden Age for their empire. But, a Wizard's promises always come true, and not always in the manner one might expect. The People's Palace is suddenly attacked by an amphibian race of beings from another dimension who call themselves the Glee. They wish to hunt man for sport and follow the commands of their queen, known only as the Golden Goddess. They can appear and disappear at will and possess humans at will and the only saving grace is that they are confused by and terrified of magic, the Golden Goddess referring to Richard as the "Shiny Man." If Richard and Kahlan's line is wiped from the earth, the Glee will no longer have anything to fear, so they believe. It is only then that Kahlan learns that she is pregnant with Richard Rahl's children—a pair of fraternal twins.
- The Law of Nines. Released August 18, 2009. This novel takes place in our world, apparently one thousand years after the events of the Sword of Truth novels. It was written immediately following Confessor. A descendant of Jennsen Rahl and Tom begins being harassed by warriors from the Sword of Truth universe and a sorceress named Jax comes to his aid as they try to understand what these new enemies want.
|Published Order||Chronological Order||Title||Publication Date||Series|
|1||3||Wizard's First Rule||August 15, 1994||Sword of Truth|
|2||4||Stone of Tears||September 15, 1995||Sword of Truth|
|3||5||Blood of the Fold||October 15, 1996||Sword of Truth|
|4||6||Temple of the Winds||September 15, 1997||Sword of Truth|
|5||2||Debt of Bones||August 25, 1998||Prequel|
|6||7||Soul of the Fire||March 15, 1999||Sword of Truth|
|7||8||Faith of the Fallen||August 22, 2000||Sword of Truth|
|8||9||Pillars of Creation||November 20, 2001||Sword of Truth|
|9||10||Naked Empire||July 21, 2003||Sword of Truth|
|10||11||Chainfire||January 4, 2005||Sword of Truth|
|11||12||Phantom||July 18, 2006||Sword of Truth|
|12||13||Confessor||November 13, 2007||Sword of Truth|
|13||14||The Omen Machine||August 16, 2011||Richard and Kahlan|
|14||1||The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus||July 2, 2012||Prequel|
|15||15||The Third Kingdom||August 20, 2013||Richard and Kahlan|
|16||16||Severed Souls||August 12, 2014||Richard and Kahlan|
|17||17||Warheart||November 17, 2015||Richard and Kahlan|
|18||19||Death's Mistress||January 24, 2017||Nicci Chronicles|
|19||20||Shroud of Eternity||January 9, 2018||Nicci Chronicles|
|20||21||Siege of Stone||January 1, 2019||Nicci Chronicles|
|21||18||Episodes 1-5||April 4, 2019 - June 30, 2020||Children of D'Hara|
|22||22||Heart of Black Ice||January 21, 2020||Nicci Chronicles|
TV series adaptation
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. 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.
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.
The TV series ran for two seasons, concluding May 22, 2010 with a total of 44 episodes.
A thread woven through the original series are the 11 "Wizard's Rules", which are practical teachings given to young wizards. Further rules are mentioned on occasion, afterwards.
- Wizard's First Rule: "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they're afraid it might be true. Peoples' heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."
- Wizard's Second Rule: "The Second Rule is that the greatest harm can result from the best intentions."
- Wizard's Third Rule: "Passion rules reason."
- Wizard's Fourth Rule: "The Wizard's Fourth Rule, he called it. He said that there was magic in sincere forgiveness, in the Fourth Rule. Magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, and more so in the forgiveness you receive."
- Wizard's Fifth Rule: "Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie."
- Wizard's Sixth Rule: "The most important rule there is, the Wizard's Sixth Rule: the only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists, what is, is and from this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. It is the foundation from which life is embraced. Thinking is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts nor are they a means to discover them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality; it is our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss that we refuse to see. Faith and feelings are the darkness to reason's light. In rejecting reason, refusing to think, one embraces death."
- Wizard's Seventh Rule: "Life is the future, not the past. The past can teach us, through experience, how to accomplish things in the future, comfort us with cherished memories, and provide the foundation of what has already been accomplished. But only the future holds life. To live in the past is to embrace what is dead. To live life to its fullest, each day must be created anew. As rational, thinking beings, we must use our intellect, not a blind devotion to what has come before, to make rational choices."
- Wizard's Eighth Rule: "Talga Vassternich. Deserve Victory."
- Wizard's Ninth Rule: "A contradiction can not exist in reality. Not in part, nor in whole. To believe in a contradiction is to abdicate your belief in the existence of the world around you and the nature of the things in it, to instead embrace any random impulse that strikes your fancy - to imagine something is real simply because you wish it were. A thing is what it is, it is itself. There can be no contradictions. Faith is a device of self-delusion, a sleight of hand done with words and emotions founded on any irrational notion that can be dreamed up. Faith is the attempt to coerce truth to surrender to whim. In simple terms, it is trying to breath life into a lie by trying to outshine reality with the beauty of wishes. Faith is the refuge of fools, the ignorant, and the deluded, not of thinking, rational men. In reality, contradictions cannot exist. To believe in them you must abandon the most important thing you possess: your rational mind. The wager for such a bargain is your life. In such an exchange, you always lose what you have at stake."
- Wizard's Tenth Rule: "Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one's self."
- Wizard's Eleventh Rule: "The rule of all rules. The rule unwritten. The rule unspoken since the dawn of history... But Barracus wanted you to know that it's the secret to using a war wizard's power. The only way to express it, to make sure that you would grasp what he was intending to tell you, was to give you a book unwritten to signify the rule unwritten."
- Un-numbered Wizard Rule One: "There will always be those who hate and always will be." Meaning, one shouldn't waste time trying to defeat or fix people who are driven by hate, as the act can often cause hatred to worsen, or spread to others.
- Un-numbered Wizard's Rule Two: All things must die. There is no choice in that, only in how we choose to live.
Magic of the Sword of Truth
Throughout the series, various magical creatures & beings were brought up, or made appearances. Some of them were from actual mythology, others were fictionalized by the author & others were based on existing mythology, but with unique twists in the original idea.
- Bird Man-- Among the nation of the Mud People, a high ranking holy man exists, know in the series only as the Bird Man. He is able to call any bird he wishes to himself, can read signs from beyond & often participates in, or leads, many magical ceremonies.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- Confessor
- The Chimes-- groups of shape shifting, elemental, fairy like creatures who kill people and taint magic by existing in world's with magic. They were long banished to the Underworld, but came back briefly in one book. They are known as the Reechani, Sentrosi and Vasi.
Appearance-- Soul of the Fire
- Confessor-- Confessors are a magically formed race of women given the power of Confession. They can force anyone to fall so madly in love with them that they will do anything the Confessor asks. Prior to the beginning of the series, they had taken to ruling over the Midlands, a loose connection of separate lands confederated under them. They primarily used their powers to force confessions of criminals and to dethrone would-be tyrants. All Confessors wear matching black dresses, except for their leader, who wears white. The leader of the Confessors is the Mother Confessor. Their only weakness is that they can only use their powers once, and then need time to rest and recharge. This time varies from Confessor to Confessor.
First appearance-- The First Confessor; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 5: Into Darkness
- Dragon-- Just like dragon's from medieval lore. There are various dragon species, but only a few types are ever met. Some dragon's even have the ability to speak and reason, but there are allusions to other species which are kept as pets for hunting purposes. Given how dangerous they are, humans have long hunted them for their own protection, making them increasingly rarer. In the sword of truth universe, their existence is linked to magic so that, if magic dies out, so do they. Nicci once attempts to kill an elderly dragon with Wizard's Fire, but it has the opposite effect, actually seeming to heal and de-age the creature.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles
Dreamwalker-- a person with the magic to see into people's minds, and even control them, both through pain and humiliation, as well as literally, like a puppet. They were created as a weapon and are marked with solid black eyes. The only Dreamwalker in the series was Emperor Jagang. First appearance-- Blood of the Fold; Last appearance-- Confessor
- Gar-- A nightmarish creature best described as a cross between a gorilla, a bat and a gremlin that hunts through the use of Blood Flies. It wipes Gore from prior meal on it's stomach to feed the biting flies, which then stay close and spread out to attack and flush out further prey for the Gar. Two species are made note of- long tailed and short tailed, with the latter being the smartest.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- Blood of the Fold
- Half People-- soulless monstrosities who kill and canabalize the living in order to try to gain a soul through eating the dying alive. Some of them have Occult Powers. They were created by Emperor Sulachan.
First appearance-- The Third Kingdom; Last appearance-- Warheart
- Morazeth-- a variation on the Mord'Sith that only existed in the city of Ildakar. They use an Agile Knife, rather than an Agiel, and were primarily used to train arena fighters for the amusement of the Ildakaran upper class, as well as serving as bodyguards. They are minimally dressed in black leather, buzz cut their heads and are covered in welted magical runes that protect them from magical attack.
First appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles: Shroud if Eternity; Last appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles; Heart of Black Ice
- Mord'Sith-- Used in the series primarily by the House of Rahl, Debt of Bones noted that the use of them was once more widespread and later books confirmed that others can utilize them. They wear skin tight, leather jumpsuits and their hair in a long, single braid. Kidnapped and torturned into insanity as children, they serve as torturers and bodyguards. The magic of their weapons ensure that they must have a master in order to have power. A Confessors touch is an excruciatingly violent and painful death to a Mord'Sith.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 5: Into Darkness
- Mriswith-- reptilian monsters created from people long ago. They can become invisible and are expert fighters.
First appearance-- Stone of Tears; Last appearance-- Blood of the Fold
- Night Wisp-- a fairy like entity that only appears as a ball of light and speaks with a child like voice. Their survival depends on companionship and they will grow weak and die without their own kind near. They usually live in colonies, but only one such place is ever visited within the series.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- Confessor
- Pristinely Ungifted-- Someone born without even a single spark of the gift for magic within them, causing magic to be entirely nonexistent where they are concerned. They can only be harmed by it indirectly and can't be sensed by those with magic. They came about as an accidental consequence of the Rahl family attempting to bypass the progressive loss of magic in their world to ensure that they will always have a gifted heir in every generation. Every child of a Pristinely Ungifted individual inherits the trait, making people fear that their existence will destroy magic forever if they are not all killed.
First appearance-- Pillars of Creation; Last appearance-- Confessor
- Prophet-- a type of wizard who can also deliver prophecies. However, this type of wizard goes extinct following the events of Warheart.
First appearance-- Stone of Tears; Last appearance-- Warheart
- Seeker of Truth-- a type of avenging warrior created by wizards long ago to force truth out into the open and lead people towards more wise lives. They are given a weapon known as the sword of truth to accomplish the task, but must still be the right kind of person in the first place.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 5: Into Darkness
- Selka-- Aquatic creatures created from people long ago to engage in Marine warfare. They live in the ocean south of the Old World.
First appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles: Death's Mistress; Last appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles: Heart of Black Ice
- Sisters of the Dark-- a group of sorceresses who turned to the worship of the Keeper of the Underworld for a variety of personal reasons. They murdered and stole the gift from Wizards to get power equal to a wizard, and gained Subtractive Magic from the Underworld in return for their service. They were all originally Sisters of the Light and hid in plain sight. The Sisters had a hard time rooting them out, as it was their law that wrongful accusation of being a Sister of the Dark was seen as attempted murder and carried with it a death sentance.
First appearance-- Stone of Tears; Last appearance-- Confessor
- Sisters of the Light-- a group of sorceresses who tried to fill in the gap of training young wizards who had no wizard teacher themselves in the use of their powers. They were a semi-religuous order who worshipped the Creator and lived in the Palace of the Prophets together, until it was destroyed. They later took up residence in the Wizard's Keep.
First appearance-- Stone of Tears; Last appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles: Heart of Black Ice
- Slide-- a wizard-weapon which can steal souls to use for special spells and can possess any living thing with eyes to see through them.
Appearance-- Naked Empire
- Sliph-- a creature created to transport people great distances through a series of underground tunnels. They are made of a substance similar to Mercury/ Quicksilver and work through the individual asking for a destination, breathing in the creature and allowing it to pull them under and take them there. They can only go to pre-determined places, where Sliph Wells have been constructed. They were once people. Although it was believed that "The" Sliph in the Wizard's Keep was the only one, two others have since appeared in the series who go by different names.
First appearance-- Blood of the Fold; Last appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles: Heart of Black Ice
- Sorceror-- a sort of antithesis to a wizard. They are noted to have similar powers, but their powers are equal and opposite and don't work correctly against one another.
Appearance-- Faith of the Fallen
- Sorceress-- the female equivalent of a wizard, but usually arguably weaker. They cannot do some of the things wizards are known for, such as creating Wizard's Fire.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- The Nicci Chronicles: Heart of Black Ice
- Warlock-- noted as the male equivalent of a Witch Woman. They can do everything a witch can. The only Warlock in the series was Moravaska Michec.
First appearance-- The Children of D'hara 3: Wasteland; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 4: Witch's Oath
- War Wizard-- a unique and rare type of wizard who is extremely powerful and has varied potential skills, but can usually only use their gift by instinct.
First mention-- Stone of Tears; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 5: Into Darkness
- Witch Woman-- can see into the future and create illusions. Are usually feared and persecuted. Shota is the best known in the series, but there have been several so far.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 5: Into Darkness
- Wizard-- a generic term for several types of male gifted individuals with unique powers.
First appearance-- Wizard's First Rule; Last appearance-- The Children of D'hara 5: Into Darkness
Various magical relics, artifacts and powers come up throughout the series as well. These are explained below.
- Additive Magic
- Agile Knife
- Books of Prophecy
- Boxes of Orden
- Central Sites
- Con'dar (Blood Rage)
- Constructed Spells
- Journey Book(s)
- Language of Creation
- Occult Power
- Omen Machine
- Shroud of Eternity
- Subtractive Magic
- Sword of Truth
- Temple of the Winds
The novel series frequently enters lists of top fantasy novels. Wizard's First Rule and the subsequent series were together in the top 30 list by Paste magazine. In 2011, an NPR poll of 60,000 readers from among 5,000 fantasy novels nominated, found the series as the 62nd most popular fantasy/science fiction novel of all time.
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