is the ninth book in Terry Goodkind's grimly inventive Sword of Truth
fantasy saga, which began in 1994 with Wizard's First Rule
It's a tradition of long-running drama series that sooner or later, some character will suffer from amnesia. Goodkind gives this a neat paranoid twist when everyone except our hero Lord Richard Rahl forgets the existence of his beloved wife Kahlan. The more he protests that she was real, the more his sorceress and Amazon-warrior friends nervously humour him.
Meanwhile the apocalyptic background story continues, with evil Emperor Jagang's vast, fanatical armies moving to devastate cities and countries liberated by Richard's forces. The Emperor's latest terror weapon is an invincible, unkillable, many-shaped monster whose sole purpose is to find and destroy Richard.
Additionally, something has gone badly wrong with the prophetic books--whole libraries of them--that foretell a Last Battle where only Richard can save the world. Now, with Armageddon imminent, the prophecies have developed a rash of blank pages, as though some vital person has been erased from reality ...
Tough choices confront Richard when he abandons the defence of a key city to seek out a very unreliable authority and ask what's happened to Kahlan. All he's offered is cryptic advice with a high price tag, roughly equivalent to handing over the One Ring to Gollum. And what could "Chainfire" mean?
Of course there are many exciting action set-pieces en route. That nemesis monster strikes again and again, in horrifically random ways. The top sorceress confronts an entire wizard-led Imperial army. Closely guarded boxes of doomsday magic, locked away in Richard's own impregnable palace, come under unexpected threat.
Eventually we learn what happened to Kahlan and why. But there's no final closure in this installment, and Sword of Truth fans must wait in suspense for volume ten. Goodkind continues his mixing of adventure fantasy with dark moral complexity. --David Langford
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for Terry Goodkind:
‘A real born storyteller'
'Everything one could ask for in an epic fantasy'