Terry Goodkind is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His books include the eleven-volume Sword of Truth series, beginning with Wizard's First Rule, the basis for the television show Legend of the Seeker. Goodkind was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where he also attended art school. Alongside a career in wildlife art, he has also been a cabinetmaker and a violin maker, and he has done restoration work on rare and exotic artifacts from around the world -- each with its own story to tell, he says. While continuing to maintain the northeastern home he built with his own hands, in recent years he and his wife Jeri have created a second home in the desert Southwest, where he now spends the majority of his time.
Big, bland and conventional, Goodkind's first novel is an epic fantasy that doesn't conjure up much magic. Its hero, Richard Cypher, is no ordinary woodsman. He is, at first unknown to himself, the ``Seeker,'' wielder of the Sword of Truth and the only possessor of the arcane knowledge contained in the powerful Book of Counted Shadows. After his father is killed for refusing to disclose that book's location, Richard is wandering in his beloved forest when he spies a beautiful woman, Kahlan, being stalked by several assassins who have pursued her from her magic-filled homeland of the Midlands. Stalwart Richard saves Kahlan and, along with a wizard named Zedd, sets out to foil the power-hungry designs of the evil Midlands tyrant Darken Rahl. Many of the best moments here come during encounters with secondary characters: Adie, a crotchety old woman who traffics in Underworld magic by using bones; Rachel, an abused child who longs for her hair to be evenly trimmed; and Mistress Denna, a sadist who tortures Richard. Goodkind's writing improves as the book winds on, giving hope that the promised sequel will outclass this volume, but, for the most part, his prose is flat, his ideas hackneyed (Wizard's First Rule is, ``people are stupid''), his characters tediously moralistic and his plot without originality. (Sept.)
The protective barrier that separates Westland from its neighbors to the east is about to fall, letting loose a monstrous evil upon the world. Only the combined efforts of a young man dedicated to finding the truth, an enigmatic woman intent on concealing her past, and a crusty old hermit resigned to his inevitable destiny can prevent the opening of the three boxes of Orden-an event with the potential to destroy existence itself. The inclusion of graphic scenes of sado-eroticism, though integral to the story, may deter purchase by some libraries. Nevertheless, this first novel offers an intriguing variant on the standard fantasy quest. The richly detailed world and complex characters will appeal to mature fantasy aficionados.
"This is a phenomenal fantasy, endlessly inventive, that surely marks the commencement of one of the major careers in the genre. It has three things I find rare in combination: an interesting, lucid narrative; almost unremitting development and action; and some genuinely original and thoughtful aspects. Wizard's First Rule may be Terry Goodkind's first novel; his career is nevertheless already impressive." --Piers Anthony"A wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring epic fantasy debut." --Kirkus Reviews"Goodkind choreographs and intricate duality in which the dividing line between good and evil is often turned upside down." --Romantic Times