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Terry Goodkind
HarperCollins Voyager, 669 pages

Terry Goodkind
Terry Goodkind was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where he also attended art school, one of his many interests on the way to becoming a writer. Besides a career in wildlife art, he has been a cabinet maker, violin maker, and he has done restoration work on rare and exotic artifacts. In 1983, he moved to the forested mountains he loves. There, in the woods near the ocean, he built the house where he and his wife, Jeri, live. Terry Goodkind's first novel, Wizard's First Rule (1994), established him immediately on the epic fantasy scene. Subsequent books in the Sword of Truth series have climbed steadily up the national bestseller lists.

Terry Goodkind Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Debt of Bones
SF Site Review: The Pillars of Creation

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lise Murphy

Chainfire is the ninth book in the Sword of Truth series. This book picks up after the book, Naked Empire, once Richard Rahl has left Bandakar in the Old World. He awakes after a near deadly wound to find that his wife Kahlan is missing. But worse, discovers that not a single person remembers her. Cara and Nicci, two of his closest advisors and friends, believe that Richard is suffering from delusions. Richard, holding fast to his knowledge and love of Kahlan, knows that he is the only person that will be able to save her. Though, at times, even Richard himself doubts what he knows and doubts his sanity and his choices.

Having been disappointed with the last two novels in the Sword of Truth series, I was not expecting much from this latest novel. However, because I did so love the first few books in the series, packed with magic, dangerous pursuits, intrigue and more than a little bit of cleverness, I was not ready to give up on the series all together. I am resoundingly happy that I stayed the course. Chainfire did not disappoint. It is action packed, full of magic and impossible perils. The premise is also intriguing. The reader, who has experienced the journey from woods guide in Westland to Leader of the D'Haran Empire alongside Richard and Kahlan, is as keenly aware as Richard of the troubling reality of Kahlan's disappearance from the hearts and minds of everyone who cared for her. The reader, like Richard, is as unaware of the cause, but unlike Nicci and Cara, knows that Kahlan exists. This allows the reader to fully empathize with Richard and to keenly feel his disappointments as well as his successes. This technique and the fast pace of the action fully engages the audience, something that was perhaps missing in the more recent novels in the series.

As Chainfire progresses, we realize that the last few novels were setting up the final novels. We have known, ever since the Imperial Order swept into the New World threatening the ideals of free will and independent thinking, that there will be a showdown between D'Hara and the Imperial Order. We have also been told that Richard is the Pebble in the Pond, the Bringer of Death, the only wizard born with both sides of the gift in a thousand years. It will be quite interesting to see what Mr. Goodkind weaves with all the intricate history that he has built. He has, in fact, given the reader such history and knowledge in order to be able to create something that seems based in reality (not quick-fix solutions to wrap things up neat and tidy and totally unbelievably). All this is setting the stage for some truly interesting fiction in the last few novels of the Sword of Truth series. As Richard says: "This is the final battle... The world stands at the brink of darkness...". Chainfire is the beginning of the end, and it should be a truly spectacular end.

Just a quick warning to those people who like to read books with neat and tidy endings that answer all their questions; you may just want to hold off until you can continue the story with the next book in the series: Phantom.

Copyright © 2006 Lise Murphy

Lise Murphy has been reading science fiction and fantasy ever since she was little. Aided by Star Wars, her Dad introduced her to the genre. Educated as a virologist, she has worked in rabies research for the federal government. She lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and beagle Madigan.

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