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Debt of Bones
Terry Goodkind
Gollancz, 116 pages

Keith Parkinson
Debt of Bones
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: The Pillars of Creation

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

When we meet Abby, she's standing in line, clutching a precious sack to her chest. She is waiting with other petitioners to see a wizard. It is war time, and D'Hara is trying to conquer the land. When some of the wizards are finally free, the group is led inside. Abby informs the sorceress that she wants to see the First Wizard himself. The sorceress tries to dissuade her, telling her that First Wizard Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander is also known as the wind of death, and is feared by servants as well as his fellow wizards. Abby insists that she must see him. When she finally finds her way to his chamber, she has a hard time getting his attention -- generals and sorceresses are all vying for his opinions to cement their own war plans. She explains to Zedd that the D'Harans have captured her village, and intend to use her people as a shield against the wizard's magic. He tells her there is nothing he can do, but she says he has no choice, that he owes her a debt of bones.

Debt of Bones is much, much shorter than the other books in The Sword of Truth series, yet it accomplishes a great deal. Those who were longing to get a closer look at the wizard Zedd will be pleased, because he is able to really shine in this prequel. I've always had a soft spot for him, and so was happy to see him away from Richard and Kahlan, to see what he was like before. Abby is also a good character, a young, powerless woman who bravely risks everything in order to save those she holds dear. Abby never flinches, she just keeps going, doing what she has to do.

Equally refreshing is seeing the world before the boundaries. Terry Goodkind creates a lot of back story that will enrich reader's knowledge of this world.

Keith Parkinson's illustrations also add a lot to the book. My favorite is that showing a Grace, a symbol used by the wizards of this series. For some reason I could never fully get an image of a Grace inside my head, and so actually seeing it was kind of cool.

Perhaps because of the limited amount of space, Debt of Bones felt like the action was more immediate... Zedd ends up placing a time limit on Abby, and as she races to save her family every element has higher tension. I was really drawn in, both because Goodkind's characterization of her was utterly round and sympathetic, and because I knew there were a lot of points to be resolved before the final page. I was very pleased with how he worked out all the issues. It also had the side effect of making me want to pull the rest of the books off the shelf and start reading the series all over again.

If you haven't read the books of The Sword of Truth, then this charming action story would be a perfect introduction. For long time fans, it will add some interesting details to the series.

Copyright © 2002 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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