SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1497 Confessor, by Terry Goodkind Book Review |

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Confessor, by Terry Goodkind
Genre: Faith Based Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Published: 2008
Review Posted: 6/25/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Confessor, by Terry Goodkind

Book Review by Paul Weiss

Have you read this book?

Where were those editors when they were so badly needed?

It's difficult to say whether "Chainfire" is the opening book in a trilogy or the ninth book in the now aging "Sword of Truth" series. (By some readers' reviews, "aging" is a rather kind characterization ... many have called it tedious and repetitive). In any event, to briefly summarize, Lord Richard Rahl is the sole survivor of a battle in which a troop of soldiers is brutally massacred by an unknown and, indeed, unseen enemy capable of enormous ferocity. When Richard recovers from his near fatal wounds with the help of sorceress Nicci's use of the all but forbidden subtractive magic, he discovers that he is the only living soul who remembers his beloved wife Kahlan, the Mother Confessor. All of Richard's friends and compatriots - Cara, his Mord-Sith bodyguard, Nicci the sorceress and former Mistress of Death, Verna and Ann, joint prelates of the Sisters of the Light, Nathan the prophet, the witch woman Shiota, even wizard Zedd, Richard's beloved grandfather - are convinced that Richard has lost his reason.

Worse yet, because Richard feels he must devote what remains of his life and energy to finding his beloved wife and rescuing her from whatever fate has trapped her beyond the world's ken, he has also reached the decision to not lead his weakened D'Haran troops in a final battle against the almost limitless hordes of the advancing Emperor Jagang. He has also traded his Sword of Truth to the witch woman Shiota for one critical scrap of knowledge ... the word "Chainfire", which he will discover in his travels is the name of a long deeply hidden spell capable of literally unraveling existence itself. Without Richard's leadership and the Sword of Truth, prophesy dictates that the free world is doomed to fall to Jagang and the Keeper of Death.

"Phantom", the rather bloated and sadly repetitive second instalment of this putative trilogy is based on Richard's relentless search for his beloved Kahlan, whose very existence has been erased from the history and memory of his world. Kahlan is now in the hands of Jagang, the evil emperor (who along with a very small handful of people throughout the breadth of Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" universe is still able to see her). Richard who has also lost his command of the magical gift has fallen into the hands of the D'Haran Commander Karg. Everyone in sight is trying to locate the powerful Boxes of Orden, the only known magical counterspell to the Chainfire spell which, it is now known, is flawed and is slowly destroying all magic in the world.

"Confessor", the eleventh novel (yes, you read that correctly), at long, long last winds the series up and, to Goodkind's credit, effectively ties up all the loose ends. I don't think it will constitute a spoiler or an overwhelming surprise if potential readers know up front that it's a happily-ever-after-all's-well-that-ends-well conclusion. The slow destruction of magic by the chimes and the blood taint of the pristinely ungifted is resolved. Richard and Kahlan are re-united and the Emperor Jagang is defeated in a suitable climax. Richard, of course, has recovered his Sword of Truth. The Sisters of the Dark and the Sisters of the Light receive their just rewards. Zedd happily retires to the role of an aging wizard. Cara, indulges her realization that love is possible and so on.

I'm not sorry that I read the series nor am I sorry that it took almost a decade of waiting and reading effort to finish it. But it's a sure bet that the series would have been much more effective in half the length and with some serious editing.

As I closed the book on the final page of this monstrous series, I realized with a smile that I still enjoyed it. I haven't seen any other reviewer mention it but I also thought that Goodkind had done a pretty darn good job of creating a fantasy version of the explanation for the European medieval world being forced to suffer through the bleak, anguished period we now call the "Dark Ages". You NEVER know ... it could be the truth!
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