Wizard's First Rule

Terry Goodkind, Author Tor Books $29.95 (576p) ISBN 978-0-312-85705-9
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.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
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