Soul of the Fire, by Terry Goodkind. Unabridged audio.
This is a re-read for me -- I read the series a few years ago, and then strarted listening to them a year ago or so with my daughter. We didn't quite finish this up during the Summer before she went back to college, so when she came home for an evening recently we knocked it out.
As is typical of this series, the actions of previous novels drive the plot in this one. Goodkind is a strong believer in cause-and-effect, and this aspect of his philosophy is on display here. This novel deals with "The Chimes," which were released at the end of the previous novel. The Chimes drain magic from the world, so all of the main characters (Richard, Kahlan, Zedd, Cara) are growing progressively weaker in the powers as the novel progresses, so the drama is whether they can banish The Chimes as much with their natural abilities and their magical abilities.
The characters are the people we have come to know, but their personalities and relationships are becoming more complex and layered.
In addition to being a (mostly) self-contained adventure, the spectre of the Imperial Order continues to grow as a backdrop. As readers, we are anticipating an eventual confrontation between Richard and Emperor Jagang. Goodkind does a good job of telling specific stories in a world that is definitely moving in a particular direction.
I love this series, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, even though it was my second time through. Some of the foreshadowing I am sure I missed on the first read.