Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book #49: The Third Kingdom

The Third Kingdom, by Terry Goodkind. Unabridged audio.

I have read all of Terry Goodkind's books, and have reviewed one of them here. And one here.

This is his 14th novel overall, and the second to take place after the close of the Sword of Truth epic. The action picks up right where the last novel left off. At the end of The Omen Machine, after defeating the Hedge Maid. In that final conflict, Richard and Kahlan were injured. Their injuries, and the events of that confrontation with the Hedge Maid, form the basis for the plot of this new novel.

As in all of Goodkind's books, actions have consequences.

Infected with the essence of death itself from the final battle in the prior book, Richard has been robbed of his power as a war wizard,  he races against time to stop the terrible  conspiracy assembling itself behind the North Wall. His friends and allies are already captives, and his beloved Kahlan, also touched by death's power, will die completely if Richard fails in his quest to return her to the Palace of the Prophets.

The titular "third kingdom" is a place where both death and life exist, and this blurring of the lines between life and death include the presence of undead warriors. So in addition to fighting wizards and prophets, our heroes also have to face bloodthirsty, cannabilistic zombies.

With no magical power, Richard has only his sword (also missing its magic), his wits, and his wisdom. We are introduced to a young sorceress, Samantha, who is just coming into her healing powers. This is a type of character that Goodkind has written before. This gives Richard a foil that allows him to operate as both a teacher, and allows him to show his softer, compassionate side.

There were a few other plot points that were reminiscent of events from prior novels, but in fourteen books set in the same world, that is bound to happen.

This is a classic Goodkind tale, a solid adventure with strong characters, with strong motivations. There were fewer of the "preachy" moments that can slow the action in Goodkind books. This one definitely moves at a faster pace than some, and is a satisying fantasy novel.

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