by Terry Goodkind
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
672 pages; ISBN: 0765305232
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Tor, Jan 2005, $29.95, 672 pp.
Hit by an Imperial Order soldier’s arrow, Richard Lord Rahl nears death until Sorceress Nikki uses a “Subtractive Magic” spell to save his life. When Richard recovers he learns that his wife Kahlan is missing, but in spite of his insistence and need to find her, his companions insists that he has no spouse. The Subtractive Magic eliminated Kahlan from the minds of everyone except Richard.
While Richard struggles with his personal dilemma, his enemy Emperor Jagjang has sent his armies to destroy cities previously liberated by Richard's forces. At the same time that the prophecy books that predict a Last Battle where only Richard might save the world, it now contains blank pages as if the future reality shifted because of the erasure of a pivotal item. Finally the Emperor has conjured up an invincible blood beast to destroy Richard. Using magic to try to locate Kahlan enables the beast to find him. Desperate for information, Richard visits a Witch Woman who gives him little information and after seeing his grandfather, he worries whether he has lost mind and consequently his way.
CHAINFIRE is a terrific entry in the Sword of Truth series as Richard struggles with personal doubts and difficult selections involving Kahlan vs. saving lives that probably will die once he leaves them anyway. The story line is action-packed and filled with strong female warriors and a fabulous killing monster, but Richard and to a lesser degree the Emperor remains the center of the tale as their decisions impact often fatal others. Though some fans will balk at loose threads, epic fantasy readers especially of the long running saga will appreciate this fine entry that showcases how multifarious ethical principles truly are.
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