The Sword of Truth is an epic fantasy novel series written by bestselling author, Terry Goodkind.
This series is Terry Goodkind’s most famous work, with the New York Times naming him ‘master of fantasy fiction’ for the saga’s success.
These novels are set in a fantasy world that is being overtaken by evil and dictatorial oppressors.
It is up to a group of protagonists from different walks of life to complete a quest and defeat those who would destroy the world before it is too late.
The Sword of Truth has been adapted for a television series called Legend of the Seeker.
However, fantasy fans looking for the most in-depth portrayal of the story and characters should read the novels in order.
About The Sword Of Truth
The Sword of Truth series is an epic fantasy saga and a classic tale of good versus evil.
The novels are set in a fantasy realm divided into the New World and the Old World. The New World consists of three regions, named Westland, the Midlands, and D’Hara.
While Westland is a place where technology is hailed above all else, the Midlands’ rulers are known as the Confessors, while villainous magician Darken Rahl rules over D’Hara.
The story begins in a time of conflict between the Midlands and D’Hara.
During this upheaval, the novel’s central protagonist, Richard Cypher, is sought out by Confessor Kahlan Amnell, who has discovered Richard’s magical lineage and believes that he may be the prophesied Seeker of Truth.
Richard sets off with Kahlan on a quest to defeat the evil overlords threatening the Midlands.
Over the course of the series, they recruit more companions, including Mord-Sith protector Cara, and powerful wizard Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander.
The Sword Of Truth Books In Order
Released as a prequel to the original Sword of Truth series, The First Confessor follows Magda Searus on a quest to speak with her dead husband and uncover the truth behind his death.
- Good historical context for later books
- Fast-paced from the beginning
- Strong and believable female protagonist
- Contains spoilers for those who have not read the original series
Debt of Bones is another prequel to the original series.
The protagonist, Abby, is caught in the middle of a war and must save a child’s life, but time is running out before the final battle.
- Short and easy read
- Engaging pacing
- Answers questions from the original novels
- May spoil elements of the original series
The first book in the original Sword of Truth series, Wizard’s First Rule, sees Richard Cypher learn of his magical lineage and embark on a quest to save the Midlands from the evil overlord Darken Rahl.
- Powerful, epic tale
- Likeable characters
- Interesting plot twists
- Some issues with grammar and syntax
Stone of Tears follows on directly from Wizard’s First Rule, as Richard and Kahlan’s bond is tested by secrets, betrayal, and necessary sacrifice.
- Gripping, high-stakes plot
- Imparts important moral lessons
- Lots of tension and plot twists
- Dialogue gets repetitive at times
In Blood of the Fold, the barrier between the Old and New Worlds has been breached, and Richard and Kahlan are the only ones who can prevent the New World’s destruction.
- More character development compared to previous books
- Lots of immersive, descriptive detail
- Delivers life lessons along with the story
- Twists and turns can be hard to keep track of
In the fourth installment of the main series, Richard comes face to face with the evil Emperor Jagang.
Can Richard find a remedy for Jagang’s magical plague before it claims more lives?
- Fast-paced despite being long
- Connects multiple plots effectively
- Creates suspense for subsequent novels
- Some graphic, distressing scenes
In this installment, a dark power from a country far away spills into the Midlands.
Richard and Kahlan are stripped of their magic and begin their journey through the Midlands to save their home from ruin.
- Interesting character development
- Suspenseful and compelling
- Commentary on political manipulation
- A lot of the plot feels like filler
Richard journeys into the Old World to protect the Midlands from the evil plans of Emperor Jagang, accompanied by Mord-Sith Cara, while Kahlan raises an army for battle.
- Believable antagonists
- Explores different value systems
- Deeply emotive storytelling
- Slow-paced at the beginning
Richard and Kahlan find themselves hunted in a strange land. In order to defeat the hunter, Richard must face the demons lurking between the Pillars of Creation.
- Introduces new characters and perspectives
- Major plot twists
- Provides background and development
- Takes a while for the pace to pick up
Naked Empire begins with the poisoning of Richard, who learns that the only way to get an antidote is to save an empire from hostile invaders.
- Impactful political commentary
- Page–turning plot points
- Relatable new and old characters
- Lots of graphic violence
Having been injured in Battle, Richard discovers that Kahlan is nowhere to be found, and even worse, nobody else seems to remember her.
It’s up to Richard alone to find and save her.
- Exciting action sequences
- Readers learn more about the fantasy world
- Emotionally impactful plot
- Some lengthy exposition and detailing
Richard continues his search for Kahlan. Meanwhile, Kahlan uncovers a distressing piece of information regarding her own identity.
- Numerous compelling plot twists
- Riveting survival plot line
- Guides the series towards its climax
- Frequent pace changes interrupt the flow
The final installment in the original series, Confessor, sees Richard battle with his own demons as the forces of darkness threaten to overwhelm the New World.
- Interesting philosophical elements
- Good balance between description and action
- Ties up loose ends nicely
- Some parts feel a little rushed
The Omen Machine continues the journey of Richard and Kahlan as a new and even more sinister threat to their world rears its head.
- Fast-paced plot
- Action-packed and entertaining
- Compelling concept
- Some issues with repetition
Richard’s powers are stripped from him as he is infected with the essence of death. He must now uncover the cause and the cure before it’s too late.
- Shorter chapters are easier to get through
- Descriptions are very immersive
- High-stakes and suspenseful
- Very graphic in places
The heart of the Empire is threatened by Emperor Sulachan and Bishop Hannis Arc, while Richard and Kahlan are afflicted by a magical illness far from home.
- Intriguing new characters
- Smooth and well-paced read
- Suspense-inducing cliffhanger
- Excessive foreshadowing of plot twists
In the dramatic conclusion, Richard is prepared for death as the evil forces close in, but Kahlan still has the power to alter the fate of the world.
- Emotional reading experience
- Intense and full of action
- Satisfying conclusion to the series
- Wordy writing in places
Including the two prequels and four follow-up novels, The Sword of Truth series consists of 17 books, broken down into smaller series’ within the saga.
The Sword of Truth is an extremely long and epic high fantasy book series consisting of 11 central novels as well as four follow-up novels and two prequels.
While these novels have received some criticism for their graphic nature and writing style, they remain some of the most popular fantasy books worldwide due to their suspenseful plots and likeable characters.
It is advisable to read the original 11 novels in order of publication before moving on to the four-part series and coming back to the prequels if you want your reading experience to be spoiler-free.
However, fans who have already finished the series may wish to start with the prequels and work chronologically in the order laid out here, since the prequels also provide important background and context.
Whether you choose to read this series in order of publication or chronology, you’ll be mesmerized by the rich, beautiful, and dangerous world Goodkind has created.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Read The Sword Of Truth In Order Of Publication?
You can read The Sword of Truth books in chronological order, as outlined in this article. However, for first-time readers, I recommend starting with Wizard’s First Rule and progressing in order of publication before circling back to the prequels to avoid spoilers.
Which Is The Best Sword Of Truth Book?
Faith of the Fallen, the sixth book in the original series, or the eighth if you count the prequels, is considered by many fans of the series to be the best book.
However, Wizard’s First Rule and Stone of Tears also tend to rank highly.
What Age Group Are The Sword Of Truth Books For?
The Sword of Truth contains some adult themes as well as scenes of graphic violence. For this reason, the books are only appropriate for people aged over 16.
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