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Publisher's Summary

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, Richard Cypher encounters a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, in his forest sanctuary. She seeks his help...and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In their darkest hour, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword - to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed...or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Epic edge: listen to more in the Sword of Truth series.
©2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring." ( Kirkus Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7,277
  • 4 Stars
    2,527
  • 3 Stars
    912
  • 2 Stars
    377
  • 1 Stars
    307

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,060
  • 4 Stars
    2,052
  • 3 Stars
    768
  • 2 Stars
    219
  • 1 Stars
    178

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,271
  • 4 Stars
    1,849
  • 3 Stars
    683
  • 2 Stars
    274
  • 1 Stars
    254
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This book is a blast

I first listen to this many years ago on cassette. I loved it, so when audible offered it at almost nothing, I had to listen again. I was a little worried, since the first time I listened it was read by Dick Hill, who was great. It took I little while to get into ST, but by the end I thought he did a great job.

This book is a thrill ride from the first minute and all the way through the 34 hours of listening. The main character Richard is no super hero, he is a guy like you and me. He has anger issues, he makes mistakes, he questions himself, etc. I must admit that at times the book sounds almost YA and it is a little preachy about Friends and the Truth and working hard, but with all the action, all the drama, all of Goodkind's wild imagination, this can easily be overlooked. There are no filler chapters, something is always happening. Here are just some of what you will find in the book: Quad Assassins, Gars, Blood Flies, Shadow People, Wayward Pines, a night wisp, snake vines, The Book of Counted Shadows, a Seeker, Heart Hounds, Wizard Rocks, The Underworld, Night Stones, Bone Woman, grippers, birdman, Wizard's Fire, Mistress Denna, Additive and Subtractive magic, the Con Dar, The Blood Rage, Scarlett the Dragon, etc.

My favorites of any book I have ever read were The Mother Confessor, The Mud People, and Mord-Sith. The Mother Confessor can with one touch, make you her slave. You will be in constant anguish, worried that she is not happy. If she says to you "I wish you would just die." You will make your heart stop and die. The Mord-Sith are women torturers who dress in red leather, so your blood won't show as much. From little girls they are raised to torture others and are tortured themselves. There are some strong women in the this book. The Mud People have a great since of humor and are very funny. As a form of greeting they slap each other. Any of these three would have been great to make a book around, yet TG has all three and so much more.

There are probably only two books I like better then this, Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

54 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the show

I bought this book because I saw the first two TV seasons based upon these books and I wanted to know what happened later. I found the book different and for the most part better than the show. The performance is outstanding. I highly recommend it to those who like this genre.

34 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joslin
  • Leesville, SC, United States
  • 10-16-09

Great story, fantanstic narrator

This was my first choice for a fiction audio listen. I was a little worried about a narrated fiction because my own imagination is usually better, but I was not disappointed. In fact, I'm half-way in love with Sam Tsoutsouvas' voice! He narrated this story beautifully, made the characters and story absolutely come alive! I highly recommend this audio book for anyone who enjoys a good escape into another world with the bonus of a wonderful guide found in Tsoutsouvas's voice.

70 of 99 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

....Not the best way to start.....

I am a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. This is not that type of writing. The epic feel of Brandon's stories is not present here.

What is present is a very close look at a hero and his journey to defeat an oppressive evil. Every good story makes a promise and then keeps it. A great story surprises you in how it keeps it, or makes you wish with all your heart that it is kept a certain way... and then tragedy or comedy shows you why it must not be kept that way or shows you that you were so right and you didn't understand how much so.

The author, in his effort to show the evil of the opponent, went too far in my opinion and at the same time failed to convince me of the motivations of the enemy. I felt the story wandered far too much. It was more like a reality show, than a movie.

With all that said, the book makes a sneaky promise, and at the end of the book it is kept. I won't tell you what it is. I'll leave it to you to see it. The author also surprised me about a few plot points, but it wasn't done as expertly as other authors have done, such as Brandon Sanderson, Anthony Ryan or even GRRM

As with all audio books, it can be difficult to separate out the writing from the speaker. I feel I can confidently say this reader was solid. A few sections I didn't like his interpretation of the writing, but overall I found him worth the listening. I would say he added something the original book lacks without him.

As a first book, this one was good. Terry Goodkind did a very good job of character development and world creation.

My one complaint is that he set the standard for the rest of his book, he created situations where his characters needed supernatural means to survive. Now a few of those situations were needed to reveal character's hidden talents, but to many in one book just starts to wear down the series if it continues with any frequency. If your main characters are backing themselves into that many corners one of two things are happening. Either your main characters are too stupid to survive, or in way over their heads and you have made your bad guys too good. In the first case it becomes pretty obvious fast if your characters are stupid and that's bad for buying in to the survariability of your characters. Goodkind avoids this by making his characters ignorant but smart. They aren't stupid so when they get into situations because of their ignorance you can buy into them getting out of it by using their brains. Where Goodkind makes his mistake is in the second situation. He makes his bad guys really good, but really dumb in some areas. You have the brains to send a deadly Mord Sith after your main character, but after your main character successfully defeats this same Mord Sith in front of your main bad guy, you give said main character free reign of the grounds for a number of days? Really?

I realize Goodkind was trying to show arrogance in his main bad guy, but that's not arrogance that's stupidity. No bad guy that had amassed as much power as Darkin Raul could be that stupid. This and a few other occurrences in the book are what drop it from a 4 star to a 3 star. This is a good story by itself, but a poor start to a series.

Is it worth buying? Possibly. I don't regret my purchase, but I am not overtly eager to continue the series.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

great narration, but don't bother

The narrator was one of my favorites. In particular, I've never heard anybody nearly as dramatic on an audiobook. But the story was just so bad. It dragged on and on and on with all the dumb situations the main characters got themselves into while the actual plot got an interlude every few chapters.

Definitely stay away.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Stereotypical Fantasy Story, But Well-Written...

The sign of an exceptional author is one that can write around his or her own worn plot, and still breathe life into it, In this case, Goodkind can really write a novel, despite the somewhat tired premise. Once again, an unsuspecting hero comes into his own, as his future destiny will shape and save a nation. Hmmm. We've heard this before from other audiobooks, but in this case, Goodkind takes the prize. You'll look past this issue, and love the way he brings the story, characters and magic together to create a powerful listen. And even better news - there are MANY other audiobooks in this series, and the plot DEFINITELY gets better at times.

So, this sweeping epic saga begins with this single audiobook, and is well worth your time.

22 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

my fav book of all time

i was never a big reader, when i was introduced to this book by my cousin i payed him no mind. one day at work a friend of mine was on break reading the last book to the series. i figured if two people i know liked it maybe it was worth getting into. im so happy i did! this book/series changed the way i feel about reading and listening to books! sam tsoutsouvas is amazing too, i wish he would have done all the books! GET THIS BOOK!!

27 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not for pre-teens

The book is engaging, particularly towards the end... that's if you lasted through the 500+ pages. The only drawback is the torture scenes toward the end. It would not be a book for pre-teens. The story is good and the characters are well developed, particularly Richard Cypher who is the Seeker of Truth. As with a typical quest, they encounter impossible challenges. The author does a great job of reframing the challenges to slowly reveal it is possible to overcome them all while the Seeker remains truthful.

23 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story!

My teenage son recommended this book to me, and I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, it was one of the best books I have read all year. It follows Richard, former woods guide and newly appointed "seeker," Zed the wizard, and Mother Confessor Kahlan, as they attempt to stop the dark wizard (aptly named Darken Rahl) from opening the boxes of Orden and obtaining the magic therein to control the world. But this book contains much more than this quest. It is also a heart breaking love story, a tale of friendship and honor, tells of deceit and betrayal, and the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. It is also full of action and suspense, and a shocking ending that I never saw coming. It was one of the rare books that simultaneously I want to find out what happens at the end and yet never want to end. Luckily for me, there are several more books in this series, and I hope they are all equally as enjoyable as this.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Fantasy Series

Truly amazing characters, especially the idea of the confessors and Kahlan Amnel's character. The narrator of this book did good, especially with Zed's voice, although I will admit I laughed when I heard the night wisp's voice. That was a little strange. Overall, the reading was good, and this is one of my favorite medieval fantasy series. Side note: the series on television just isn't the same, but I'm watching it anyway.

24 of 38 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sean
  • 08-27-09

Very Good. For adults only though.

Very enjoyable. I wasn't sure about the reader at first but once you get used to his style it turns out he's quite good.

The story is standard fantasy fair.

There's an ordinary guy for a hero who turns out to have a big destiny and a secret past.

There's a beautiful heroine with a dark secret.

There's a love story of doomed love.

There's an old wizard very much like Gandalf.

There's a magic sword.

I defy anyone to not think the Samuel character isn't a copy of Gollum from LOTR.

There's a mega baddy wizard for the enemy.

There's quest for a magic item needed to beat the baddy.

However despite all this standard fantasy stuff, it is a very entertaining and gripping story.

I did find the early chapters of part 4 heavy going with its graphic descriptions of torture and abuse. This part may have gone on a bit too long for my liking. There's also an attempted rape later on towards the end of part 4.

Not for children, this book.

Anyway, I must have enjoyed it as I've just bought the second book on Audible too.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • 11-22-08

Not normally a fantasy fan

This book was a really refreshing change from my normal choices. I am not normally in to this type of book. I find this much easier to follow than Terry Pratchett, which I struggle with. This is enough like our world to be easy to follow, and has loads of magic, adventuring and questing to make it a really good read.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 06-10-13

Had to give up! Dissapointing and over rated

Maybe it's because I'm British and find the narrator's voice very annoying but this was simply too annoying to even finish. I found that the narration emphasised all the wrong expressions in the narrative leaving me with the impression that the characters had no depth and little to distinguish them from each other.
Maybe I was spoilt by reading all the game of thrones books and guilty of trying to find something that might kill the time waiting for Martin's next book, however I listened to The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss and found it brilliant. This is not a patch on either so I'm still looking for the next series, preferably with British narration or at least someone with the concept of how to pause, express punctuation and build characters with their voice.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. S. A. Archer
  • 03-22-11

Good start, slow middle, great ending!

I agree with much of what the other reviewers have said, however having now listened to the second and third books, I would say that it is a little slow to get going. The opening is sufficiently interesting, however like the first LotR book, the whole 'travelling endlessly through the wilderness' bit gets a bit tiresome!

Seriously though, stick with it to the end. Yes, there is the whole graphic torture bit, however I disagree that this is pointless like others have said, and it's purpose becomes clear as you read on into later books.

All in all, a good book, but the subsequent ones are better, so haste ye through this one and get one with them!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • 06-20-10

Better read than listened to.

I agree with many of the other reviewers in that there are clear LOTR parallels and that the torture aspect goes on for far too long. Of course, when you read it yourself is isn't so blatant somehow and doesn't last for so very long so it is less painful. The descriptions are rather drawn out on an audio book (naturally) so it doesn't always have pace. Having said this, the scenes with Rachel are really enjoyable and sufficiently tense. I am still finding that I enjoy listening to books I have enjoyed reading rather than coming cold to them. That way, your own impression of the characters isn't coloured by the narrator's depiction. From the reading, Richard is one of my favourite characters ever - and I'm an Austen fan! Still the narration hasn't put me off - I am just finishing book 2 and about to download book 3. Book 2 changes narrator and he doesn't do women too well, and I notice there is yet another narrator for book 3!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dominic
  • 04-12-09

Great Listen

This book got me hooked into the Sword of Truth series. Well worth the money.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tashy
  • 02-15-14

Not for me ......

Would you try another book written by Terry Goodkind or narrated by Sam Tsoutsouvas?

Never again! This book has totally put me off Terry Goodkind. It was the first of his books I had downloaded and it will be the last. It didn't even inspire me to finish it. My original intention was to work my way through the whole series.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I like descriptive detail in a book but this book is ridiculous. A moment that would have passed in about 10 seconds is described for 5 minutes comparing it to every possible thing the author could think of to compare it to! You left thinking - JUST GET ON WITH IT!!! If I was reading and not listening I don't think I would have got past the first couple of chapters.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator was awful. His type of voice and the way he read it was totally out of context of the book. He would, I'm sure, be great a children's books. I kept thinking, will you just shut up!

What character would you cut from Wizard's First Rule?

None of the characters need cutting, the detail needs to be cut down. And some of the things the characters do, you are left thinking why? what was the point in that? And it doesn't make sense - unless I misunderstood it due to my lack of interest. It tells you Richards tooth prevents the creatures of the underworld from seeing him and yet before he went across to the midlands the creature pretending to be his father saw him and tried to draw him in to the underworld.

Any additional comments?

Perhaps my opinion is tainted because I quite simply couldn't bear the sound of the narrators voice. I love this type of story and have been reading them all my life. I'm sure it would be a great book if it was a third of the size. Words for the sake of making the book longer in my opinion. Boring boring boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Garf
  • 02-14-14

Unexpectedly good!

If you could sum up Wizard's First Rule in three words, what would they be?

Big, dramatic, enthralling

What was one of the most memorable moments of Wizard's First Rule?

Richard and Kahlens first meeting.

What does Sam Tsoutsouvas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Zeds voice - perfect!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Richard and Kahlens developing love and the realisation they could never be truly together.

Any additional comments?

I was not really expecting a huge amount from this book. The reviews all said it dragged on and the narrative was just too in depth. The narrator brought everything to life, especially Zed whose portrayal he nailed exactly! I love this series and an on a mission to complete all 11 books one way or another.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin
  • 10-18-12

starts promising but badly disappoints

The narrator is excellent and his voice acting is superb. The quality of the production is also excellent. The story starts out good with lots of promising characters and imagination. Unfortunately in the later half of the book the story falls apart and the writer seems to give in. After unbelievable plot coincidences and further unbelievable failures by the characters the story takes hours to arrive at a dull and predictable end. Very disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 10-06-12

Quite entertaining.

I found this story to be quite easy to follow though as some have mentioned it was a little boring in places. When the narrative did become interesting the spell was often broken by the use of Americanisms which soon became an irritation. The use of 'real bad' instead of 'really bad' and 'I guess' instead of 'I suppose' to name just two. The number of times characters 'scrunched their eyes up' I lost count of.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Damien
  • 12-14-15

Amazing voice acting

Exactly how I imagined zed would sound, I just don't particularly like the first book because it spends too much time in the dungeon, but once you've heard the first book it puts the other audios to shame

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jasno5000
  • 07-27-15

Exceptionally Brilliant

An epic story of adventure, love and horrible cruelty and violence. The narration was excellent bringing the story to life. I enjoyed every minute.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 02-06-15

Narration

wow! what an amazing story. Sam Tsoutsouvas brought that book to life! I am very sad he does not Narrate all the books. sadley i believe i will stop there until he has narrated all of them

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James B. Morris
  • 07-14-16

Brilliant!

Loved it even more than the first time I read the book. The narrators range of voice and tone was great and really added to the depth of the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Corey Beinke-Heath
  • 02-14-16

Brilliant

Captivating story. Excellent performance. I would Recommend this to all who love the Sword of Truth

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-15-14

A brilliant start to a series or stand alone book.

What did you like most about Wizard's First Rule?

I loved the detailed descriptions and three dimensional characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Princess Violet. I just got so angry at her. I loved the way she was written,

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The scenes between Richard and Deanne. Beautiful descriptions of the change of power.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! I would have too if I didn't have to sleep and work!

Any additional comments?

The Reader had brilliant character voices. Just wonderful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Trevor
  • 02-24-14

Fantastic Story and a very enjoyable Narrative

What made the experience of listening to Wizard's First Rule the most enjoyable?

I loved reading the books and the narrative by Sam Tsoutsouvas was excellant. I couldn't stop listen and cant wait to listen to the next book...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ainslie
  • 02-20-18

Very impressed

The narrator sounds like Robert Stack, bonus! Goodkind drones a bit, but definitely worth it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 10-19-17

A classic

Such an enthralling tale with wonderful characters that are so easily relatable. Honest and gritty, this book and its ideals make you want to be a better person just by reading it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-17

Brilliant.

I had read this book years ago and never thought an audiobook could do it justice, I was wrong.