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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
    7,860
  • 4 Stars
    2,640
  • 3 Stars
    955
  • 2 Stars
    393
  • 1 Stars
    323

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    6,597
  • 4 Stars
    2,170
  • 3 Stars
    799
  • 2 Stars
    236
  • 1 Stars
    187

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    6,812
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    292
  • 1 Stars
    273
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This was awful.

If Sanderson and Rothfuss' works are fine swords made by master craftsman then Goodkind tied a rock to a stick and expected everyone to marvel at it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

66 of 81 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sherlyn
  • Livermore, CO, United States
  • 03-30-18

Deficient Narrative

The story is unique and had a chance to grab my attention if it hadn’t had so many parts that felt like they were included for shock value alone. I don’t care to listen to the author’s warped sexual fantasies of torture and bondage. Especially for two and a half chapter’s. When I pay for a book, I want to hear it all. Instead I have to pull over to the side of the road and fast forward through the garbage that lays rotting in the authors mind. Do not waste your money unless you are someone who enjoys the visual of a man castrated and forced to eat his testicles.

2 of 2 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.

71 of 100 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.

37 of 52 people found this review helpful

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

High Fantasy at its best and its worst.

This will be a short summary of my take of Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule.

If you love High Dramatic old school fantasy, well this is the place for you. The way the story starts is absolutely stunning and gives a great breath of characters from their way of dealing with threats to how a character doesn't like cheese. Goodkind blends humor into some tense moments to help with certain situations.

However, the overall character progression in the story is slow, the over all plot direction is EXTREMELY SLOW. I think I made it half way through the second part of the story when we learn of the last Wizard, the Seeker's destiny and of our hero's journey that is about to take place. However...nothing happens for another good chapter or two and its just more bickering amongst characters. I understand drama and how it works as I am a writer myself. However, this is not my type of fantasy.

Not to discredit the work and its series, its a good book but be prepared for some long drawn out moments and characters spiraling for a good bit before anything gets done.

Narrator is pleasant and is very good with his narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don't Waste Your Time

I got this book based on reviews that it was as good as Tolkien or Jordan. Don't be fooled by those reviews. This book is not we'll written. It's predictable and did not leave me with the need to finish even book 1.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Be Aware!

I really liked this book up until about chapter 40 when the author went into several chapters worth of very descriptive human torture of the main character. I will not read his books again!

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
  • T
  • 03-31-18

Engaging story but the author

Spent such a long and detailed amount of time on sadistic torture that it became tedious, overwhelming and annoying at one very long stretch. I don’t mind some violence but when it is overdone to the point of becoming gratuitous, one wonders about the subconscious of the author.

Excellent narration. Strong female character appreciated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Shari
  • Earleville, MD, United States
  • 03-28-18

Not as good as I remembered

I read Wizards First Rule, and the rest of the series a few years ago and remember thinking the author was a bit puffed up, but the story was good. After this listen I've revised that opinion. The story could be good, if the author would just get on with it. If he would just tell the tale. If only he let the story flow. Instead he beat a dead horse, rewriting the same point in 2 or 3 sentences (see what I did there). It probably was meant to build dramatic tension, but it is such an overused technique that it makes the writing seem juvenile. As did the point in which while trying to enrage a would be rapist a character tells him to "do it to me".

As for the narrator, I don't know if he made the story worse, or the bad writing made him that bad. He cannot do a female voice, or really differentiate one character from another. This is not his genre. I imagine he'd do well with politicians memoirs.

As there is a different narrator I'll try Stone of Tears, but I have little hope for it. I would not recommend this book if you are an epic fantasy fan. If you like trashy semi-romance, cliche adventures that are poorly written, you'll love this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

11 of 11 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!

4 of 4 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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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

3 of 3 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.

3 of 3 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

3 of 3 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
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca Skennar
  • 07-13-18

Narrator didn't suit the story or captivate.

The book was average and the narrator unfortunately turned an average book sour. Might be because I was coming off the Kingkiller Chronicles expertly read by Rupert Degas but definitely won't be buying the rest of the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-20-18

must read

the most intense experience you will ever have is listening to Terry goodkinds words said aloud

  • 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.