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Wizard's First Rule

Sword of Truth, Book 1
Narrated by: Sam Tsoutsouvas
Series: Sword of Truth, Book 1
Length: 34 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15,346 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The masterpiece that started Terry Goodkind's New York Times bestselling epic Sword of Truth

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

In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them - for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not say.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, 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.

Wizard's First Rule 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

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

First Rule. First Rate. However...

Wizards First Rule is thoroughly entertaining and an enjoyable listen.

Richard, the main protagonist, is somewhat of a dimwit. For example, despite having been cautioned multiple times by multiple magicians to ignore the callings of ghosts and shadow peoples, Richard still gets persuaded to enter the underworld by phantasmagoric images of his dead parents once or twice per day.

Sam Tsoutsouvas's narration is truly superb. But before you dive into this series you should know this is the only book that Sam narrates. The succeeding books are butchered by a revolving cast of utterly atrocious narrators. Therefore, I highly recommend that you read rather than listen to this series (aka, don't buy this audiobook!).

P.s. Do Not Leave a 5-Star Review If The Narration Is Only Worthy of 1-Star. People did this for each successive book in this series, so they appear on Audible with 4.5 star ratings even though every reviewer states that the books are "unlistenable".

59 of 61 people found this review helpful

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

Warning: sadomasochistic porn in fantasy setting

For the first few hours of listening, this seemed like an ordinary, pretty much ok fantasy story and I was looking forward to listening to it, and maybe to sequels. However, it slid into graphic, detailed violence, and then to what seemed like hours (and was at least an hour, possibly more) of graphic torture scenes, gradually becoming more sexualised. When it got to a graphic rape scene, I couldn't take it any more. It feels like the author is reveling in the details of these events--like they are more than plot elements. I could tolerate some of this, but it goes on and on, and on and on.....

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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

95 of 121 people found this review helpful

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

A lukwarm pile of rubbish

I love authors like Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Neil Gaiman; but this... this was rubbish. The magic system is inconsistent, every encounter starts with a big anti-heroic philosophical lecture that basically amounts to "do whatever it takes to win, even if it means screwing your friends over", and that philosophy itself is so hard to stomach that even the characters themselves don't like it. And the magic system appears so poorly thought-out that it's basically all different versions of "handwavium". The author's foreshadowing is about as subtle as a frying pan in the face, and the only likable character in the whole book was a bartender, who was only seen briefly.

The one saving grace is the vocal performance. The voice actor poured his heart and soul into bringing the scenes to life, and used different voices well. That meant that I was actually able to enjoy the story, a little bit, by viewing it as an unintentional comedy. It's like watching the 1989 movie, "Sinbad of the Seven Seas" with Lou Ferrigno. The movie is such an awful train wreck that it becomes unintentionally hilarious to watch. That's what listening to The Sword of Truth is like, and with the voice actor taking his job *so* seriously, over such a poor quality book, it got me through to the end.

Unfortunately, the volume levels were so variable that I found myself adjusting the volume up and down throughout the story just to hear what was going on (as it jumped from loud, angry shouting to inaudible whispers and back again), and I often had to back up to catch whatever I missed. That should have been resolved in post-production, so I subtracted a star for that.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • PoorCod
  • HAMPDEN, ME, United States
  • 04-16-14

Possibly the worst novel I've read since I joined

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It could have had a spark of originality in it

What was most disappointing about Terry Goodkind’s story?

It is a mishmash of characters and improbable events from just about every fantasy novel printed before 1990. A sword who power corrupts the user unless the are "the rightful user", a Gollum like creature who originally owed the sword and wants it back, a land protected from magic by magic. How many more cliches can you squeeze into this book? I gave up when the talking dog turned up.......

How could the performance have been better?

It lacked conviction and passion. But given the material they did their best

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Wizard's First Rule?

What would I cut out? chapters 2-49

Any additional comments?

It's truly terrible. Contrived, formulaic and derivative.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    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.

26 of 37 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.

75 of 110 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

Just don't, really, dont.

Unless you're into torture porn and child abuse, like the author apparently is, this book is not for you.

When a lengthy section of the book is about the main character being tortured and learning to love his dominatrix (because let's just be real, that's what she is), and then that section has no relevance to anything in the book later on, it makes you wonder why the author made you sit through his pain fetish and BDSM fantasies. Not to mention the ritualistic child sacrifice, but everyone's got their kink right?

If you want to read a fantasy book/series where you can experience how real world building is done go read Brandon Sanderson, or Robert Jordon, or Michael J. Sullivan instead.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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

Awful

This was a struggle to finish. I put the book at 2.75x speed because it got to be torture to listen to. The book is derivative, the protagonist is a living Gary Stu, the plot is deeply uninteresting, there are endless Ayn Rand inspired monologues, and a huge section of torture porn that is some of the most puerile juvenile fiction I've ever read.

This is the absolute most abysmal, derivative, painfully unoriginal, most poorly plotted version of what an epic fantasy should be. The worst offense, though, is that Terry Goodkind thinks he is a good author with profound insights into humanity and human nature, and the smug tone permeates the entire narrative. Richard Cypher seems to be one of the worst author stand-in characters I've ever read.

One star reviews tend to be hyperbolic - what could be THAT bad, really and truly? This book. This book is THAT bad.

People like different things in fantasy. Some people like characters, or interesting villains, some like world building, and others like magic systems - all of those are of the absolute lowest tier in this book.

Standard hero's journey fantasy stuff has been done to death - but this is one of the worst examples of it.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Wizard's First Rule

Some stories make you want to turn the pages because you can't wait to hear more and get into the story. Unfortunately this is not one of those stories. I feel as if I wasted my credits on this book. The story line is predictable and amateurish. The writer used images of blood and violence to cover the weak story line. I will not be using anymore credits on this author.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

16 of 17 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
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  • 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.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Great Listen

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick
  • 04-17-11

Good story line, boring story length

I bought this without knowing it was the base story for 'The Seaker' on TV. It started off pretty good and I only realised what it was after chapter 2. The characters are good and well defined but the descriptions and emotive painting gets very tedious. I wouldn't buy another one I'm afraid.

Nick G.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 05-27-17

Great story; poor production.

This was a very enjoyable story however the variance in volume significantly took away from the experience. At times the reader goes from barely Audible to ear bleeding loud. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the reader or the fault of production, but is it is the first time I have experienced this from Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-19

Great story, Terrible narrator

The narrator was terrible, great story but very hard to listen. Voice was like nails on a chalkboard

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mordsith
  • 07-25-19

I love them all

I love this series so much. I'll read them for the rest of my life

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-30-19

my most favourite story ever

I've read and listened to this book at least 10 times. I'll probably listen to it another 10 too. I can't explain Why, I hope you love it too

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sue
  • 03-09-19

Sue

The reader was very good the storyline was good. Worth listening too.recommend the book.worthwhile listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-21-19

Love love love, this book & series!

The author does NOT waffle on, about describing the scenery, he writes about the actual story!
Refreshing!