Read in 2016 on 6/4 to page 213 on 6/25 to page 383 on 7/10 to the end. I really liked it and recommend it to fans of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series. For the record, I consider all Terry Goodkind “Richard and Kahlan” books as “Sword of Truth” books as well.
The First Confessor is a prequel that fills in much of the back story that is referenced throughout the Sword of Truth Series but it is largely irrelevant until you reach “The Omen Machine” (Book 12 of Sword of Truth or 1 of Richard and Kahlan). Before review, a bit about the entire series.
From my perspective the novel “The First Confessor” and novella “Debt of Bones” and are chronologically prequels to the stories about Richard and Kahlan in that order. While they are all related to Richard and Kahlan I would consider “Wizard’s First Rule” as the first book to read. From there, the chronology of Richard and Kahlan stories are often debated.
Some people break up the stories in multiple ways, and after finishing them all, it is easy to agree with almost any interpretation. The first books “The Darken Rahl” series, then the “Imperial Order books, followed by “Pristinely Ungifted” books, then “The Chainfire” books and finally the Richard and Kahlan books. Here’s a decent chart.
Most people will say the final series aka “Richard and Kahlan” books are The Omen Machine, The Third Kingdom, Severed Souls, and finally Warheart. After reading the series multiple times I think, this book is best read after Confessor, but before The Omen Machine.
I bring this reading order issue up in the review of the first prequel as I would personally and logically assume the first prequel would be the best place to start. Not so much in this series. This book is ancient history, thousands of years before the Sword of Truth series. The first eleven books or from The Wizard’s First Rule through Confessor mention all kinds of things that are explained in depth in this book. BUT having read this prequel it would only be interesting backstory. It may give meaning to a plot twist from time to time but knowing the details in those first 10 or so books are largely irrelevant.
Come book twelve, “The Omen Machine” a new story begins that is directly related to the ancient past and is integral in the four book story that follows. If you have the knowledge of this prequel fresh in your mind you’ll be right on top of what is going on and will not find yourself scratching your head or trying to find where you left this prequel if you happen to have read it earlier.
Other Sword of Truth fanatics may disagree, but I’m writing THIS review… I’m trying to give you what I think would be the best reading experience if you decide to pick up this seventeen book series by Terry Goodkind. I enjoyed all the books.
Review. Caution explicit details follow.
We open with servant, Tilly, in the Wizard’s Keep telling Magda Searus of rumors among some servants that there are wizards deep in the Keep who do more than speak with the dead. It is 3000 years before Richard meets Kahlan and the war between the Old World and the New World in raging. Magda’s husband, the First Wizard Baracus, has recently committed suicide leaving her alone and she is overwhelmed with grief. She’s sitting at Baracus’s desk blindly gazing at his tools. It takes a minute before her distracted thoughts clear enough to understand the implication of Tilly’s words.
Everything is lost to Magda. If your most beloved spouse could be returned from the dead, would you try to have it done? The reader quickly connects to Magda. She isn’t a wizard or a sorceress, but her advise, morality, and love of the people of the New World makes her a popular character on the council and at the Wizard’s Keep. She knows that she no longer belongs in the First Wizard’s apartments and her place on the council has become vague. Even the length of her hair, depicting her social standing is in question.
The Old World attacking the New World have wizards creating unstoppable monsters out of people. A First Wizard is needed in the New World to help lead the war effort. In addition to the raging war, the events going on in the Wizard’s Keep are the equal of today’s political battles in the headlines of any current news media. Shortly the council arrives to meet with Magda along with the head prosecutor, Wizard Lothain, who the reader can easily despise.
Magda is determined to find the truth about her husband’s death. Wizard Lothain’s desire for power is thinly veiled. The New World is losing the war. The brightest and most creative wizard alive, Merritt, has left the Wizard’s Keep and will no longer work with the wizards in the Keep on the war effort. A new weapon from the Old World is discovered… Mindwalkers who can enter anyone’s mind and turn them into puppets for the emperor of the Old World or hide in a person’s mind simply observing what is going on. Who can be trusted? How can the New Word defend themselves from the Old World’s Wizard-created weapons?
Because of the mention of the First Confessor throughout the first eleven books I started with an extraordinary interest in Madga Searus and instantly connected with her traumatic dilemmas.
There is a herd of ex-Goodkind fans who have turned rabidly against him. Sadly they have valid issues. For decades I studied writing, wrote manuscript critiques, and filled my own drawers with manuscripts… if “that person” read this novel thinking like an editor, this review could have convinced you not to read this book. Fortunately for me, Mr. Goodkind established an author/reader trust with me long ago, so I mindlessly read this established A list author for the purpose of escapism and I suspended disbelief automatically. With that in mind, there is plenty to keep a reader excited about in this book from start to finish.
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