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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.
©1994 by Terry Goodkind. (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

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

What listeners say about Wizard's First Rule

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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!

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

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

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Underwhelming LOTR copy

Seems I couldn’t keep listening to this , the story was too cliche , and I was getting annoyed with the main character and the story was lacklustre .

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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

fantastic story

Loved to listen to this story.
The narrator has a saltie voice and gives the story the necessary darkness.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kaleb Spicer
  • 29-12-19

strangest bait and switch

I came in expecting a lot of things. A sword, magic, a quest. Maybe some romance. What I did not expect, and this is true, was that about 1/4 of this book towards the end was taken over by hardcore fandom BDSM. really enjoyed it to that point but this author absolutely lost my trust. I'll pass on the next dozen books.

79 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bryan Hays
  • 02-11-19

Just bad

It’s starts nice.
Then there are 4 plus chapters of BDSM.
It got tedious and boring.
I get it! She’s cruel and evil and twisted and crazy!
He’s in pain! He’s broken! Then a miracle happens and he’s completely fixed! 4 almost irrelevant
chapters.

47 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • 13-06-19

Absolutely terrible

each portion of this story was entirely disjointed and drawn-out far longer then was even remotely necessary to tell the poor quality story that was attempted. anything that happened during this book was either cheesy to the point of cringing or overly graphic, either due to violence or sexuality, to the point of absurdity. I would review this book further, but then I would be spending more effort on this review than the author spent writing this book

34 people found this helpful

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    4 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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  • Suspect
  • 02-07-19

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 superb; however, this is the only book in the series that Sam narrates, and the succeeding books are butchered by a revolving cast of atrocious narrators. Therefore, I highly recommend that you read (vs listen) to this series. Note: Please Do Not Leave a 5-Star Review When The Narration Is Worthy of Only 1-Star.

101 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kenneth M Brake
  • 21-10-19

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.

90 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 22-04-20

Yikes

This book was terrible. If I never read another Terry Goodkind book again... it will be too soon. Wow. Just wow.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer Cobb
  • 30-10-19

Sexist/Bad Female Character Writing

Main female "strong" character is "a Confessor, an enchanted person whose power of love destroy the minds of others by making them absolute slaves to her will" Also the use of rape is unnecessary. Reads like a bad Fantasy erotica.

12 people found this 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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-06-21

Ignore the Vanillalites!

It is unfortunate that a lot of readers get obsessed with the torture of a Mord-sith, but if anything that goes to show that the torture was haunting for both the protagonist and the reader.

Where Terry Goodkind's writing shines is in foretelling. He creates events and that are connected that are revealed sometimes chapters later other times books later. A good example of this is that in the first chapter we see a dragon soar over the mountain. Then halfway through the book, we find that the dragon has been flying the villain in and out of the world sections. Finally, in the last chapters, our hero befriends this same dragon and rides it.

Reading any book in the series is like watching a line of dominos that branches and recombines in order to display a picture when everything has fallen together.

TL;DR: Ignore the people that call what the Mord-sith do BDSM. They are sick if they see that as kinky and not torture.
Don't stop at one because they do get better and the reveal of what was set up has only just begun. This after all is only the Wizard's First Rule.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • PoorCod
  • 16-04-14

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.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol Cornsweet Barber
  • 19-10-19

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.....

51 people found this helpful