Seven books into his Sword of Truth series, author Terry Goodkind continues to expand and enlarge the fantasy realm D'Hara. But with the Pillars of Creation
he takes a detour from his usual approach, leaving his primary protagonists in the background to spin a story of one woman's battle to discover the truth of her heritage.
Told in vivid and often gruesome detail, Goodkind's fable grabs the reader with a familiar archetypal theme: a young woman, Darken Rahl's illegitimate daughter Jennsen, flees her home in the wake of murderous forces rising from her lineage. She runs in the shadows of Lord Richard Rahl's domain with a spy sent by Emperor Jagang, the enemy of D'Hara. With his help, she journeys across the entire realm, chasing rumor and misinformation to ultimately discover the truth of her heritage.
Loyal readers, who know the truth that Jennsen seeks, may find this book tedious as they wonder when Lord Richard Rahl and Mother Confessor Kahlan are going to swoop in and save the day. But Goodkind appears to be challenging readers, and perhaps himself, to see the benevolent administration of Richard Rahl from its underside and from an opposition perspective. The change in perspective works up to a point. Goodkind has created a fast-paced adventure story that might be appreciated by diehard fans if they can leave their longing for the status quo at the door. --Jeremy Pugh
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From Publishers Weekly
Fantasy bestseller Goodkind brings his usual strong sense of place and distinct characterization to his seventh sprawling novel in the popular Sword of Truth series, though the action, too often discussed rather than shown, takes a while to warm up. The struggle continues between the New World's Seeker of Truth, Lord Richard Rahl, and the Old World's totalitarian leader, Emperor Jagang "the Just," against the dry and barren beauty of the desert landscape. After deposing his father, old Lord Rahl, Richard lingers in the background at his immense fortress. Meanwhile, battling for power are the bastards that old Rahl has also sired, notably Richard's oafish lout of a half-brother, Oba, who tries to murder his way to the throne. Taking center stage is the vengeful Jennsen, who wants to kill Richard because she blames him for her mother's murder. Of course, Richard isn't the villain she takes him for, though Jennsen is slow to catch on. Amid the interminable sword-and-sorcery in the tradition of Robert E. Howard (Howard would have especially appreciated the huge serpent with which Oba and Jennsen contend), the author spouts his familiar political pieties. Lip service may be paid to public good, but passion arises only in scenes of violence. For all its clumsy exposition, unlikely coincidences and feeble attempts at humor, this latest installment, with its striking jacket art showing a beautiful desert landscape, is as certain to please Goodkind's legions of fans as previous books in the series.
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