It’s finally arrived, the conclusion of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, and its final volume: Warheart.
Well, I had thought the series ended with Confessor, the twelfth volume in the series (if you include the prequel novella Debt of Bones). It rounded off the main story arc of the Imperial invasion and seemed, for a while, like the end of the series. Then, four years later, Goodkind returned to the world of the Sword of Truth with a new novel, The Omen Machine. And now, with the publication of Warheart late last year, the series has concluded.
But if you haven’t read any of the other books, why read Warheart? Is it even worth starting the series? Seventeen volumes is a large commitment to make – seventeen books featuring the same characters could easily become stale or formulaic, or perhaps even dull and interesting. Judge for yourself of course, but I found that Warheart rounded off the series – published over 21 years – rather nicely. There were all the usual ingredients of a Terry Goodkind novel – fulsome descriptions of setting and place, moral philosophies and dilemmas, and some great action scenes – and, for anyone who has read the series from start to finish, a sense of faint melancholy as the story wound towards its conclusion. It is fair to say that I didn’t rate some of the more recent novels in the series as highly as those that came before Confessor, but Warheart was indeed a return to form. It wasn’t perfect: scenes where characters from the series met their end felt a little rushed, and sometimes the pace slowed just a little too much, but the some of the sheer joy I felt reading Wizard’s First Rule (the first book in the series) returned. And, after writing hundreds of thousands of words about the same characters for over twenty years, I think the author must be credited for maintaining a high standard without the series becoming formulaic or predictable.
And if you haven’t read any of Terry Goodkind’s books, I would urge you to. Start with Wizard’s First Rule. I haven’t ever read a book like it, and it remains one of the few that I’ll read again and again; I can think of no higher praise.