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by Terry Goodkind

Reviewed by Coral

We start this book with Richard still in the Old World, making his way to Nicci and the warning that was lost to him in the last book. Well, more accurately, we start with Richard hanging between life and death after he stumbled across an Imperial Order army and was struck with an arrow.

Luckily for both Richard and the people who are relying on him to defeat the Order, Nicci is able to use Subtractive magic to save Richard's life. But it quickly becomes apparent - to everyone but Richard - that the combination of his prolonged stint in unconsciousness and her Subtractive magic have left Richard suffering from delusions about a woman he loved and a wife that doesn't exist.

For his part, Richard wakes up to a world where he is the only one with memories of Kahlan. The more he tries to convince people that something is very wrong, the more they think he's losing grip with reality.

Is it a spell or some other twist of magic? Or are Nicci and Cara and everyone else right when they tell him that Kahlan exists only in his mind?

Of course, being that they're still in the middle of a war, that's not the only problem Richard is facing.

Jagang has resurrected another piece of ancient magic - cause the Slide worked so well and all - to hunt Richard down. The Imperial Order marches towards D'Hara and prophecy says that if Richard doesn't stand with his army then the world will fall under shadow. And the Boxes of Orden, long kept safe in the People's Palace in D'Hara, may not stay safe for much longer.

With Richard refusing to give up on Kahlan, do the others have any chance of making him see the error in his ways so that he can take his place at the head of his army and save the world from forever falling under the shadow of the Order?

For so much of this book I hated Richard. I think it's incredibly selfish of him to ignore his duty as a Lord Rahl to go chasing his own personal desires. He always talks about how people should be willing to fight for freedom without him, while conveniently forgetting that he has been actively recruiting people to his side for a while. Sometimes a charismatic leader can make the difference. And, as a leader, he should be with his people while they face the enemy.

Even though I knew what the answer would be, I did enjoy the question of whether or not Kahlan was all a figment of Richard's imagination. In the end, the answer was revealed rather anti-climatically and the timing felt off.

I swear, if the author got rid of all the needless repetition of past plot and events, the book would have been 200 pages shorter.

I also hate that we've had characters disappear for a few books then pop back up. Why make new characters at all if you can't think of a way to use them for 3 books? Have we really found out if Richard's dragon died? Or what happened to Gratch? Or what happened the Seer they left with Kahlan's half-sister who ended up in the dungeon?

When the series comes to an end, how many questions will still be left unanswered?

Grade: C