The Sword of Truth series follows Richard Cypher, a young forester intent on tracking down his father's murderer. His quest will take him far from home, embroiling him in an ancient war, three-millennia past, that is about to re-ignite with world-shattering violence.
Jagang, Emperor of the Imperial Order, has invoked an ancient magic, unleashing a lethal plague that sweeps across the land like a firestorm. To halt it, Richard, Wielder of the Sword of Truth, must seek out the legendary Temple of the Winds, a repository of dangerous magics consigned to the Underworld three thousand years ago.
But the path of the Seeker is never an easy one – for entry to the Temple of the Winds comes at a price, and as Richard and Kahlan will discover, the cost of leaving is even greater.
The fourth entry in Goodkind's Sword of Truth fantasy saga opens only weeks after the close of Blood of the Fold (1996). The evil Emperor Jagang is not dead, after all, but is still scheming against Richard Cypher, bearer of the Sword, and against Richard's betrothed, Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor. The schemes go far beyond mere invasion or assassination: their centerpiece is a magically spread plague that brings hideous death, particularly to children. To stop this pestilence, Richard must find the long-lost Temple of the Winds; and in order to do that, he and Kahlan must forswear their love and each marry another. Sundry subplots involving the wizard Zedd and other well-drawn characters fill out the book. Goodkind's prose sometimes lags, but his ingenuity rarely does (his magical-traveling sliph is a gem), though the roles he assigns to women sometimes languish at the level of pop-feminism. Even so, the many readers who have traveled this far in the series should wander happily through this addition.