THE CHILDREN OF D’HARA by Terry Goodkind
The Head of Zeus h/b £20.00
Reviewed by Nigel Robert Wilson
This is a compendium of the first five novels (The Scribbly Man, Hateful Things, Wasteland, Witch’s Oath and Into Darkness) of the new sequence following the conclusion of the `Sword of Truth’ series, involving the continued exploits of Richard, Lord Rahl and his companion Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor. The price represents good value for a very meaty, long and well-produced tale.
Terry Goodkind is an accomplished wordsmith who has produced a beautiful tale whose layered construction draws the reader into both the plot and its related world, creates sufficient tension towards the end of each chapter to induce the reader to consume yet another portion before they switch off the light.
Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell have triumphed over the wickedness of the world, deployed their magic in the service of what is good and now sit at the helm of the D’Haran Empire. The world has beaten a path to their door and is queuing up to pay tribute. Yet as Richard sits in the splendour of his palace surrounded by his mighty legions, a fat man, later identified as a Consul-General of a minor polity famous for its provision of professional diplomats, demands that he surrender the entire world and submit himself and Kahlan to capital punishment.
This unfortunate diplomat is acting under the control of an entity called The Golden Goddess, a collector of worlds fascinated in that D’Hara is a world with magic, and she does not yet possess a world that contains magic. Kahlan seeks to interview the diplomat, but a creature described as a scribbly-man intervenes to attack Kahlan, who defends herself with magic. She is badly wounded but is saved by a witch-sorcerer called Shale, who had come to see Richard about the corpses of recently deceased people being dumped on old graves.
This scribbly-man is the servant of the Golden Goddess, or rather is the form in which monsters from the world of the Goddess manage to enter D’Hara. This appears to be achieved by means of a spectral fold, or rather the bending of reality. Apparently, when Richard had to magically rearrange the stars over D’Hara, it attracted the attention of this Goddess as it removed some safeguard that had been written into the former arrangement of the heavens. The only advantage that Richard now has over the Golden Goddess is that she does not understand magic. He ruthlessly applies this advantage.
The Goddess then deploys the scribbly-man against Richard, who she sees as the shiny man. The scribbly-men, who describe their kind as The Glee, see themselves as superhuman, exceptional and take pleasure in terrifying and murdering other creatures. The tale is now fully formed, and the conflict begins.
Richard and Kahlan seek to escape their palace by magic to prevent it from turning into a slaughterhouse but are prevented by the fact that Kahlan is now pregnant with the next generation of Rahls. Hence the title for this compendium. They elect to go to the magical redoubt of the Sisters of Light but are frustrated by further attacks by The Glee.
As a war-wizard, Richard can be an incredibly violent individual. When pushed, he has the capability best described as mutually assured destruction. It would be unfair to describe what happens, but it happens in delicious detail, and eventually, all is well, apart from the usual caveats to be worked out in the next sequence. Good work, good value!