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Chainfire: Chainfire Trilogy, Part 1 (Sword of Truth, Book 9) Mass Market Paperback – November 29, 2005

3.6 out of 5 stars 576 customer reviews
Book 9 of 15 in the Sword of Truth Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A weak, repetitive plot mars the ninth novel in bestseller Goodkind's Sword of Truth fantasy series (after 2003's Naked Empire). The story opens promisingly enough. Richard, Lord Rahl, ruler of D'Hara, seeker and bearer of the Sword of Truth, is sorely wounded in battle. Healed by the sorceress Nicci, he regains consciousness only to discover his wife, Kahlan, is missing-and no one believes she exists. Meanwhile, the armies of Emperor Jagang, leader of the brutal Imperial Order, threaten D'Hara. Distracted by Kahlan's disappearance, Richard refuses to lead troops against Jagang's forces, insisting his people must stand up for themselves. Bargaining with the witch woman Shota, he trades the Sword of Truth for information on Kahlan and learns of "chainfire," hidden in "the place of the bones in the Deep Nothing." Journeying there, Richard discovers chainfire is a spell capable of unraveling existence. Meanwhile, the Sisters of the Dark have stolen two of the three boxes of Orden, seeking to call the Keeper of the Dead to life. Even fans will be disappointed by the minimal action and lengthy speeches that slow this juggernaut of a novel to a tedious crawl. Hopefully, Goodkind has positioned all his pieces and the pace will pick up in the next installment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


“Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring.” ―Kirkus on Wizard's First Rule

“Wonderful.” ―Kliatt on Stone of Tears

“Each volume of the Sword of Truth . . . proves more difficult to review than the last. There are only so many ways of heaping praise on a series that gets better and better.” ―SFX on Blood of the Fold

“. . . outstanding work . . . adrenaline and characters who actually behave like adults. Highly recommended.” ―San Diego Union Tribune on Temple of the Winds

“...thoroughly enjoyable.” ―VOYA on Soul of the Fire

“Mr. Goodkind's compelling prose weaves a magic spell over readers.” ―Romantic Times on Faith of the Fallen

“Near-perfect pacing, well-realized settings, and superior descriptive narrative.” ―VOYA on The Pillars of Creation

“Everything one could ask for in an epic fantasy.” ―Publishers Weekly on Stone of Tears

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Product Details

  • Series: Sword of Truth, Book 9 (Book 9)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765344319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765344311
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (576 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Townsend on May 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I greatly anticipated Chainfire and even read all 8 prior books in preparation of reading it. Unfortunately it has left me "wanting more" and not because of the storyline. Although the last 100 pages were good, the first 500 had me continuously wanting to "skip ahead" to GET TO THE GOOD STUFF!

Terry seems to be obsessed with reiterating certain aspects of prior books. This detracts from the story and only "adds pages" without adding content. If a person is reading book #9 and has not yet read any of the prior 8 books in the SOT series, then I don't have much compassion for those people. Figure it out!

While there were a couple good twists in this book and a few things happened that I didn't suspect, I didn't feel there was much continuity to the Naked Empire. Also Richard has not progressed one iota as a wizard (nor as a human being for that matter).

I guess what I wanted for this book (eg begin to show Richard's skill and potential as a great wizard) as well as his ability to defeat Jajang on his own terms will never be realized. This book series has gotten more "preachy" as it's gone on.

Terry are you listening? Bring back the excitement of wizardry and magic, combined with a great love story. It's time to wrap up this plotline (with Jajang) and move on to other adventures with Richard and Kahlen.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always been an avid fan of the "High" Fantasy genre, which I've typically associated with the exceptional works of Melanie Rawn, Robert Jordan, Stephen Donaldson, Kate Elliot, Tad Williams and their contemporaries. High Fantasy incorporates art with complicated and enriched story lines, vision and characters that hold form and personality outside of the text. An author capable of this is a rare commodity and so when they are discovered, I hold dearly to their works and diligently read and collect every volume. When Terry Goodkind came to my attention with "Wizards First Rule", I was intrigued and thankful to add another author to my collection. He was talented and able to develop characters with a depth and substance that connected them to the reader.

I followed the story of Richard and Kahlan through their many disappointments and victories, enjoying the ever evolving relationship and the roles they each played in the government/leadership of a fractured nation. Even as the storyline began to over-run, threatening to become stagnant and bland, I stayed loyal and true. With his 9th work in this series the story, however, has evolved into something worse than bland, it has become mediocre. The story is a diatribe of philosophical gibberish that exudes existentialism with careless abandon making the volume, ironically, appear more prosaic rather than meaningful. It leaves the reader's thirst for development/progression, un-sated with characters reduced to flat and formless entities, interchangeable and amorphous.

I have never, in all my years, ever put a book down unfinished once I've begun...until now. Less than one third of the way to completion, I decided that I had read enough, and decided to waste my time no more. Mr. Goodkind, in his attempts to appease the public's thirst for more, has given them, instead, far less.
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Format: Hardcover
"Chainfire" is the ninth novel in the "Sword of Truth" series revisiting a prevalent theme in prior volumes. The preachy writing has brief moments of interest. Other than Richard, Kahlan has been entirely erased from history, memory, and prophecy as having ever been alive. Below is my synopsis of the recurring trials of love involving Kahlan and Richard Rahl in the previous novels.

Book 1: Richard taken by Mord-Sith
Book 2: Richard taken by Sisters of the Light
Book 3: adventuring separately, doubts of love
Book 4: adventuring separately, doubts of love
Book 5: Richard and Kahlan together for first time, try to save pacifist culture
Book 6: Richard taken by Nicci
Book 8: adventuring separately, Richard poisoned by different pacifist culture

Throughout the novel, Richard behaves as a selfish lovesick bully, rudely demanding answers, constantly thinks life is meaningless without Kahlan, and contemplates suicide. A young girl begs him to save her grandfather but Richard refuses because his search for information regarding Kahlan is more important, making the girl assist him while someone else volunteers to separately help her grandfather. He is a disturbing hypocrite, preaching about living your life how you wish yet demands others help. Richard forces them to choose his bidding, indirectly removing free will with the threat of violence (not really a choice for the child). Richard constantly states the evil Imperial Order must be eradicated for wanting to destroy free will but obsesses over Kahlan and leaves others to battle Jagang's forces. He chooses to deny a leadership role, potentially sacrificing the world, for Kahlan.
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Format: Hardcover
This was about a hundred times better than his last book. In fact normally I give 4 stars to books that I feel are 3.5 - however, there is a reason why I am only giving this one 3. (Why doesn't Amazon use a 10 star system?) Once again Richard and Kahlan are separated - surprised anyone? I have grown quite tired of this plot device. I was pleased to see that there was NOT a "villain of the week" as there have been in the last 4 or 5 books. Here we are back to Jajang and the Sisters of the Dark. My one problem is the method that Richard and Kahlan are separated by...I don't want to spoil the plotline but anyone who knows what "Balefire" is from the wheel of time series will know what I am talking about. Its amazing to me that "Chainfire" turns out to be the exact same as "Balefire" form the "other" TOR fantasy series. I almost want to suggest that Goodking and Jordan merge their stories into one to save me money and maybe put out one more 5 star book...
Anyhow, this was a good book despite the relatively unoriginal plot line. It sets itself up for a good sequel and is worth a read. If only I could cast Chainfire on the Naked Empire and the Pillars of Creation I would be happy...

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