How do you help people who choose to remain blind to evil to see? How do you show people who cannot see magic and are entirely unaffected by magic that magic exists? Those are 2 tasks of Richard Rahl in Terry Goodkind – Naked Empire (Sword of Truth book 8). Some of you will be happy to know that Naked Empire marks the return of Richard and Kahlan being the stars of the book – the protagonists.
Naked Empire begins with Richard wondering why those like Jennsen, the pristinely ungifted, have the same name as the desert like area they are in. I wondered the same thing in my previous review. It turns out that over the three thousand years rule of Lord Rahl over the D’Haran Empire, not all Lord Rahls were like Darken or Panis. It’s been a while since we’ve last heard of Panis. So in case you can’t remember, Panis Rahl was the father of Darken Rahl who Zedd killed. Not all Lord Rahls would rape any woman they chose and then kill off their ungifted offspring. Back when Alric Rahl first created the bond to the D’Haran people, the Lord Rahls at the time were not ruthless; they only had relations with one woman. However, this did not stop them from having ungifted offspring. Only back then the Lord Rahls allowed them to live on with their lives as if being ungifted was the most natural thing in the world. So these people began to have children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and so on. Seems like everything is all well and good, except the pristinely ungifted offspring of Lord Rahl, when they had children, always had pristinely ungifted children. The children of these children were always ungifted. You can probably imagine how great lines of wizards and sorcerers died off if they married one of these ungifted people.
The whole great war between the now Old World and New World was a war about magic – one side wanted it eliminated while the other believed those with magic should be allowed to live their lives as they please. Well now the boundary between the Old World and New World was put up, only the pristinely ungifted were on the wrong side of that boundary; they were part of the D’Haran Empire which fought for the preservation of magic. How ironic that a magic spell, the bond to Lord Rahl, that was used to defeat the Dream Walkers and preserve magic was now slowly eliminating magic. Balance indeed. So what happened to this group of pristinely ungifted people? I’m afraid you will have to read to find out.
Also in Naked Empire, Jagang is trying to reproduce weapons of the great war. He used wizards and sorcerers as test subjects and finally was able to reproduce a slide. A slide is someone who steal souls. In a way, it is much like a dream walker. The slide in Naked Empire often wonders who would win if he put his magic up against Jagang’s dream walker magic. Will they clash? Again you must read to find out.
Oh with all that went on in the book I almost forgot – Zedd, Addie, and the Wizard’s Keep were taken. With all the shields of magic in place, how is this possible? Well it doesn’t matter if you figured it out or not at this point because you will be reading the book anyways right? Right? I keep wondering when and if Zedd will die. Eventually, the mentor has to die do they not? We have Moiraine Sedai, Gandalf the Grey, Dumbledore, and Aslan who all died in other fantasy series (note my efforts to avoid spoilers). Well I guess Kahlan technically did die once already.
Also in this book we see the return of Chase, the Boundary Warden, and his adopted daughter, Rachel. We haven’t seen the two since I believe book 2, Stone of Tears. What role do they have left to play in the series? I can’t wait to find out.