This is volume 6 in Goodkind's epic "Sword of Truth" fantasy series and I'd venture to say that if you haven't yet discovered Goodkind, you haven't even started on Fantasy.
Goodkind's writing grips from the outset, with a powerful characterisation that will have you laughing and crying with the joys and griefs of his characters. Their sorrows become your sorrows, their joys yours as Goodkind creates a world like ours in which good and evil are at war - but unlike ours in the raw colour of the magic that's unleashed... but perhaps we have only to open our eyes?
In Faith of the Fallen theological issues underpin the story: do we live by blind faith or by reason, or can we achieve a balance? Mistake me not: it's not trinitarian theology. The gospel is parodied as the violence of the crusades is paralleled, and there's graphic violence aplenty, with horrific scenarios depicted that some readers may find too much to take. But the horrors and depravity are dramatically offset by an intense nobility of spirit in the heroes, Richard, a reluctant messiah, and Kahlan, his wife, the "Mother Confessor".
Those who follow Richard are somehow linked to him - they know where he is even when he's thousands of leagues away and they believe he's coming back. They're somehow protected from the enemy who, though he can destroy their bodies and demoralise them in so many different ways, can't take over their minds or hearts. They make daily devotions to him: "In your light we thrive. In your mercy we are sheltered. In your wisdom we are humbled." You know who this messiah is and you're left with no real alternative than to follow him.
Fantasy is on the menu; you can't escape it in today's world and anyone who wants to retain their street cred needs to be reading it. But my advice is forget Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings: get to grips with Goodkind.
Phil Groom, January 2002
Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.
Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.
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