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Wizard's First Rule

Sword of Truth, Book 1
Narrated by: Sam Tsoutsouvas
Series: Sword of Truth, Book 1
Length: 34 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (281 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The masterpiece that started Terry Goodkind's New York Times bestselling epic Sword of Truth

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help...and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them - for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not say.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword - to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed...or that their time has run out.

Wizard's First Rule is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Epic edge: listen to more in the Sword of Truth series.
©2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring." ( Kirkus Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator didn't suit the story or captivate.

The book was average and the narrator unfortunately turned an average book sour. Might be because I was coming off the Kingkiller Chronicles expertly read by Rupert Degas but definitely won't be buying the rest of the series.

2 people found this helpful

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I regret giving Terry Goodkind my money.

The plot to Wizard's First Rule is the most uninspired and predictable that I've ever seen. Everything in this book has been done before and better. The characters were stale and really one dimensional. The romance was grating. The magic system is so vague that it's only purpose is to give the characters a "Get out of jail free" card. The villain was boring. The ending was unsatisfying.
Traumatic events which take place in the book (of which there is an abundance, everything from rape to torture) do not affect the victim in any real way, rather it's shrugged off or even glorified. The amount of rape featured in this book casts a poor light on the author; women are there to be beaten around in this book. (While trauma can be handled effectively in a work, WFR is not an example of this.)
Major plot points are predictable and feel ripped from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Seriously, if you want to enjoy this book do not read the Wheel of Time series.

The Narrator, on the other hand, was an absolute blast to listen to. The book was buoyed by his narration and it really felt like he was giving it his all. Sam Tsoutsouvas is the reason I kept on listening to this poor excuse for a book.

The other reviews here really show just how nostalgia can affect one's enjoyment of something. I came into this book without any prior knowledge and I really regret it, while others were probably introduced to the fantasy genre through this work and so revisit it with rose-tinted glasses.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story; poor production.

This was a very enjoyable story however the variance in volume significantly took away from the experience. At times the reader goes from barely Audible to ear bleeding loud. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the reader or the fault of production, but is it is the first time I have experienced this from Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing voice acting

Exactly how I imagined zed would sound, I just don't particularly like the first book because it spends too much time in the dungeon, but once you've heard the first book it puts the other audios to shame

3 people found this helpful

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Exceptionally Brilliant

An epic story of adventure, love and horrible cruelty and violence. The narration was excellent bringing the story to life. I enjoyed every minute.

3 people found this helpful

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Narration

wow! what an amazing story. Sam Tsoutsouvas brought that book to life! I am very sad he does not Narrate all the books. sadley i believe i will stop there until he has narrated all of them

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great story, Terrible narrator

The narrator was terrible, great story but very hard to listen. Voice was like nails on a chalkboard

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I love them all

I love this series so much. I'll read them for the rest of my life

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my most favourite story ever

I've read and listened to this book at least 10 times. I'll probably listen to it another 10 too. I can't explain Why, I hope you love it too

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  • sue
  • 09-03-2019

Sue

The reader was very good the storyline was good. Worth listening too.recommend the book.worthwhile listen

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  • Suspect
  • 02-07-2019

First Rule. First Rate. However...

Wizards First Rule is thoroughly entertaining and an enjoyable listen.

Richard, the main protagonist, is somewhat of a dimwit. For example, despite having been cautioned multiple times by multiple magicians to ignore the callings of ghosts and shadow peoples, Richard still gets persuaded to enter the underworld by phantasmagoric images of his dead parents once or twice per day.

Sam Tsoutsouvas's narration is truly superb. But before you dive into this series you should know this is the only book that Sam narrates. The succeeding books are butchered by a revolving cast of utterly atrocious narrators. Therefore, I highly recommend that you read rather than listen to this series (aka, don't buy this audiobook!).

P.s. Do Not Leave a 5-Star Review If The Narration Is Only Worthy of 1-Star. People did this for each successive book in this series, so they appear on Audible with 4.5 star ratings even though every reviewer states that the books are "unlistenable".

64 people found this helpful

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  • Kenneth M Brake
  • 21-10-2019

Just don't, really, dont.

Unless you're into torture porn and child abuse, like the author apparently is, this book is not for you.

When a lengthy section of the book is about the main character being tortured and learning to love his dominatrix (because let's just be real, that's what she is), and then that section has no relevance to anything in the book later on, it makes you wonder why the author made you sit through his pain fetish and BDSM fantasies. Not to mention the ritualistic child sacrifice, but everyone's got their kink right?

If you want to read a fantasy book/series where you can experience how real world building is done go read Brandon Sanderson, or Robert Jordon, or Michael J. Sullivan instead.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Kaleb Spicer
  • 29-12-2019

strangest bait and switch

I came in expecting a lot of things. A sword, magic, a quest. Maybe some romance. What I did not expect, and this is true, was that about 1/4 of this book towards the end was taken over by hardcore fandom BDSM. really enjoyed it to that point but this author absolutely lost my trust. I'll pass on the next dozen books.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 09-05-2012

This book is a blast

I first listen to this many years ago on cassette. I loved it, so when audible offered it at almost nothing, I had to listen again. I was a little worried, since the first time I listened it was read by Dick Hill, who was great. It took I little while to get into ST, but by the end I thought he did a great job.

This book is a thrill ride from the first minute and all the way through the 34 hours of listening. The main character Richard is no super hero, he is a guy like you and me. He has anger issues, he makes mistakes, he questions himself, etc. I must admit that at times the book sounds almost YA and it is a little preachy about Friends and the Truth and working hard, but with all the action, all the drama, all of Goodkind's wild imagination, this can easily be overlooked. There are no filler chapters, something is always happening. Here are just some of what you will find in the book: Quad Assassins, Gars, Blood Flies, Shadow People, Wayward Pines, a night wisp, snake vines, The Book of Counted Shadows, a Seeker, Heart Hounds, Wizard Rocks, The Underworld, Night Stones, Bone Woman, grippers, birdman, Wizard's Fire, Mistress Denna, Additive and Subtractive magic, the Con Dar, The Blood Rage, Scarlett the Dragon, etc.

My favorites of any book I have ever read were The Mother Confessor, The Mud People, and Mord-Sith. The Mother Confessor can with one touch, make you her slave. You will be in constant anguish, worried that she is not happy. If she says to you "I wish you would just die." You will make your heart stop and die. The Mord-Sith are women torturers who dress in red leather, so your blood won't show as much. From little girls they are raised to torture others and are tortured themselves. There are some strong women in the this book. The Mud People have a great since of humor and are very funny. As a form of greeting they slap each other. Any of these three would have been great to make a book around, yet TG has all three and so much more.

There are probably only two books I like better then this, Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

97 people found this helpful

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  • Alisa Sewell
  • 16-11-2019

I feel dirty...

EVERYTHING else aside, it was the child rape / ritualistic abuse scene that went way too far for me. I can’t finish this.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bryan Hays
  • 02-11-2019

Just bad

It’s starts nice.
Then there are 4 plus chapters of BDSM.
It got tedious and boring.
I get it! She’s cruel and evil and twisted and crazy!
He’s in pain! He’s broken! Then a miracle happens and he’s completely fixed! 4 almost irrelevant
chapters.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 13-06-2019

Absolutely terrible

each portion of this story was entirely disjointed and drawn-out far longer then was even remotely necessary to tell the poor quality story that was attempted. anything that happened during this book was either cheesy to the point of cringing or overly graphic, either due to violence or sexuality, to the point of absurdity. I would review this book further, but then I would be spending more effort on this review than the author spent writing this book

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fantasy Reader
  • 01-07-2018

A satisfying book.

This book was somewhat satisfying. The main character could be dumb at times, but for the most part he is a good seeker of truth. He comes to the obvious conclusions most of the time and I found it satisfying. Fantasy has too many books that have idiotic main characters that need to have things spelled out for them all the while talking around subjects. The main character is a little blind at times, but I found his interactions and conclusions realistic. I wish the magic was explained a bit more, but in the end it was a good book. Not something I will be rereading, but enjoyable. I probably will not finish the series though since the narrators on the others are different. Sam did a great job with this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • PoorCod
  • 16-04-2014

Possibly the worst novel I've read since I joined

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It could have had a spark of originality in it

What was most disappointing about Terry Goodkind’s story?

It is a mishmash of characters and improbable events from just about every fantasy novel printed before 1990. A sword who power corrupts the user unless the are "the rightful user", a Gollum like creature who originally owed the sword and wants it back, a land protected from magic by magic. How many more cliches can you squeeze into this book? I gave up when the talking dog turned up.......

How could the performance have been better?

It lacked conviction and passion. But given the material they did their best

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Wizard's First Rule?

What would I cut out? chapters 2-49

Any additional comments?

It's truly terrible. Contrived, formulaic and derivative.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Carol Cornsweet Barber
  • 19-10-2019

Warning: sadomasochistic porn in fantasy setting

For the first few hours of listening, this seemed like an ordinary, pretty much ok fantasy story and I was looking forward to listening to it, and maybe to sequels. However, it slid into graphic, detailed violence, and then to what seemed like hours (and was at least an hour, possibly more) of graphic torture scenes, gradually becoming more sexualised. When it got to a graphic rape scene, I couldn't take it any more. It feels like the author is reveling in the details of these events--like they are more than plot elements. I could tolerate some of this, but it goes on and on, and on and on.....

24 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 27-08-2009

Very Good. For adults only though.

Very enjoyable. I wasn't sure about the reader at first but once you get used to his style it turns out he's quite good.

The story is standard fantasy fair.

There's an ordinary guy for a hero who turns out to have a big destiny and a secret past.

There's a beautiful heroine with a dark secret.

There's a love story of doomed love.

There's an old wizard very much like Gandalf.

There's a magic sword.

I defy anyone to not think the Samuel character isn't a copy of Gollum from LOTR.

There's a mega baddy wizard for the enemy.

There's quest for a magic item needed to beat the baddy.

However despite all this standard fantasy stuff, it is a very entertaining and gripping story.

I did find the early chapters of part 4 heavy going with its graphic descriptions of torture and abuse. This part may have gone on a bit too long for my liking. There's also an attempted rape later on towards the end of part 4.

Not for children, this book.

Anyway, I must have enjoyed it as I've just bought the second book on Audible too.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel
  • 22-11-2008

Not normally a fantasy fan

This book was a really refreshing change from my normal choices. I am not normally in to this type of book. I find this much easier to follow than Terry Pratchett, which I struggle with. This is enough like our world to be easy to follow, and has loads of magic, adventuring and questing to make it a really good read.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandra
  • 20-06-2010

Better read than listened to.

I agree with many of the other reviewers in that there are clear LOTR parallels and that the torture aspect goes on for far too long. Of course, when you read it yourself is isn't so blatant somehow and doesn't last for so very long so it is less painful. The descriptions are rather drawn out on an audio book (naturally) so it doesn't always have pace. Having said this, the scenes with Rachel are really enjoyable and sufficiently tense. I am still finding that I enjoy listening to books I have enjoyed reading rather than coming cold to them. That way, your own impression of the characters isn't coloured by the narrator's depiction. From the reading, Richard is one of my favourite characters ever - and I'm an Austen fan! Still the narration hasn't put me off - I am just finishing book 2 and about to download book 3. Book 2 changes narrator and he doesn't do women too well, and I notice there is yet another narrator for book 3!

7 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 10-06-2013

Had to give up! Dissapointing and over rated

Maybe it's because I'm British and find the narrator's voice very annoying but this was simply too annoying to even finish. I found that the narration emphasised all the wrong expressions in the narrative leaving me with the impression that the characters had no depth and little to distinguish them from each other.
Maybe I was spoilt by reading all the game of thrones books and guilty of trying to find something that might kill the time waiting for Martin's next book, however I listened to The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss and found it brilliant. This is not a patch on either so I'm still looking for the next series, preferably with British narration or at least someone with the concept of how to pause, express punctuation and build characters with their voice.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 06-10-2012

Quite entertaining.

I found this story to be quite easy to follow though as some have mentioned it was a little boring in places. When the narrative did become interesting the spell was often broken by the use of Americanisms which soon became an irritation. The use of 'real bad' instead of 'really bad' and 'I guess' instead of 'I suppose' to name just two. The number of times characters 'scrunched their eyes up' I lost count of.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. S. A. Archer
  • 22-03-2011

Good start, slow middle, great ending!

I agree with much of what the other reviewers have said, however having now listened to the second and third books, I would say that it is a little slow to get going. The opening is sufficiently interesting, however like the first LotR book, the whole 'travelling endlessly through the wilderness' bit gets a bit tiresome!

Seriously though, stick with it to the end. Yes, there is the whole graphic torture bit, however I disagree that this is pointless like others have said, and it's purpose becomes clear as you read on into later books.

All in all, a good book, but the subsequent ones are better, so haste ye through this one and get one with them!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Benjamin
  • 18-10-2012

starts promising but badly disappoints

The narrator is excellent and his voice acting is superb. The quality of the production is also excellent. The story starts out good with lots of promising characters and imagination. Unfortunately in the later half of the book the story falls apart and the writer seems to give in. After unbelievable plot coincidences and further unbelievable failures by the characters the story takes hours to arrive at a dull and predictable end. Very disappointing.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dominic
  • 12-04-2009

Great Listen

This book got me hooked into the Sword of Truth series. Well worth the money.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Madcyril
  • 24-08-2019

Underwhelming LOTR copy

Seems I couldn’t keep listening to this , the story was too cliche , and I was getting annoyed with the main character and the story was lacklustre .

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick
  • 17-04-2011

Good story line, boring story length

I bought this without knowing it was the base story for 'The Seaker' on TV. It started off pretty good and I only realised what it was after chapter 2. The characters are good and well defined but the descriptions and emotive painting gets very tedious. I wouldn't buy another one I'm afraid.

Nick G.

2 people found this helpful