The second Sword of Truth novel, the longest in the original series to date, begins almost immediately after its predecessor, with Richard and his companions tracking and attempting to execute a screeling, pursuing it to the Mud People village, the Seeker of Truth wishing to marry Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell there. Visitors from the Palace of the Prophets in Tanimura known as the Sisters of Light come to offer alleged help for Richard with his supposed magical talent thanks to a suppressive collar known as a Rada’Han, although the Seeker, given his collared experience with Mord-Sith Denna, initially refuses.
However, Richard is plagued by headaches without the collar, and ultimately agrees to Kahlan’s request that he do indeed put it on, lest the headaches eventually kill him. Some backstory about the Mother Confessor’s lineage is revealed sometime into the novel, and key to the first Sword of Truth sequel is Richard’s own heritage. A tear in the veil between the living world and the underworld necessitates the titular MacGuffin, the Stone of Tears (which this reviewer assumes actually rhyme with “bears,” which would make its purpose make more sense) critical to sealing the void.
Throughout the story, battles erupt in the Midlands among the divided nations, with the action intensifying towards the end with a race to repair the link to the underworld, accounting for a satisfying, if a little verbose, story that very well continues the Sword of Truth saga, the first sequel one could consider a speedbump into really getting into the series, as its countless sequels aren’t nearly as lengthy. As such, even those that enjoyed the first book might admittedly have trouble getting into the series with its initial follow-up, but completing it is definitely a rewarding experience.