Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Omen Machine

The first entry of Terry Goodkind’s Richard and Kahlan epilogue series of The Sword of Truth opens with a boy ultimately named Henrik foretelling darkness, with healers unable to help him, and the child soon running away, pursued in the final chapters. Shortly afterward, Richard pays for a prophecy by a blind woman that a roof will fall, and he asks his grandfather Zedd about Kharga Trace, in the Dark Lands on the outlaws of the D’Haran Empire, where people mysteriously vanish. Men seeking Henrik strangely wind up dead, and dignitaries visiting the Lord Rahl have an odd preoccupation with prophecy.

Said fear of foretelling drives one mother to murder her children in fear of a fate for them worse than death, and Richard asks one of his visitors, Abbot Ludwig Dreier from the Fajin Province, about prophecy, given that prophets populate the priest’s homeland. Sinister sensations abound in the People’s Palace, with the eponymous omen machine ultimately discovered below the Garden of Life. The mechanism gives predictions that eventually come to fruition, and is researched; in the meantime, one of the visitors, Hannis Arc, consults with a Hedge Maid, wanting D’Hara for himself.

After several more deaths, the surviving dignitaries ultimately find themselves torn between swearing loyalty to Lord Rahl or Lord Arc given the former’s disdain of prophecy, culminating in a climactic conflict that follows the chase of Henrik into Kharga Trace. Overall, this epilogue book is definitely an enjoyable yarn that decently continues the story of Richard and Kahlan in a new plot arc of The Sword of Truth, given its mystery and action, not to mention this reviewer’s fellow dislike of prophecy, although as with prior entries of the series, it would have benefitted from a better editor.

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