If you have read my prior blog post, Top 5 Must Read Fantasy Books, then you will know that I am huge fan of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Unfortunately, Terry Goodkind passed away earlier this year at the age of 72. It saddened me greatly to learn about his death, and I give my condolences to his family and all his fans. Shortly prior to his death, Goodkind released a follow-up series to the Sword of Truth series called Children of D’Hara, which was released as four separate novellas followed by a final novel. The four novellas are The Scribbly Man (2019), Hateful Things (2019), Wasteland (2019), and Witch’s Oath (2020). The final novel is entitled Into Darkness (2020). Coming February 2021, all four novellas and the novel with be released as one book entitled The Children of D’Hara. Children of D’Hara is marketed as a new series, so where does it fit into the Sword of Truth universe?
The Sword of Truth series began with Wizard’s First Rule, which was first published in 1994. Between 1994 and 2007, Goodkind released 11 books in the Sword of Truth series culminating with Confessor (12 books if you count the prequel novella, Debt of Bones). Among these 11 books are some of my favorite fantasy novels, but there are a couple duds in there as well. Some of my favorites include, Wizard’s First Rule, Temple of The Winds, and Faith of the Fallen. At the end of Confessor, the Sword of Truth series was wrapped up nicely, and I was not expecting further books in the series.
Then in 2011, Goodkind released a new book entitled The Omen Machine, and it was made clear by Goodkind that this was not part of the Sword of Truth series. Instead, it was labeled a “Richard and Kahlan Novel.” If you are unfamiliar with Goodkind’s work, Richard and Kahlan are the main protagonists of the Sword of Truth series. I distinctly remember when this book was released, Goodkind stated in either an interview or press release that the Sword of Truth series had ended, and this was a continuation of Richard and Kahlan’s story.
Following the release of The Omen Machine, Goodkind continued the new story line with The Third Kingdom (2013), which was also called a “Richard and Kahlan Novel,” Severed Souls (2014), and Warheart (2015), and at some point along the way this new series that was not Sword of Truth got rebranded as being part of the Sword of Truth series. The cover of Warheart states it is the conclusion to the Sword of Truth.
While writing this new portion of the Sword of Truth series, Goodkind also released a pre-prequel novel entitled The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus in 2012. The First Confessor is considered a pre-prequel because it takes place before the other prequel, Debt of Bones.
It pains me a little to say this, but compared to the crowning achievement that was the original 12 books of the Sword of Truth, The Omen Machine was pretty much a flaming pile of [fill in the blank]. It was almost as if Goodkind devolved as a writer, and the book was a huge disappointment. While the Sword of Truth is one of my favorite fantasy series, I will admit there are many flaws with both Goodkind’s writing and the story itself, and The Omen Machine magnified these flaws one-hundred fold with very little of what made the original books great despite the flaws. Goodkind rebounded however when he released The First Confessor following The Omen Machine, and in my opinion, The First Confessor rivals some of the best books in the original Sword of Truth series. The Third Kingdom, Severed Souls, and Warheart were much better than The Omen Machine, and Goodkind was able to regain some of his footing in the series. These books were not as good as the original series or The First Confessor, but they were respectable with a satisfying climax. After the release of Warheart it again appeared that the Sword of Truth series had come to an end.
Following the second ending to the Sword of Truth series, Goodkind released Death’s Mistress in 2017, which was the first book in a new spinoff series called The Nicci Chronicles. The Nicci Chronicles follows former Sister of the Dark, Nicci, on a new adventure within the Sword of Truth universe. The other books in this series are Shroud of Eternity (2018), Siege of Stone (2018), and Heart of Black Ice (2020). I have yet to finish any of the books in The Nicci Chronicles, but from what I have read so far in the first book, the quality is similar to that of the second part of the Sword of Truth series. However, I will reserve final judgment until after completing the entire series.
Now, we finally come to Children of D’Hara. In the advertisement/description for this series Goodkind himself stated, “The Sword of Truth series was my masterwork. Yet, life for these characters goes on after the conclusion of that series. For years readers have been asking about Richard and Kahlan’s children. This is that story.” From Goodkind’s own words, he indicates the Sword of Truth series ended, and Children of D’Hara is a new series about Richard and Kahlan’s children. However, The Scribbly Man begins pretty much right after the ending of Warheart in terms of the overall timeline, and small spoiler warning, Richard and Kahlan are the main protagonists in the entire series, not their children. While Goodkind may say this is not a Sword of Truth series, it really is. The Sword of Truth itself is front and center in the entire series, and again, Richard and Kahlan are the main protagonists. I would not be surprised if somewhere down the road this series is rebranded as part of the Sword of Truth series the same way the “Richard and Kahlan Novels.”
If you are a big fan of the Sword of Truth, and read the second part of the series ending with Warheart, then I recommend reading Children of D’Hara. You will get something out of it, and there is a lovely ending if you have followed Richard and Kahlan’s relationship all this time. However, Children of D’Hara is not nearly as good as the original Sword of Truth series or The First Confessor. It is not as bad as The Omen Machine, but there are times where it gets close. Overall, it is roughly of the same quality as The Third Kingdom through Warheart. I would recommend Children of D’Hara to die hard Sword of Truth fans, but I would not recommend it to a casual reader or even a fan of the fantasy genre that has not read all of the prior Sword of Truth books.
In conclusion, I would like say, rest in peace Terry Goodkind, and thank you for some of my favorite books of all time. I know many of my comments in this article were negative toward many of Goodkind’s books, and I would like to stress as much as possible that the 12 books of the original Sword of Truth series are fantastic and highly recommended. Considering we will get no further Sword of Truth books, Children of D’Hara provided a lovely ending that should leave readers feeling satisfied after spending so many years on Richard and Kahlan’s journey.