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Wizard's First Rule

Sword of Truth, Book 1
Written by: Terry Goodkind
Narrated by: Sam Tsoutsouvas
Series: Sword of Truth, Book 1
Length: 34 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (302 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.

©2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love it

I own all the hard copy books and have been trying to read them for years. I get distracted and bored of the act of reading even when I'm enjoying the book. I've finally been able to enjoy reading... well listening. Finished the book in a week, in reality it would have taken me months if not longer. The narrator is great! The book is great! Can't wait to get started on the rest.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Okay story. Dragged out.

Listen to it sped up otherwise super boring. Story was.. Okay.
Also, tons of grammatical errors. It was frustrating to listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book, but reader frustrating in spots

The narrator has an amazing voice and reads very well, however he has a very difficult time keeping his voice at the same volume. I am constantly increasing and decreasing the volume large degrees. It causes me to constantly have to go back in book because I missed some of what was said. Very Frustrating, constant fiddling with volume and rewind.
Otherwise, amazing book so far!

1 person found this helpful

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Good story, excellent performance

Sam Tsoutouvas does an excellent job performing this book. He really does make what starts out as a great story that much better.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing!!!

This is the book that just keeps on giving. When you think its going o end it just keeps giving you more amazing gifts. The reader really captures you and pulls you into the story, the story has great lay out and in my eyes this one of the best fantasy books of today.

1 person found this helpful

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loved it then, love it still.

I read this book way back around 2001-2002, and I absolutely loved it - so I decided to give it a listen on Audible to see if it was as good as I remembered. it absolutely was. Had the perfect amount of action, suspense, fear and fantasy. The narrator only served to add the experience. If you like fantasy novels, be prepared to get hooked - this is the start to a great series!

1 person found this helpful

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fantastic!

I'd been meaning to get into this series for years and had finally gotten around to it since I work nights. I've got to say that it absolutely blew me away. The story was gripping and engaging, I think its largely due to Sam's AMAZING narration (I was very sad to see he wasn't still telling the story) I loved how he would completely change himself for the different characters and put so much emotion into it that he had me damn near sobbing at some points. I didn't think I'd ever find another book series that caught me like game of thrones until now. Plus this has so many of the old school fantasy troupes that have gotten left out of the fantasy novels of today.

absolutely brilliant. solid 10/10.

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Excellent

I enjoyed this book very much, the performance was top notch and the story was gripping. Highly recommend!

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  • Kim
  • 2019-12-20

So very good.

I don’t know what was better, the story or the narrator. I loved every minute.

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sooooooo good!

10 out of 10, loved the narrator :D test test test test test test test

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Suspect
  • 2019-07-02

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".

60 people found this helpful

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  • Kenneth M Brake
  • 2019-10-21

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.

13 people found this helpful

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

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.

96 people found this helpful

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  • Fantasy Reader
  • 2018-07-01

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
  • 2014-04-16

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Carol Cornsweet Barber
  • 2019-10-19

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.....

23 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • John R. Weiss
  • 2018-10-06

A lukwarm pile of rubbish

I love authors like Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Neil Gaiman; but this... this was rubbish. The magic system is inconsistent, every encounter starts with a big anti-heroic philosophical lecture that basically amounts to "do whatever it takes to win, even if it means screwing your friends over", and that philosophy itself is so hard to stomach that even the characters themselves don't like it. And the magic system appears so poorly thought-out that it's basically all different versions of "handwavium". The author's foreshadowing is about as subtle as a frying pan in the face, and the only likable character in the whole book was a bartender, who was only seen briefly.

The one saving grace is the vocal performance. The voice actor poured his heart and soul into bringing the scenes to life, and used different voices well. That meant that I was actually able to enjoy the story, a little bit, by viewing it as an unintentional comedy. It's like watching the 1989 movie, "Sinbad of the Seven Seas" with Lou Ferrigno. The movie is such an awful train wreck that it becomes unintentionally hilarious to watch. That's what listening to The Sword of Truth is like, and with the voice actor taking his job *so* seriously, over such a poor quality book, it got me through to the end.

Unfortunately, the volume levels were so variable that I found myself adjusting the volume up and down throughout the story just to hear what was going on (as it jumped from loud, angry shouting to inaudible whispers and back again), and I often had to back up to catch whatever I missed. That should have been resolved in post-production, so I subtracted a star for that.

9 people found this helpful

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  • DoctorStopMo
  • 2019-06-08

Awful

This was a struggle to finish. I put the book at 2.75x speed because it got to be torture to listen to. The book is derivative, the protagonist is a living Gary Stu, the plot is deeply uninteresting, there are endless Ayn Rand inspired monologues, and a huge section of torture porn that is some of the most puerile juvenile fiction I've ever read.

This is the absolute most abysmal, derivative, painfully unoriginal, most poorly plotted version of what an epic fantasy should be. The worst offense, though, is that Terry Goodkind thinks he is a good author with profound insights into humanity and human nature, and the smug tone permeates the entire narrative. Richard Cypher seems to be one of the worst author stand-in characters I've ever read.

One star reviews tend to be hyperbolic - what could be THAT bad, really and truly? This book. This book is THAT bad.

People like different things in fantasy. Some people like characters, or interesting villains, some like world building, and others like magic systems - all of those are of the absolute lowest tier in this book.

Standard hero's journey fantasy stuff has been done to death - but this is one of the worst examples of it.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Shari
  • 2018-03-28

Not as good as I remembered

I read Wizards First Rule, and the rest of the series a few years ago and remember thinking the author was a bit puffed up, but the story was good. After this listen I've revised that opinion. The story could be good, if the author would just get on with it. If he would just tell the tale. If only he let the story flow. Instead he beat a dead horse, rewriting the same point in 2 or 3 sentences (see what I did there). It probably was meant to build dramatic tension, but it is such an overused technique that it makes the writing seem juvenile. As did the point in which while trying to enrage a would be rapist a character tells him to "do it to me".

As for the narrator, I don't know if he made the story worse, or the bad writing made him that bad. He cannot do a female voice, or really differentiate one character from another. This is not his genre. I imagine he'd do well with politicians memoirs.

As there is a different narrator I'll try Stone of Tears, but I have little hope for it. I would not recommend this book if you are an epic fantasy fan. If you like trashy semi-romance, cliche adventures that are poorly written, you'll love this one.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joslin
  • 2009-10-16

Great story, fantanstic narrator

This was my first choice for a fiction audio listen. I was a little worried about a narrated fiction because my own imagination is usually better, but I was not disappointed. In fact, I'm half-way in love with Sam Tsoutsouvas' voice! He narrated this story beautifully, made the characters and story absolutely come alive! I highly recommend this audio book for anyone who enjoys a good escape into another world with the bonus of a wonderful guide found in Tsoutsouvas's voice.

75 people found this helpful

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  • Yohann
  • 2019-09-30

amazing journey, a good complexity on human nature

love it
amazing journey
a good grip of the complexity of human nature
well narrated

1 person found this helpful