Phantom: The Sword of Truth, Book Ten
587 PAGES · £18.99
Author: Terry Goodkind
The tenth book (yep, tenth!) of any series is not really where any new reader is going to start reading, though Phantom does at least have one advantage for any who do: one of the main characters, Kahlan, is victim of a spell which has not only wiped out her memory, but the memory of her in everyone else’s mind. Except her beloved husband, Richard, that is, who is still trying to find her – and the bad guys, unfortunately. So there’s a space for those who can’t quite remember everything that’s gone before either!
Goodkind is certainly a very readable writer, clear and often vivid. And whatever you think of his political philosophies – which are heavily in. uenced by the right-wing individualist writer Ayn Rand (author of The Fountainhead) – they certainly add an interesting dimension to the good-versus-evil battles. The enemy here is a totalitarian, fundamentalist horde who want to forcibly convert the Old World to their ways, which basically entail lots of sadistic rape, war and, er, violent football. It may be simplistic, but at least there’s more of an ideology behind their invasion than usual.
The book is terribly talky, though – one particular conversation goes on for a bum-numbing ten chapters. And while it’s de. nitely no chore getting to page 587, it’s somewhat frustrating to realise how little has actually happened to further the plot by the time you’ve got there. As the apparent penultimate book in the series, it’s really just setting up the climax, which you can only hope will come sometime soon…