||Quite a good little tale, though it
didn't give me as much information as the author promised in his note at
the beginning of the book.
This tale is advertised as showing us
how the Boundaries were put into place, which lasted much of Zedd's
lifetime, until near the end of Wizard's First Rule. We actually come in
near the end of the tale.
As usual, Zedd is very tricky, and
gives the others around him no useful information except what they need
to know. Even his trusted assistants get barely more than he gives
Richard in most of the books. I suppose that is his right, as the
highest ranking wizard, but it isn't very useful for allowing others to
grow, or to become First Wizard if he were to die.
Zedd became First Wizard at a very
young age. We get to meet him from the point of view of Abby, who comes
to try and get his help. We find out soon enough that she is there to
betray him. The book takes place at the height of the war with D'hara in
the west, after Zedd's daughter was kidnapped, and as he was at the end
sanity trying to defeat the spells used against the midlands by Panis
Rahl. Zedd has found a spell left over from the war with the Old World,
which everyone, including him, thinks is desperation. Abby comes to him
with a seemingly small request when compared to all that.
She wants him to help save her daughter
and husband from the D'harans, who have invaded her lands. She has
brought the bones of her mother, whom she believes is owed a debt by
Zedd's father, thus Zedd himself. Initially, she is so overcome with
what she sees in the war room in Wizard's Keep that she isn't really
coherent -who would be?!? She is rejected out of hand, and I don't blame
Zedd for doing so.
When she gets an audience with Zedd the
next morning, through the interference of the Mother Confessor herself,
Zedd has already formulated a plan. Deciding to set the Boundary against
D'hara, he finds that he can help Abby at the same time.
We are, of course, given a little
foreshadowing, when the sorceress and Mother Confessor talk about the
Mord-Sith, and how even Zedd would be taken by their power, but that a
Confessor was superior. Because as Zedd prepares to infiltrate the
D'haran army, a Mord-Sith attacks, and captures him through his magic.
Yet he is saved by the Mother Confessor, because they suspected that
Abby was leading the wizard into a trap.
Abby takes the Mord-Sith uniform and
scours the army's camp for her daughter, whose captivity forced her to
lure Zedd into the trap. Instead, she finds Zedd's daughter, and brings
As Zedd starts the spell to the
Boundary, an old woman returns along the river bank, holding an image of
Zedd's daughter, and kills the girl violently when Zedd refuses to
submit. Because the old woman was known to the soldiers of D'hara, Zedd
used her image to tell the soldiers to flee his magic, while leaving the
prisoners to die. Thus, D'harans being who they are, afraid of magic,
they left. Abby, the Mother Confessor and the the sorceress from the
Keep help get them to safety as Zedd completes the powerful magic spell.
As expected, Abby's daughter and husband are among the returned
I liked the trick that Zedd used,
though the image of his daughter was pretty obvious. When did the old
woman have time to follow Abby back from the camp, though? Zedd also used the Wizard's
First Rule, that People are Stupid -they see what they want to see, many
times. The most obvious time was with the soldiers, above, but he also
used it on Abby, since it was actually her mother who owed Zedd's father
the favor! The debt was paid by their offspring when Abby rescued Zedd's
daughter. He also used the Rule on the Council of the Midlands, in that
the Boundary was applied as a defensive barrier, not as a killing
machine, sweeping the lands of D'hara clean, as they expected.
Once all is clear (and I expect that
there was some clean-up to do on other fronts of the war), the people
who were murmuring against magic were invited to move to Westland, where
another Boundary would be placed, to keep magic out. I think the way
Abby came up with the term Warden was a little simplistic, but I think
the discussion about the need for the wardens was well-presented.
As with the other Sword of Truth
novels, this one was very well written, with good dialog, and lots of
interesting description. I did like the way it was given from Abby's
point of view, as these books were always focused on the people, as
opposed to the magic that was used. However, it would have been nice if
we had another point of view, as well, from somebody who entered the
story earlier. But that's a relatively small complaint.
The story was enjoyable, and returned
me to the Sword of Truth world, which was also nice to see.