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The Law of Nines    by Terry Goodkind order for
Law of Nines
by Terry Goodkind
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday Canada, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD

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*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When struggling painter Alexander Rahl unwittingly saves a mysterious and beautiful young woman named Jax from certain death, the last thing he expects is to be swept into a dangerous new reality where shadowy enemies are intent on killing him.

With Jax disappearing from his life as quickly as she'd entered it, Alex is at first unaware that the catalyst to recent unexplainable events is his 27th birthday. With his mother confined to an insane asylum, it's up to Alex's eccentric grandfather Ben to inform his grandson that the date and time of his birth is very important - and that he's become the sole beneficiary of a fifty thousand acre tract of land in the Midwest.

Unfortunately Alex cannot share his sudden change in fortune with the man who'd raised him - Ben dies in a house fire. Only days after laying the old man to rest Alex is targeted, but his life is spared by the timely intervention of a knife-wielding Jax. She claims to be a powerful sorceress from another dimension and if determined that Alex - the last surviving descendent of the House of Rahl - must survive their enemies at all costs.

As a first time reader of Goodkind's work, and one who was expecting a modern thriller, I was somewhat surprised when, despite its gripping opening, the plotline quickly crossed into fantasy territory and just as quickly ground to a halt. Once the often befuddled Alex finally gets a grip on his new reality and Goodkind moves the action out of the insane asylum (a hackneyed setting that includes the equally tired twist of employees who are not who they say they are) the action picks up and more revelations are doled out.

The tepid and often trite plotline of The Law of Nines might have worked well as a novella, but as a full length novel there just wasn't enough fire in either the characters or the storyline to sustain this reviewer's interest.

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