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Confessor: Chainfire Trilogy, Part 3    by Terry Goodkind order for
by Terry Goodkind
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Confessor, eleventh in Terry Goodkind's bestselling Sword of Truth epic, completes its concluding Chainfire trilogy. As it began, series hero, Richard Lord Rahl, was healed of a mortal wound, only to discover his wife Kahlan erased from everyone's memories but his own. As the first book ended, an amnesiac Kahlan was forced by Sisters of the Dark to steal the Boxes of Orden (created long before to counter the Chainfire spell) from Lord Rahl's palace.

In the second book, Phantom, the Sisters and Kahlan were captured by vile Emperor Jagang. The machinations of Old World witch woman Six separated Richard from Cara and Nicci, and he ended up as a slave (but also a prized Ja'La player, his identity unknown) with Jagang's army. And Nicci put the boxes of Orden in play, naming Richard to lead the final battle. Both magic and memory were being gradually contaminated by the Chainfire spell, while the fanatical Fellowship of Order - who believe that individuality is immoral - worked to enslave the entire world.

Now, as Confessor opens, Six steals the remaining box of Orden from Nicci; Jagang's soldiers build a vast ramp to gain access to Lord Rahl's palace while special units seek access from the catacombs underneath it; and Richard trains his Ja'La team, while dodging assassination attempts from opposing players and straining for occasional glimpses of Kahlan. (Ja'La is a brutal, bloodthirsty ball game, where failure means whippings or death for the losing team.) Then Nicci is caught up in her worst nightmare, while Richard plays a riotous round of Ja'La that morphs into a thrilling battle on which rests the fate of his world and those he loves.

Young Rachel runs from the ghosty gobblies, receives aid from an unusual source, and acts with courage - and to pivotal effect. As does blind old Adie, and deadly witch Shota. Jagang issues an ultimatum. Richard and Kahlan's grand romance survives separations, reunions - and her amnesia. And all is made clear in a final confrontation in the Garden of Life, when Lord Rahl wields the Sword of Truth, saying 'The most basic choice you can make is to think or not to think, to let others do the thinking and tell you what to do, even if they tell you to do evil.'

Though the repetitive philosophical musings in the series often slow down the action and plot development, you can't disagree with an author whose hero tells us it's 'how we choose to live that matters.' Series fans and fantasy readers in general will be enthralled by Terry Goodkind's grand finale in Confessor, particularly by the twist of the knife that he turns in an amazing revelation at the end (he tells us that this book was 'a huge amount of fun' to write, and it's just as much fun to read.) Don't miss Sword of Truth and Confessor!

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