The Omen Machine (Richard and Kahlan Series #1)by Terry Goodkind
An accident leads to the discovery of a mysterious machine that has rested hidden deep underground for millennia. The machine awakens to begin issuing a series of increasingly alarming, if minor, omens. The omens turn out to be astonishingly accurate, and ever more ominous. As Zedd tries to figure out how to destroy the sinister device, the machine issues a
An accident leads to the discovery of a mysterious machine that has rested hidden deep underground for millennia. The machine awakens to begin issuing a series of increasingly alarming, if minor, omens. The omens turn out to be astonishingly accurate, and ever more ominous. As Zedd tries to figure out how to destroy the sinister device, the machine issues a cataclysmic omen involving Richard and Kahlan, foretelling an impending event beyond anyone's ability to stop.
As catastrophe approaches, the machine then reveals that it is within its power to withdraw the omen…in exchange for an impossible demand.
Read an Excerpt
The Omen Machine
By Terry Goodkind
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2011 Terry Goodkind
All rights reserved.
"There is darkness," the boy said.
Richard frowned, not sure that he had understood the whispered words. He glanced back over his shoulder at the concern on Kahlan's face. She didn't look to have understood the meaning any more than he had.
The boy lay on a tattered carpet placed on the bare ground just outside a tent covered with strings of colorful beads. The tightly packed market outside the palace had become a small city made up of thousands of tents, wagons, and stands. Throngs of people who had come from near and far for the grand wedding the day before flocked to the marketplace, buying everything from souvenirs and jewelry to fresh bread and cooked meats, to exotic drinks and potions, to colorful beads.
The boy's chest rose a little with each shallow breath, but his eyes remained closed. Richard leaned down closer to the frail child. "Darkness?"
The boy nodded weakly. "There is darkness all around."
There was, of course, no darkness. Streamers of morning sunlight played over the crowds of people coursing by the thousands through the haphazard streets between the tents and wagons. Richard didn't think that the boy saw anything of the festive atmosphere all around.
The child's words, on the surface so soft, carried some other meaning, something more, something grim, about another place entirely.
From the corner of his eye, Richard saw people slow as they passed, watching the Lord Rahl and the Mother Confessor stopped to see an ill boy and his mother. The market out beyond was filled with lilting music, conversation, laughter, and animated bargaining. For most of the people passing nearby, seeing the Lord Rahl and the Mother Confessor was a once-in-a-lifetime event, one of many over the last few days, that would be recounted back in their homelands for years to come.
Guards of the First File stood not far away, also watching attentively, but they mostly watched the nearby crowds shuffling through the market. The soldiers wanted to make sure that those crowds didn't close in too tightly, even though there was no real reason to expect any sort of trouble.
Everyone was, after all, in a good mood. The years of war had ended. There was peace and growing prosperity. The wedding the day before seemed to mark a new beginning, a celebration of a world of possibilities never before imagined.
Set amid that sunlit exuberance, the boy's words felt to Richard like a shadow that didn't belong.
Kahlan squatted down beside him. Her satiny white dress, the iconic symbol of her standing as the Mother Confessor, seemed to glow under the early-spring sky, as if she were a good spirit come among them. Richard slipped his hand under the boy's bony shoulders and sat him up a little as Kahlan lifted a waterskin up to the boy's lips.
"Can you take just a sip?"
The boy didn't seem to hear her. He ignored her offer and the waterskin. "I'm alone," he said in a frail voice. "So alone."
The words sounded so forlorn that they moved Kahlan to reach out in silent compassion and touch the boy's knobby shoulder.
"You're not alone," Richard assured the boy in a voice meant to dispel the gloom of such words. "There are people here with you. Your mother is here."
Behind closed eyelids, the boy's eyes rolled and darted, as if looking for something in the darkness.
"Why have they all left me?"
Kahlan laid a hand gently on the boy's heaving chest. "Left you?"
The boy, lost in some inner vision, moaned and whined. His head tossed from side to side. "Why have they left me alone in the cold and dark?"
"Who left you?" Richard asked, concentrating in an effort to be sure he could hear the boy's soft words. "Where did they leave you?"
"I have had dreams," the boy said, his voice a little brighter.
Richard frowned at the odd change of subject. "What kind of dreams?"
Disoriented confusion returned to haunt the boy's words. "Why have I had dreams?"
The question sounded to Richard like it was directed inward and didn't call for an answer. Kahlan tried anyway.
"We don't —"
"Is the sky still blue?"
Kahlan shared a look with Richard. "Quite blue," she assured the boy. He didn't appear to hear that answer, either.
Richard didn't think that there was any point in continuing to pester the boy for answers. He was obviously sick and didn't know what he was saying. It was pointless to try to question the product of delirium.
The boy's small hand suddenly grabbed Richard's forearm.
Richard heard the sound of steel being drawn from scabbards. Without turning, he lifted his other hand in a silent command to the soldiers behind him to stand down.
"Why have they all left me?" the boy asked again.
Richard leaned in a little closer, hoping to calm him at least. "Where did they leave you?"
The boy's eyes opened so abruptly that it startled both Richard and Kahlan. His gaze was fixed on Richard, as if trying to see into his soul. The grip of the thin fingers on Richard's forearm was powerful beyond what Richard would have believed the boy capable of.
"There is darkness in the palace."
A chill, fed by a cold breath of breeze, shivered across Richard's flesh.
The boy's eyelids slid closed as he sagged back.
Despite his intent to be gentle with the boy, Richard's voice took on an edge.
"What are you talking about? What darkness in the palace?"
"Darkness ... is seeking darkness," he whispered as he drifted down into incoherent mumbling.
Richard's brow drew tight as he tried to make some kind of sense of it. "What do you mean, darkness is seeking darkness?"
"He will find me, I know he will."
The boy's hand, as if too heavy to hold up, slipped off Richard's arm. It was replaced by Kahlan's as the two of them waited a moment to see if the boy would say any more. He seemed to finally have fallen silent for good.
They needed to get back to the palace. People would be waiting for them.
Besides, Richard didn't think, even if the boy did say more, that it would be any more meaningful. He looked up at the boy's mother, standing above him, dry-washing her hands.
The woman swallowed. "He scares me, he does, when he gets like this. I'm sorry, Lord Rahl, I didn't mean to distract you from your business." She looked to be a woman aged prematurely by worries.
"This is my business," Richard said. "I came down here today to be among people who couldn't make it up to the palace yesterday for the ceremony. Many of you have traveled a great distance. The Mother Confessor and I wanted to have a chance to show our appreciation to everyone who came for our friends' wedding.
"I don't like to see anyone in such obvious distress as you and your boy. We'll see if we can get a healer to find out what's wrong. Maybe they can give him something to help him."
The woman was shaking her head. "I've tried healers. Healers can't help him."
"Are you sure?" Kahlan asked. "There are very talented people here who might be able to help."
"I already took him to a woman of great powers, a Hedge Maid, all the way to Kharga Trace."
Kahlan's brow creased. "A Hedge Maid? What kind of healer is that?"
The woman hesitated, her gaze darting away. "Well, she's a woman of remarkable abilities as I hear told. Hedge Maids ... have talents, so I thought she might be able to help. But Jit — that's her name, Jit — said that Henrik was special, not sick."
"Does this happen with your son often, then?" Kahlan asked.
The woman worked some of the cloth of her simple dress into her fist. "Not often. But it happens. He sees things. Sees things through the eyes of others, I think."
Kahlan pressed her hand to the boy's forehead a moment and then ran her fingers back through his hair. "I think maybe it's fevered dreams, that's all," she said. "He's burning up."
The woman was nodding knowingly. "He gets like that, all fevered and such, when he sees things through the eyes of others." She met Richard's gaze. "Some kind of telling, I think. I think that's what he does when he gets like this. Some kind of foretelling."
Richard, like Kahlan, didn't think the boy saw anything more than fevered visions, but he didn't say so. The woman already looked distressed enough.
Richard also didn't hold much favor with prophecy. He liked prophecy even less than he liked riddles and he didn't like riddles at all. He thought people made far more of prophecy than was justified.
"Doesn't sound at all specific," Richard said. "I don't think it's anything more than a childhood fever."
The woman didn't look to believe one word of it, but she also didn't look inclined to contradict the Lord Rahl. It wasn't all that long ago that the Lord Rahl was a greatly feared figure in the land of D'Hara, and with good reason.
Old fears, like old grudges, lived long lives.
"Maybe he ate something that was bad," Kahlan suggested.
"No, nothing bad," the woman insisted. "He eats the same things I eat." She studied their faces for a moment before adding, "But the hounds have come around bothering him."
Richard frowned up at the woman. "What do you mean, the hounds have come around bothering him?"
Her tongue darted out to wet her lips. "Well, hounds — wild hounds I think — came sniffing around here last night. I had just run out to get us a loaf of bread. Henrik was watching our bead wares. He was scared when the hounds showed up so he hid inside. When I got back they were sniffing and growling around the doorway of our tent, the hair on their backs standing up all stiff and such. I grabbed a stick and chased them off. This morning he was like this."
Richard was about to say something when the boy abruptly twisted wildly. He lashed out with clawed fingers at both Richard and Kahlan as if he were a cornered animal.
Richard jumped up, pulling Kahlan back out of the boy's reach as soldiers brought swords out.
Quick as a rabbit, the boy darted away toward the confusion of tents and crowds. Two soldiers immediately raced after him. The boy dove under a low wagon and popped up on the other side. The men were too big to follow and had to go around the wagon, giving the boy a head start of a dozen strides. Richard didn't think his lead would last long.
In an instant the boy, with the soldiers hot on his heels, vanished among the wagons, tents, and people. It was a mistake to run from men of the First File.
Richard saw that the scratch on the back of Kahlan's hand had drawn blood.
"It's just a little scratch, Richard," she assured him when she saw the look in his eyes. "I'm fine. It just startled me."
Richard glanced down at the lines oozing blood on the back of his own hand and let out a sigh of frustration. "Me too."
The captain of the guards, sword in hand, stepped forward. "We'll find him, Lord Rahl. Out here on the Azrith Plain there's no real place to hide. He won't get far. We'll find him." The man didn't look at all pleased that someone, even a boy, had drawn the Lord Rahl's blood.
"Like the Mother Confessor said, it's just a scratch. But I'd like you to find the boy."
A dozen men of the guard detail clapped fists to their hearts.
"We'll find him, Lord Rahl," the captain said, "you can count on that."
Richard nodded. "Good. When you do, see to it that he gets safely back here to his mother. There are healers among the people selling their wares and services. Bring one here when you find the boy and see if they can help him."
As the captain detailed additional guards to search for the boy, Kahlan leaned closer to Richard. "We had better get back up to the palace. We have a lot of guests."
Richard nodded. "I hope your boy is well soon," he said to the woman before starting out toward the immense plateau atop which sat the People's Palace, the place he had inherited when he had inherited the rule of D'Hara, a land that he had never even known existed as he'd grown up. In many ways D'Hara, the empire he ruled, was still a complete mystery to him.CHAPTER 2
"A penny for your future, sir?"
Richard paused to look down at the old woman sitting cross-legged out of the way at the side of one of the many grand halls of the People's Palace. She leaned back against the wall beside the base of a marble arch that soared several stories overhead as she waited to see if she had won herself a new customer. A brown cloth bag with her belongings along with a thin cane lay close up against her hip. She was dressed in a simple but neat long gray woolen dress. A cream-colored shawl lay draped over her shoulders as protection against the occasional bite of departing winter. Spring had arrived, but so far it had proven to be more promise than substance.
The woman smoothed back stray strands of brown and gray hair at her temple, apparently wanting to look presentable for potential customers. By the milky film over her eyes, the way her head tilted up without facing anyone accurately, and her searching movements, Richard knew that the woman couldn't see him or Kahlan. Only her hearing would be of any help in taking in the grandeur all around her.
Out beyond where the woman sat, one of the many bridges in the palace crossed the hall at a second-floor level. Clutches of people engaged in conversation strolled across the bridge while others stood at the marble balusters, gazing down on the vast passageway below, some watching Richard and Kahlan and their accompanying contingent of guards. Many in the thick crowds of people strolling the expansive corridors of the palace were visitors who had come for the festivities of the day before.
Though the People's Palace was more or less under one roof, it was really a city tightly clustered atop a lone, immense plateau rising up out of the Azrith Plain. Since the palace was the ancestral home of the Lord Rahl, parts of it were off-limits to the public, but most of the expansive complex was home to thousands of others. There were living quarters for people of every sort, from officials to merchants, to craftsmen, to workers, with other areas set aside for visitors. The sprawling public corridors linked the city palace together and provided access to it all.
Not far from the woman sitting against the wall, a shop window displayed bolts of cloth. Throughout the palace there were shops of every sort. Down inside the plateau hundreds more rooms provided everything from quarters for soldiers to yet more shops for residents and visitors alike.
The narrow road rising along the side of the plateau that Richard and Kahlan had ridden up after visiting the market was the fastest way up to the People's Palace, but it was narrow and in places treacherous, so the public was not allowed to use it. The main route for visitors, merchants, and workers of every sort was through the great inner doors and up the passageways inside the plateau. Many people never ventured all the way up to the palace at the top, but came to shop at the market that in peaceful times sprang up down on the plain, or to visit some of the hundreds of shops along the way up inside the plateau.
The sheer inaccessibility of the city palace, if the drawbridge on the road was raised and the great inner doors were closed, made assaults futile. Throughout history sieges of the palace withered out on the inhospitable Azrith Plain long before the strength of those in the palace began to wane. Many had tried, but there was no practical way to attack the People's Palace.
The old woman would have had a hard time making the climb all the way up the inner passageways to the palace proper. Because she was blind, it must have been especially difficult for her. Although there were always people wanting to know what the future held, Richard supposed that she probably found more customers up top willing to pay for her simple fortunes, and that made the climb worth the effort.
Richard gazed out at the seemingly endless corridor filled with people and the ever-present whisper of footsteps and conversation. He supposed that the woman, being blind, would be attuned to all the sounds of the people in the corridors and by that judge the enormity of the place.
Excerpted from The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind. Copyright © 2011 Terry Goodkind. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Terry Goodkind has been a wildlife painter, a cabinet maker, and a violin maker, before turning to the writing career that put him at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. With his wife Jeri, he spends the majority of his time in the desert Southwest.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I am a fan of the earlier books in the Sword of Truth series and will always love the characters Kahlan and Richard, but I fell off a bit during the later series books when things became a little too preachy. I received my copy of The Omen Machine from B&N a little early yesterday and was able to dig in and read most of last night and today. It's a quick read, with a great pace. About 2/3 the size of previous of books, which I think is a very good thing. The story is awesome with a great sense of danger and a truly unbelievable finale. A great setup for more things to come. Everything about the book feels like a refreshed take on the world I love, but now with a very contemporary feel. It's the right formula for Terry and I believe, like me, his fans are going to be very pleased with what they find here. I'd still recommend this book even to people that have never read a prior Sword of Truth series novel because this one stands well on its own and feels like the start to a new series. While it helps knowing the backstories of these characters a little more, it's definitely not required and really won't lessen your satisfaction with the book. Overall, I give The Omen Machine a solid 5/5 stars for being a great read, with a very enjoyable plot, wrapped around an excellent, refreshing pace with a terrific new direction for the characters. Great book.
Goodkind brings us another brilliant escape into the lives of fantasy, magic, love, and relationships. Richard & Kahlan are back and as good as ever... Another Goodkind classic. I couldn't put it down.
Was lucky enough to get my copy last night, and could not put it down, THE OMEN MACHINE is faster-paced and more exciting than previous books. I won't spoil it for all you TGoodkind fans but I know you will fall in love with the story! Happy reading :)
Great characters (the Hedgewitch and Hannis Arc are amazing), very fun plot, fast paced, thrilling read, and a really good beginning to something new. Overall, I give this book an easy recommend. In a weird way, it's probably a great starting place even for someone that hasn't read anything else by Goodkind. It's just a more enjoyable read than some of the longer, bigger books in the past series.
I pre-ordered this book sometime last year when it was first announced. To say that I was excited that Terry Goodkind was returning with another story based in the SOT realm would be an understatement. After reading it (in like 4 hours...), I was left with the feeling that this new trilogy is really one book that they split into three. First off, the font is ridiculously large. We are talking 16 point. I pulled out one of the other hardcover's I have in the series to verify that my eyes were not deceiving me. It is night and day difference. Even with the bloated font size, the book barely hits 500 pages. Secondly, there is a certain repetitiveness in this book that I have never seen out of this author. Do I really need 8 chapters in a book describing the same scenery with different characters viewpoints? That is literally almost 10% of the book devoted to a chase scene - twice! TG has done a great job in the past developing characters. He doesn't need to spend a lot of time in new books rehashing what they stand for, why they make the decisions they do, blah blah blah. Even with the villains in the book, he did a good job building why they were evil. With this book (TOM), I almost feel as though he dumb-ed (Not a word i know) down all of the returning characters that you know and love. He may have spent a total of 3 or 4 chapters dealing with this books villain and perhaps a couple more than that on the villain from future books (or later on in the rest of this book that is missing). Maybe this "trilogy" will get better as more books are released. If you are a big fan of TG or the SOT series, by all means, take an afternoon or lunch break to read this short story. If you are new to the realm, pick up one of the first three books before attempting this. As a standalone novel, this book would probably turn you off to the whole series.
First of all I must say shame on TOR for pushing the release of the ebook back to Feb. 2012. As for the book itself, it was great to continue to read the story of Richard and Kahlan following Confesor. The story, however, was both uneventful and rushed at the same time compared to his other books. Too much time was spent in dialog saying the same thing that we read in a previous conversation 50 pages earlier. The plot had major flow problems, taking to long to advance at times, while rushing through key points at others. I may be being a little too critical, but only because my expectations for Goodkind's books are so high. I've enjoyed the series so much up to this point that Im disapointed that the book is merely good instead of great. I'd recomend the book to anyone that enjoyed the original series, just don't expect it to be on the level of Faith of the Fallen or Wizard's First Rule.
Love SOT series and Goodkind writing overall. This book was fun, but a bit too "light" and seemingly rushed so it feels like it takes away from the overall series power. Font was big and there was some of repetition describing surroundings and such that was not necessary. Many chapters were very, very short, when made for the feeling of a "fast" read, but certainly took away from the feeling of depth and detail of the story. I have to say the ending was the most disappointing...there was a decent level of build-up and anticipation for the climax of the ending, (and without trying to spoil the story too much) then Richard swoops in to save the day, defeats an enemy that was built up to be very menacing and powerful in a simple and quick way, and we are left somewhat hanging for the nice wrap up and left with unanswered questions with a "the end". It is a good story and fund/fast read...but it could have been another SOT series "great" book with some more time, detail and length put into it.
I've been reading the SOT books for years, I've read the previous 11 installments over and over. I loved the intricacies and the plot complexity, the character development and the philosophy woven in. I assumed when I bought this book that it was going to be the same caliber of writing and I couldn't wait to read it. What a disappointment. Huge font to try and hide how short this book is, chapters that were less than three pages long? Not to mention the generic, undeveloped plot, the lack of any further attempt at character development and the grammar errors all over the place. Characters that had been incredibly deep and interesting like Cara and Nicci were suddenly shallow and superficial. There was no humor, no meaningful theme, no philosophy. I especially did not appreciate the quick mention of the machine spouting wizard's rules which was not elaborated on at all. On the whole, this was a half-hearted attempt signaling that the series should have ended with the last book, Confessor. I realize this sounds harsh, but after the high expectations of 11 previous novels that were all amazing, this is such a disappointment.
it is a great culmination to an amazing series if given the chance read all of the sword of truth books.
Good not great
After the first 5 chapters I was wondering - did I not read something, exactly when did Richard and Kahln take stupid pills. I got the feeling I was reading a new book with characters that are do devoid of the ability to reason that no problems would ever be resolved. I have loved the entire series and this one book in the continuation was either poorly edited or poorly written, I'd like to think the former. Just the thought of a ruler with massive power, being treated like a woods men and some of the ¿new¿ court polices were so dumb it baffled the mind. Yet, on a scale of 1-10 I'd say it was entertaining at around 6. I hope future installments will be up to standards.
Fantastic figures (the Hedgewitch as well as Hannis Arc are fantastic), extremely entertaining scheme, action-packed, exhilarating read, as well as a really great start to something totally new. General, I actually give this book a straightforward highly recommend. In a bizarre manner, it really is most likely an excellent kick off point even for somebody that hasn't already read any other thing by Goodkind. It is every bit a much more pleasurable read than a number of the longer, even bigger books in the past collection.
I am a fan of the original series. I loved the characters, dialogue, and the world. This book was painful to finish. Cardboard characters, characters have lost there soul. The plot is pedestrian. My favored character is Kahlan Amnell. She was the best of a strong female lead character. In this book she became a simpering twit. If you must read this get it from the library. If you must own it get it used or on the bargain rack.
I have read every single book Terry has written and have enjoyed each and every one of them. Of course, I have my favorites and The Omen Machine just made the top five list. The story itself is fast paced and easy to follow while maintaining its intelligence and attention to detail. The Omen Machine picks up shortly after the events that took place during the extensive Sword of Truth series. However, it is not necessary to read the series to enjoy The Omen Machine as it is a true stand alone story. With that said, if you find you enjoy The Omen Machine, I would highly recommend reading Wizards First Rule, Terry Goodkind's first book.
This book was a great start to a new series of books about Richard and Kahlan. We are introduced to the overall storyline that will be going on and there is a major plot point that is developed and resloved in this book. For people complainig about the story not being finished? I honestly do not think you read any of Terry's books. This is how he has always written. There is the overall arc of a series,then there is a story in the book that gets resolved by the end. The characters were great to read about again. It was wonderful to see how the characters relationships develope when they are not separated or in the middle of a huge battle. The little touches of what it is like for the characters to be a couple and be around each other is well developed and great to see. Yes the book was a but shorter then past novels, but that is not a bad thing. With shorter novels we may see books come out faster. People always complain that authors take too long to write a book. Well you can't have it both ways. You get a long book and wait for it, or you get a shorter book and you get them faster. The book being shorter does not affect the story or quality. Sorry for no details about plot, but I hate reviews that spoil the book. It was a great story and a great start to a new series.
Great book, Series continues in a great manner,
A bit talky in some places but once past those areas it was a totally enjoyable Goodkind reading experience
I am disappoint
I have enjoyed the Sword of Truth series from the start. The last book from the end of the war was a let down but Terry Goodkind is back in the groove with this one. Look forward to following Richard through many more pages of his tale.
Thank you for telling "The Rest of The Story". I have missed Richard & Kahlan. I must admit I was glad when the first series ended. I was ready for the war to end and for everyone to get on with their lives. I am so glad that Mr. Goodkind is telling it. Please ignore anyone that complains that the books are too long. When the story is as well done as these all are why gripe? He could have made three times the money by writing a 300 or 400 page novel. I have paid the same for novels 1/4th the size of some of Mr. Goodkinds novels. Quality and quanity! That is what you can expect from Terry Goodkind. I read "The Law Of Nines". That was the last book before my e-reader. I enjoyed it. However I am thrilled with this new series. Thank You! Sanna7125
For such powerful characters they sure are easily beaten. He is a Rahl for crissakes and was so easily stymied. Not up to the original series standards. Repetitive beyond belief.. sorry I was surprised too..
I liked returning to the world of Richard and Kaylan; however I was disappointed in this effort. The characters had less depth and the logic flaws in the plot left the story well short of what I expect from Goodkind.
As others have posted the book was very predictable/simplistic. I hope the next book is better.