The Third Kingdom (Richard and Kahlan Series #2)

The Third Kingdom (Richard and Kahlan Series #2)

by Terry Goodkind

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Terry Goodkind returns to the lives of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell—in The Third Kingdom, the direct sequel to his #1 New York Times bestseller The Omen Machine.

Richard saw the point of a sword blade sticking out from between the man's shoulder blades. He spun back toward Richard after throwing the woman out the opening, ready to attack. It seemed impossible, but the man looked unaffected by the blade that had impaled him through the chest.

It was then, in the weak light from the fire pit off to the side, that Richard got his first good look at the killer.

Three knives were buried up to their brass cross-guards in the man's chest. Only the handles were showing. Richard saw, too, the broken end of a sword blade jutting out from the center of the man's chest. The point of that same blade stuck out from the man's back.

Richard recognized the knife handles. All three were the style carried by the men of the First File.

He looked from those blades that should have killed the big man, up into his face.

That was when he realized the true horror of the situation, and the reason for the unbearable stench of death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765370679
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Series: Richard and Kahlan Series , #2
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 47,655
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

The author of the worldwide bestsellers making up the Sword of Truth, and the #1 New York Times bestseller The Omen Machine, Terry Goodkind lives in Henderson, Nevada.

Read an Excerpt





“We should eat them now, before they die and go bad,” a gruff voice said.

Richard was only distantly aware of the low buzz of voices. Still only half conscious, he wasn’t able to figure out who was talking, much less make sense of what they were talking about, but he was aware enough to be disturbed by their predatory tone.

“I think we should trade them,” a second man said as he tightened the knot in the rope he had looped around Richard’s ankles.

“Trade them?” the first asked in a heated voice. “Look at the bloody blankets they were wrapped in and the blood all over the floor of the wagon. They’d likely die before we could ever trade them, and then they’d go to waste. Besides, how could we carry them both? The horses for their soldiers and the wagon are all gone, along with anything else of value.”

The second man let out an unhappy sigh. “Then we should eat the big one before anyone else shows up. We could carry the smaller one easier and then trade her.”

“Or save her and eat her later.”

“We’d be better off trading her. When else would we ever get a chance like this to get as much as she would fetch?”

As the two men argued, Richard tried to reach out to the side to touch Kahlan lying close up against him, but he couldn’t. He realized that his wrists were bound tightly together with a coarse rope. He instead pushed at her with his elbow. She didn’t respond.

Richard knew that he needed to do something, but he also knew that he would first need to summon not just his senses, but his strength, or he would have no chance. He felt worse than weak. He felt feverish with an inner sickness that had not only drained his strength but left his mind in a numb fog.

He lifted his head a little and squinted in the dim light, trying to see, trying to get his bearings, but he couldn’t really make out much of anything. When his head pushed up against something, he realized that he and Kahlan were covered with a stiff tarp. Out under the bottom edge he could see a pair of vague, dark silhouettes at the end of the wagon beyond his feet. One man stepped closer and lifted the bottom of the tarp while the other looped a rope around Kahlan’s ankles and tied it tight, the way they had done with Richard.

Through that opening Richard could see that it was night. The full moon was up, but its light had a muted quality to it that told him the sky was overcast. A slow drizzle drifted through the still air. Beyond the two figures a murky wall of spruce trees rose up out of sight.

Kahlan didn’t move when Richard pushed his elbow a little more forcefully against her ribs. Her hands, like his, lay nested at her belt line. His worry about what might be wrong with her had him struggling to gather his senses. He could see that she was at least breathing, although each slow breath was shallow.

As he gradually regained consciousness, Richard realized that besides feeling weak with fever of some sort, he hurt all over from hundreds of small wounds. Some of them still oozed blood. He could see that Kahlan was covered with the same kinds of cuts and puncture wounds. Her clothes were soaked in blood.

But it was not only the blood on the two of them that worried him. Damp air rolling in under the tarp carried an even heavier smell of blood from out beyond the men. There had been people with them, people who had come to help them. His level of alarm rose past his ability to gather his strength.

Richard could feel the lingering effects of being healed, and he recognized the shadowy touch of the woman who had been healing him, but since he still ached from cuts and bruises, he knew that while the healing had been started, it hadn’t gone beyond that start, much less been completed.

He wondered why.

On his other side, the side away from Kahlan, he heard something dragged across the floor of the wagon.

“Look at this,” the man with the gruff voice said as he pulled it out. For the first time, Richard could see the size of the man’s muscled arms as he reached in and lifted the object he had dragged closer.

The other man let out a low whistle. “How could they have missed that? For that matter, how could they have missed these two?”

The bigger man glanced around. “Messy as everything looks, it must have been the Shun-tuk.”

The other’s voice lowered with sudden concern. “Shun-tuk? You really think so?”

“From what I know of their ways, I’d say it was them.”

“What would the Shun-tuk be doing out here?”

The big man leaned toward his companion. “Same as us. Hunting for those with souls.”

“This far from their homeland? That seems unlikely.”

“With the barrier wall now breached, what better place to hunt for people with souls? The Shun-tuk would go anywhere, do anything, to find such people. Same as us.” He lifted an arm around in a quick gesture. “We came out to hunt these new lands, didn’t we? So would the Shun-tuk.”

“But they have a vast domain. Are you sure they would venture out?”

“Their domain may be vast and they may be powerful, but the thing they want most they don’t have. With the barrier wall breached they can hunt for it, now, the same as us, the same as others.”

The other man’s gaze darted about. “Even so, their domain is distant. Do you really think it could be them? This far out from their homeland?”

“I’ve never encountered the Shun-tuk myself, and I hope not to.” The big man raked his thick fingers back through his wet, stringy hair as he scanned the dark line of trees. “But I’ve heard that they hunt other half people just for the practice until they can find those with souls.

“This looks like their way. They usually hunt at night. With prey out in the open like this, they strike fast and hard with overwhelming numbers. Before anyone has time to see them coming, or to react, it’s over. They usually eat some of those they fall upon, but they take most for later.”

“Then what about these two? Why would they leave them?”

“They wouldn’t. In their rush to eat some of those they captured and to take the rest back with them, they must have missed these two hidden under the tarp.”

The smaller man picked at a splinter at the end of the wagon bed for a moment as he carefully scanned the countryside. “I hear it told that Shun-tuk often come back to check for returning stragglers.”

“You heard true.”

“Then we should be away from here in case they come back. Once they are overcome with the blood lust, they would devour us without hesitation.”

Richard felt powerful fingers grip his ankle. “I thought you wanted to eat this one before he dies and his soul can leave him.”

The other man took hold of Richard’s other ankle. “Maybe we should take him to a safe place, first, where the Shun-tuk wouldn’t be so likely to come across us and interfere. I would hate to be surprised once we get started. We can get a good price for the other. There be those who would pay anything for one with a soul. Even the Shun-tuk would bargain for such a person.”

“That’s a dangerous idea.” He thought it over briefly. “But you’re right, the Shun-tuk would pay a fortune.” The wolfish hunger was back in the bigger man’s voice. “This one, though, is mine.”

“There’s plenty for both of us.”

The other grunted. He seemed already lost in private cravings. “But only one soul.”

“It belongs to the one who devours it.”

“Enough talk,” the big man growled. “I want at him.”

As Richard was dragged out of the wagon, he was still struggling to gather his wits in order to make some kind of sense of the strange things he was hearing. He remembered well the warnings about the dangers of the Dark Lands. He was aware enough to realize that for the moment his life depended on not letting the two men know that he was beginning to come around.

As he was swiftly dragged by his ankles clear of the wagon bed, his upper body dropped to the ground. Even though he tried to round his shoulders, with his hands tied he couldn’t use them or his arms effectively to keep his head from whacking the rocky ground. The pain was shockingly sharp, followed by an enveloping, inviting blackness that he knew would be fatal if he couldn’t fight it off.

He focused on the surroundings, looking for an escape route, to try to keep his mind engaged. From what he was able to see in the murky moonlight, the wagon sat alone and desolate in the wilderness. The horses were gone.

While he didn’t see anyone else about, he did spot bones nearby. The bones were not bleached by weather, but stained dark with dried blood and bits of flesh. He could see gouges where teeth tried to scrape every bit of tissue from the bones.

The bones were human.

He recognized, too, shreds of uniforms. They were the uniforms of the First File, his personal bodyguards. Some of them, at least, had apparently given their lives defending Richard and Kahlan.

The smaller man still had hold of Richard’s ankle, apparently unwilling to let go of his prize. The other man stood to the side, looking at the thing he had pulled across the floor and out of the wagon.

Richard realized that it was his sword.

The man holding the sword pulled Kahlan partway out from under the tarp. Her lower legs bent at the knees and swung lifelessly from the end of the wagon bed.

While the man was distracted looking at her, Richard used the opportunity to sit up and lunge, trying to snatch his sword. The man yanked it back out of the way before Richard could get his fingers around the hilt. With his hands and feet tied, he hadn’t been free enough to grab it in time.

Both men stepped back. They hadn’t thought he was conscious. Richard had lost the advantage of surprise and gained nothing in return.

In reaction to seeing him awake, both men decided not to waste any more time. Snarling like hungry wolves, they descended on him, attacking him like animals in a feeding frenzy. The situation was so bizarre that it was difficult to believe.

The smaller of the two pulled Richard’s shirt open. Richard could see a glaze of ferocious savagery in the man’s eyes. The bigger one, teeth bared with a feral fury, dove straight for the side of Richard’s neck. Richard reflexively drew his shoulder up, deflecting the lunge at the last instant. In protecting his exposed neck, the move instead presented his shoulder to the attack.

Richard screamed out in pain as teeth sank into his upper arm. He knew that he had to do something, and do it quick.

He could think of only one thing: his gift. He mentally reached down deep within, desperately summoning deadly forces, urgently calling on the power that was his birthright.

Nothing happened.

With his level of anger and desperation, along with his fear for Kahlan, the essentials were there for his gift to respond. In the past it had answered such critical need. The power of it should have come roaring forth.

It was as if there was no gift there to summon.

Unable to call it forth, with his wrists and ankles bound, he had no effective way to fight off the two men.


Copyright © 2013 by Terry Goodkind

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The Third Kingdom 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 193 reviews.
Loralynne More than 1 year ago
I was thoroughly disappointed in this book. At times it felt like he was just trying to make a word count goal. There were sentences and paragraphs and whole pages that made me want to scream and kill his editor, because they said the same thing over and over and over just in little variations. Also, I haven't picked up one of the older books in the series to check, but I *swear* he switched tense. It felt like juvenile writing, to be honest, not the polished, captivating read I'm used to from him. Either way, it kinda sucked. And was even a bit hokey in some spots. I almost don't care about what happens next - and this is coming from a person who wants to name her daughter Kahlan and tore through the entire Sword of Truth arc in about half a year between working two jobs, and read all of First Confessor in one sitting. I really hope the next one doesn't feel so rushed. What I do know is that I won't bother buying two copies - one hardcover for my husband to read and one digital for me to read so we're not fighting over who gets to read it first - next time. I expect more from Mr. Goodkind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a huge fan of Terrys books, but this book left me wondering if he really wrote this book himself or if someone else did. The OCD writing style in this book was very unlike Terrys previous books, and it distracted from the story. Every page could have been condensed into a single paragraph, the rest was just saying the same thing a million different ways. I really hope this was just a one off deal. Terry is a master story teller, and a wonderful author. I hope his future books are more worthy of his name.
Jeff_5333 More than 1 year ago
What happened to Terry Goodkind?  Have aliens abducted his brain or what.  This book is even worse than his last installment of the ill fated Richard and Kahlan series.  Even a stupid name.  Do not waste your time reading this garbage.  My 11 year old grandson could have done better. Terrible writing,  I read all of the sword of truth series (twice) love them, this crap was a pain to get through.  I thought the Omen Machine was maybe a one-off crapper of a book but 2 in a row?  Come on Mr Goodkind you can do better than this mindless dribble.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This gets a two star, below average rating because it below what I expect from this series. I thoroughly enjoyed Sword of Truth, and was excited to hear the story would continue.  But as another reviewer pointed out, the writing is choppy and not nearly as polished, and many of the images are repeated and not really worth repeating. Instead of the epic nature of the original story, these feel slapdash and cheap. And the ending is so abrupt it actually caused me to write this review at all. Additionally, Richards interactions with Samantha was infuriating. Instead of the kind intelligent man we know, he's one dimensional and self absorbed. And can we please stop incapacitating strong female characters?.this really isn't worth the money, but if you read the Omen Machine, might as well read this one too, just don't expect any resolution. Lets hope a third book comes out soon and  is better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Serious editing required. Same stuff over and over. All the time and dialogue with Samantha. Get rid of that and give us more action which was actually done pretty well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was just plain bad. I have loved the Sword of Truth series, but after The Last Confessor the books have gotten just awful. I am not sure what has happened to Mr. Goodkind, but after reading this, I felt like I had just gotten done reading a story by my senile grandfather, there were many times I felt like throwing the book across the room, because of the repetitive writing, and preaching and harping the same thing over and over...we get it already! And zombies really??? Seriously really? Sorry to say this will be my last Terry Goodkind book, I would rather just enjoy my memories of the epic fantasy of the orginal series, then to see the series hacked to shreds. As the books The Omen Machine, The First Confessor and now The Third Kingdom have been so far below the others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the stories of richard and kahlan but this was disapointing. Could have been a lot better if all the repetitive details were kept to a minimum. Pretty short story line for the number of pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have really enjoyed Terry's books up to now, but I do not need the same exact point repeated for multiple pages! This book would have been a better read if its editor or author had chopped about 50 pages from the beginning and maybe as many more throughout. Tighten up the next one, please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just getting silly now. One more added to Richards Harem of girls, and to make up from the extra, he removes another male character from the series. I seriously don't know why I continue to read his books, maybe I'm hoping for how it used to be. Where he didn't talk about how evil people take away a persons freedoms at least once every paragraph.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It kept me at the edge of my seat and was very fast paced.  However saying that I feel there could have been so much more added, especially if Goodkind would have  deleted his repeat paragraphs. At times literally the very next paragraph said just about the exact same thing. The writing was definitely not as in depth as it used to be in the Sword of Truth series, but I just think that with  the new series he just decided a different style fit better. The end was where most of the action happened and  really made up for the slower start. After I finished this book I was really surprised by how much I liked it especially  with my favorite character, Kahlan, missing from the majority of the book. I was upset though that Goodkind,like  he usually does, put Kahlan in the background or makes her as the damsel in distress whenever her and  Richard are together. All in all I did enjoy the book and it made for a good read, I will definitely pick up the next one. P.s this is basically a sequel to The First Confessor, if would not have read that one first I would probably find  this book out of left field and definitely random from the sword of truth series. I suggest people read that one  before they pick up this novel.
Tompipoots More than 1 year ago
Poor work from a great author, I was very disappointed and board. Very little "meat" in this one. Terry has created spectacular characters but chose to use only part of just one, Richard.
JulieVirginia More than 1 year ago
I usually don't write reviews but this book was not good. I truly don't think mr. Goodkind even wrote the book.   Like a professor that let's a TA teach class this book feels like it's written by a prodigy/wanna-be!  If for some strange reason it was Mr Goodkind it could only be that the publisher was harrassing him so he gave them his outline. My hope is that this was a short story that will lead the way into the next adventure of Richard et al.  Please don't release the next book until it is of the quality and quantity we expect!?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another incredible story from a truly gifted author!  I can't wait for the follow-up.  The Sword of Truth series is simply the best story I've ever read; and I've read a lot!  Thanks again Terry for continuing the story and allowing us to share in your world!
Tinkerer More than 1 year ago
I am a big Terry Goodkind fan, so I'm probably biased, but this book was a great read! Great plot, and plot twists, story flow and pulling all of the elements together from the previous book. I'm looking forward to the next one!
AnitaLewis57 More than 1 year ago
With or without his gift Richard is a power to be reckoned with. Knowing full well how dire the situation is he still presses on to do what he must do, what only he can do, to save as many as possible. New characters bring excitement, terror and heart stopping thrills to this latest chapter in the saga of Richard and Kahlan. I found myself actually holding my breath more than once. Fear of what was coming only to be shocked that it was worse than I had imagined or relieved that it was not, kept me on the edge of my seat. Mr. Goodkind has surpassed himself this time. I have read all of his books, several times, and am in awe of his ability to draw us in, to invest ourselves in the world he has created. I will be reading The Third Kingdom again, soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terry's books are amazing and I'm very excited to read his next one. They make your blood boil,your mind think and your heart ache for more. His story telling is like weaving words into our minds.. we hang on every word. I'm excited for each book and future books to come!
Dazzlet 8 days ago
Reading and rereading the whole previous series story again and again, mixed in with a sadistic and weak storyline made this and the next book, Severed Souls, boring. I found myself skimming several paragraphs and turning pages to see if there was anything new or of value to read. Not much. I bought both books thinking I’d appreciate them as much as the first, Confessor, or the original series. Like I said in the title, fail. Mr. Goodyear, please go get inspired somewhere to either create a brand new series or take them to a new and interesting story. It’s tough I know especially given that they already saved the world but to go where you went in these two books? Not your best.
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mosesA More than 1 year ago
pretty disappointed with the book