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Naked Empire

Naked Empire is the eighth book of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, returning to Emperor Richard and Empress Kahlan as protagonists unlike its predecessor, The Pillars of Creation. The two are joined by their new companions, Tom, Richard's half-sister Jennsen, and her goat Betty. The book opens with races, sort of like birds, chasing after the company for some reason, after which Richard finds himself blackmailed into helping the titular naked empire, Bandakar, currently under the rule of a Quisling wizard named Nicholas, a sympathizer for the Imperial Order. Apparently a resident of Bandakar poisoned Richard, with the antidote found in the Empire, and the doses being located in different parts, and Richard and company thus needing to hunt them down before it's too late.

All in all, I thought it was an excellent book, even if it could've easily been half as long and Goodkind commits the usual sin of misused punctuation. I really liked the political themes, how the book explored the dangers of pacifism and nonviolence (and Richard finds himself in conflict with antiwar protesters towards the end), how there's no shame in standing up and fighting back against your enemy instead of giving in to them. Highly recommended.
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The Pillars of Creation

This evening I finished reading The Pillars of Creation, the seventh book in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. It's more of a gaiden than its predecessors, largely focusing on a different cast of characters instead of Emperor Richard and Empress Kahlan, who don't play part until late in the novel. Anyways, one of the main protagonists is Jennsen, a girl seeking to avenge the death of her mother, who apparently died at the hands of the D'Haran Empire, by killing Emperor Richard, the supposed mastermind of her murder. To a lesser extent the book follows another man, Oba, with both Jennsen and Oba hearing mysterious voices calling out to them, and eventually discovering their true lineage. Towards the end of the book a major battle occurs between the Imperial Order and D'Hara at the city of Aydindril, with the Imperial Order wishing to bring an inquisition to the New World by burying witches and warlocks in the sky, which is to say, burning them at the stake. The novel ends with a showdown at the titular Pillars of Creation.

All in all, I thought it was a decent continuation of the series that kept fresh by focusing on a new cast of characters, although Faith of the Fallen, its immediate predecessor, is still perhaps my favorite book of the series thus far.
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