This sequel to the fantasy Wizard's First Rule (1994) is, likewise, self-contained; Goodkind, however, refers constantly to characters and events of the 576-page previous volume, and offers no recap for newcomers. Reluctant wizard Richard, wielder of the Sword of Truth, discovers that the evil Darken Rahl (whom he slew) was his father, and that the good wizard Zedd is his grandfather. But the veil between the world and the underworld, weakened when Darken Rahl opened the box of Orden that killed him, is now so torn that the dread Keeper may soon be able to emerge; indeed, in an attempt to assess the problem, Richard inadvertently releases Darken Rahl's glowing specter. Still striving to reject the magic he has inherited, cajoled by the Sister of the Light (they want to teach him to control his magic, but the process will take years), betrayed by the malevolent Sisters of the Dark (they have infiltrated and subverted the Light), and all but incapacitated by mind-bursting headaches (caused by the uncontrolled magic), Richard is told of a prophecy to the effect that he will succeed in repairing the veil--but the price will be the death of his beloved Kahlen. So, eclectic readers will find this one strongly reminiscent of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga, for its labyrinthine complications and lack of control thereof; and the suffering hero invites comparison with Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant. Often absorbing, despite two major weaknesses--indistinguishable characters, and a plot heavily dependent on coincidence and wish-fulfillment. Still, the fans will dutifully reassemble for another immersion.