The magical boundaries between the three lands of forest guide Richard Cypher's world are crumbling: Strange beasts from the Midlands, where magic still exists, appear in his Westland forest. And so does Kahlan Amnell, a young woman with some interesting powers and four assassins on her trail. She is in search of the great wizard who left the Midlands not long after he set the boundaries. He is the only one who can possibly thwart Darken Rahl, an evil wizard who has set in motion a process that will result in the enslavement of the three lands. When Richard's eccentric friend and mentor, Zedd, is sought out for advice about finding the great wizard, Kahlan identifies Zedd as the object of her search. The process that Darken Rahl has initiated requires him to obtain the three boxes of Orden, and, within one year, to open the proper box. As time grows short, Richard, Kahlan, Zedd, and a border guard, Chase, go in quest of the one box that the evil wizard still lacks. Among the truths that Richard learns along the way is the wisdom of the Wizard's First Rule: People are stupid and will believe almost anything. A wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring epic fantasy debut.