Naked Empire by Terry Goodkind is the eighth book in the Sword of Truth series. It was first released in July 2003, and followed in paperback in June 2004. It follows Pillars of Creation and is followed by Chainfire.
The novel begins with a moderately long section detailing the travels of the main characters as they move through the Old World in order to accomplish temporary goals. Their travels are interrupted by the entrances of Nicholas, who is a Slide (a wizard that is capable of soul stealing and using souls to project himself into animals). This situation is further complicated by Owen, a man from Bandakar. He poisons Richard in order to force him to help the Bandakar Empire shed the yoke of the Imperial Order.
Much of the novel focuses around Richard's interactions with the Bandakar people. The people of Bandakar are all pristinely ungifted like Richard's half-sister Jennsen. They are descendants of the house of Rahl banished into the Old World thousands of years before. These people were then again banished by the people of the Old World, particularly a wizard, Kaja-Rang, who bound them behind a boundary that would force any that leave to walk straight to the Pillars of Creation. This was done not because the people were pristinely ungifted, but because they "could not see evil" or, rather because they strongly embraced a philosophy which required them to disbelieve reality. They shunned all forms of violence, and judgment. They laid their lives down before any aggressor. This is why they were banished, because their ideas threatened the existence of the Old World.
Richard managed to convince several of the Bandakar to shed their ideals and embrace the individualist ideas espoused by Richard and his D'Haran Empire. This allowed the Bandakar to take up arms and fight for their own freedom. However, throughout the entire ordeal Richard was reeling not only from the poison the Bandakaran gave him, but also his gift being out of balance.
Nathan and Ann came to the Bandakar Empire in order to bring Richard "back into prophecy" during which time they saved Richard and his companions from certain death, but were ultimately unable to aid him in restoring his gift to balance.
Eventually Richard discovered that since he rationalized that not eating meat balanced out his need to kill people he was in effect not putting his faith in himself or his abilities. This ultimately caused not only the gift within himself to twist and fail, but also the magic of the Sword of Truth to fail. After this revelation he once again began to eat meat, because he realized that his actions were justified in themselves and required no additional balancing. Richard also discovered that Nicholas the Slide had been looking through the eyes of betty the goat, which was how he was always one step ahead of Richard and his friends. This was also Nicholas's folly, as Richard used this to his advantage and killed Nicholas while he was out his body, based on a tip from Nathan.
After Richard had once again set himself in order, he and the Bandakar people destroyed the remaining Imperial Order encampment in Bandakar, resulting in the death of Nicholas and the rescue of Kahlan. But Richard still needed to cure the poison. Since the remedy was destroyed by Nicholas, he used his gift to piece together the what and how of creating the antidote himself.
During the course of these actions, Zedd and Adie were captured as the Wizard's Keep was taken by men captured from Bandakar and forced to do the work of the Imperial Order. They were forced to identify random objects from within the keep for a Sister of the Dark or they would be forced to listen to the screams of children being tortured while their parents begged them to give up the information.
As a result of this identification process, Zedd was able to unleash a constructed spell, called a Sunset Spell, within an object that killed several men in the camp along with all the other artifacts. Zedd and Adie would have been destroyed as well, but they were saved by Captain Zimmer and some of his men, as well as Chase and Rachel. Adie went with Zimmer and his men to free the families being used for torture, while Zedd and Chase went back to reclaim the Keep.
- Main Article: Wizard's Rules
Naked Empire has a total of 67 chapters.
Here is a list of all the characters who appear in Naked Empire:
- Annalina Aldurren
- Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell
- Anson (First appearance)
- Chase Brandstone
- Bernie (First appearance)
- Friedrich Gilder
- Emperor Jagang
- Commander Luchan (First appearance)
- Marilee (First appearance)
- General Benjamin Meiffert
- Najari (First appearance)
- Nicholas the Slide (First appearance)
- Owen (First appearance)
- Jennsen Rahl
- Prophet Nathan Rahl
- Lord Richard Rahl
- Prelate Verna Sauventreen
- Sister Tahirah (First appearance)
- General Trimack
- Captain Zimmer
- First Wizard Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander
To Tom Doherty, always a champion in the struggle of good against evil
- 2004 - Prometheus Award - 4th place
Facts & trivia
- The title of this book refers to the breaching of the seal that protected the Empire of Bandakar from the outside world, and protected the outside world from the Empire.