Blood of the Fold

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Macmillan, Oct 15, 1996 - Fiction - 464 pages
66 Reviews
When Richard Cypher's odyssey began nobody could have imagined where his adventure would lead. Overcoming personal tragedy and becoming the Seeker, wielder of the magical Sword of Truth, Richard defeated the megalomaniacal wizard Darken Rahl and fell in love with Kahlan Amnell, who, as the Mother Confessor, wields considerable magic in her own right and presides over the Midlands, dealing justice in disputes both large and small throughout her land. The Blood of the Fold, a group of fanatical anti-magic zealots, have joined the forces thwarted by Richard and Kahlan. They are the unwitting pawns of a sorcerous evil from the Old World, a realm that has been magically sealed for thousands of years. Richard, Kahlan, and their allies now face the combined might of two worlds - the old and the new. This stunning confrontation threatens an armageddon of unimaginable proportions unless Richard and Kahlan can believe in the power of their love and their faith in the Truth.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Michael_Rose - LibraryThing

This series was introduced to me by a then girlfriend (my first serious one). My review applies to all of his books that I've read. His stories are engaging enough, so that's not an issue. They are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AshleyMiller - LibraryThing

After reading the previous Sword of Truth book, I had to start the next one right away. Blood of the Fold is not a bad book, but its not the best either. It is a filler with its own plot, climax, and ... Read full review

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About the author (1996)

CHAPTER 1


At the exact same instant, the six women suddenly awoke, the lingering sound of their screams echoing around the cramped officer''s cabin. In the darkness, Sister Ulicia could hear the others gasping to catch their breath. She swallowed, trying to slow her own panting, and immediately winced at the raw pain in her throat. She could feel wetness on her eyelids, but her lips were so dry she had to lick them, for fear they would crack and bleed.
Someone was banging on the door. She was aware of his shouts only as a dull drone in her head. She didn''t bother trying to focus on the words or their meaning; the man was inconsequential.
Lifting a trembling hand toward the center of the coal black quarters, she released a flow of her Han, the essence of life and spirit, directing a point of heat into the oil lamp she knew to be hanging on the low beam. Its wick obediently sprang to flame, releasing a sinuous line of soot that traced the lamp''s slow, to-and-fro sway as the ship rolled in the sea.
The other women, all of them naked, as was she, were sitting up as well, their eyes fixed on the feeble, yellow glow, as if seeking from it salvation, or perhaps reassurance that they were still alive and there was light to be seen. A tear rolled down Ulicia''s cheek, too, at the sight of the flame. The blackness had been suffocating, like a great weight of damp, black earth shoveled over her.
Her bedding was sodden and cold with sweat, but even without the sweat, everything was always wet in the salt air, to say nothing of the spray that sporadically drenched the deck and trickled into everything below. She couldn''t remember what it was like to feel dry clothes or bedding against her. She hated this ship, its interminable damp, its foul smells, and the constant rolling and pitching that turned her stomach. At least she was alive to hate the ship. Gingerly, she swallowed back the taste of bile.
Ulicia wiped her fingers at the warm wetness over her eyes and held out her h∧ her fingertips glistened with blood. As if emboldened by her example, some of the others cautiously did the same. Each of them had bloody scratches on their eyelids, eyebrows, and cheeks from trying desperately, but futilely, to claw their eyes open, to wake themselves from the snare of sleep, in a vain attempt to escape the dream that was not a dream.
Ulicia struggled to clear the fog from her mind. It must have been a simple nightmare.
She forced herself to look away from the flame, at the other women. Sister Tovi hunched in a lower bunk opposite, the thick rolls of flesh at her sides seeming to sag in sympathy with the morose expression on her wrinkled face as she watched the lamp. Sister Cecilia''s habitually tidy, curly gray hair stood out in disarray, her incessant smile replaced by an ashen mask of fear as she stared up from the lower bunk next to Tovi. Leaning forward a bit, Ulicia glanced at the bunk above. Sister Armina, not nearly as old as Tovi or Cecilia, but closer to Ulicia''s age and still attractive, appeared haggard. With shaking fingers, the usually staid Armina wiped the blood from her eyelids.
Across the confining walkway, in the bunks above Tovi and Cecilia, sat the two youngest and most self-possessed Sisters. Ragged scratches marred the flawless skin of Sister Nicci''s cheeks. Strands of her blond hair stuck to the tears, sweat, and blood on her face. Sister Merissa, equally beautiful, clutched a blanket to her naked breast, not in modesty, but in shuddering dread. Her long, dark hair was a tangled mat.
The others were older, and adeptly wielded power tempered in the forge of experience, but both Nicci and Merissa were possessed of rare, innate, dark talents--a deft touch that no amount of experience could invoke. Astute beyond their years, neither was beguiled by Cecilia or Tovi''s kindly smiles or gentle affectations. Though young and self-assured, they both knew that Cecilia, Tovi, Armina, and especially Ulicia herself were capable of taking them both apart, piece by piece, if they so chose. Still, that did not diminish their mastery; in their own right, they were two of the most formidable women ever to have drawn breath. But it was for their singular resolve to prevail that the Keeper had selected them.
Seeing these women she knew so well in such a state was unnerving, but it was the sight of Merissa''s unbridled terror that really shook Ulicia. She had never known a Sister as composed, as unemotional, as implacable, as merciless, as Merissa. Sister Merissa had a heart of black ice.
Ulicia had known Merissa for close to 170 years, and in all that time she could not recall having ever seen her cry. She was sobbing now.
Sister Ulicia was first horrified and then disgusted to see the others in a condition of such abject weakness, but then her revulsion turned to silent satisfaction; in fact it pleased her; she drew strength from the sight. She was their leader, and stronger than they.
The man was still banging at the door, wanting to know what the trouble was, what the screaming was all about. She unleashed her anger toward the door. "Leave us! If you are needed you will be summoned!"
The sailor''s muffled curses faded away as he retreated down the passageway. The only sound, other than the creak of timbers as the ship yawed when struck abeam by a heavy sea, was the sobbing.
"Stop your sniveling, Merissa," Ulicia snapped.
Merissa''s dark eyes, still glazed with fear, focused on her. "It''s never been like that before." Tovi and Cecilia nodded their agreement. "I''ve done his bidding. Why has he done this? I have not failed him."
"Had we failed him," Ulicia said, "we would be there, with Sister Liliana."
Armina started. "You saw her, too? She was--"
"I saw her," Ulicia said, masking her own horror with an even tone.
Sister Nicci drew a twisted skein of sodden blond hair back off her face. Gathering composure smoothed her voice. "Sister Liliana failed the Master."
Sister Merissa, the glaze in her eyes ebbing, flashed a look of cool disdain. "She is paying the price of failure." The crisp edge in her own tone thickened like winter''s frost on a window. "Forever." Merissa almost never let emotion touch her smooth features, but it touched her face now as her brows drew together in a murderous scowl. "She countermanded your orders, Sister Ulicia, and the Keeper''s. She ruined our plans. This is her fault."
Liliana had indeed failed the Keeper. They wouldn''t all be on this cursed ship if it weren''t for Sister Liliana. Ulicia''s face heated at the thought of that woman''s arrogance. Liliana had thought to have the glory to herself. She had gotten what she deserved. Even so, Ulicia swallowed at the memory of having seen Liliana''s torment, and didn''t even notice the pain of her raw throat this time.
"But what of us?" Cecilia asked. Her smile returned, apologetic, rather than merry. "Must we do as this...man says?"
Ulicia wiped a hand across her face. They had no time to hesitate, if this was real, if what she had seen had really happened. It must be nothing more than a simple nightmare; no one but the Keeper had ever before come to her in the dream that was not a dream. Yes, it had to be just a nightmare. Ulicia watched a roach crawl into the chamber pot. Her gaze suddenly rose.
''This man? You did not see the Keeper? You saw a man?"
Cecilia quailed. "Jagang."
Tovi raised her hand toward her lips to kiss her ring finger--an ancient gesture beseeching the Creator''s protection. It was an old habit, begun the first morning of a novice''s training. Each of them had learned to do it every morning, without fail, upon arising, and in times of tribulation. Tovi had probably done it by rote countless thousands of times, as had they all. A Sister of the Light was symbolically betrothed to the Creator, and His will. Kissing the ring finger was a ritual renewal of that betrothal.
There was no telling what the act of kissing that finger would do, now, in view of their betrayal. Superstition had it that it was death for one who had pledged her soul to the Keeper--a Sister of the Dark--to kiss that finger. While it was unclear whether it truly would invoke the Creator''s wrath, there was no doubt it would invoke the Keeper''s. When her hand was halfway to her lips, Tovi realized what she was about to do and snatched it away.
"You all saw Jagang?" Ulicia regarded each in turn, and each nodded. A small flame of hope still flickered in her. "So you saw the emperor. That means nothing." She leaned toward Tovi. "Did you hear him say anything?"
Tovi drew the coverlet up to her chin. "We were all there, as we always are when the Keeper seeks us. We sat in the semicircle, naked, as we always do. But it was Jagang who came, not the Master."
A soft sob came from Armina in the bunk above. "Silence!" Ulicia returned her attention to the shivering Tovi. "But what did he say? What were his words?"
Tovi''s gaze sought the floor. "He said our souls were his now. He said we were his now, and we lived only at his whim. He said we must come to him at once, or we would envy Sister Liliana''s fate." She looked up, into Ulicia''s eyes. "He said we would regret it if we made him wait." Tears flooded her eyes. "And then he gave me a taste of what it would mean to displease him."
Ulicia''s flesh had gone cold, and she realized that she, too, had drawn her sheet up. She pushed it back into her lap with an effort. "Armina?" Soft confirmation came from above. "Cecilia?" Cecilia nodded. Ulicia looked to the two in the upper bunk opposite. The composure they had worked so hard to bring back seemed to have settled in. "Well? Did you two hear the same words?"
"Yes," Nicci said.
"The exact same," Merissa said witho