Richard, Lord Rahl, ruler of D'Hara, seeker and bearer of the Sword of Truth, is sorely wounded in battle. Healed by the sorceress Nicci, he regains consciousness only to discover his wife, Kahlan, is missing-and no one believes she exists. Meanwhile, the armies of Emperor Jagang, leader of the brutal Imperial Order, threaten D'Hara. Distracted by Kahlan's disappearance, Richard refuses to lead troops against Jagang's forces, insisting his people must stand up for themselves. Bargaining with the witch woman Shota, he trades the Sword of Truth for information on Kahlan and learns of "chainfire," hidden in "the place of the bones in the Deep Nothing." Journeying there, Richard discovers chainfire is a spell capable of unraveling existence. Meanwhile, the Sisters of the Dark have stolen two of the three boxes of Orden, seeking to call the Keeper of the Dead to life.