Richard Cyper rescues Kahlan, a mysterious confessor from the Midlands sent to give the Book of Counted Shadows to the one true seeker. Zed, an old man who lives nearby, tells Richard that he is this seeker and gives him the Sword of Truth.
With Kahlan and Zed's assistance, Richard sets out to avenge his father's death. But with their way across the boundary gone they may have no way of returning to the Midlands even if they retrieve the Book of Counted Shadows.
With a price on Richard's head, the trio find themselves avoiding assassins who've managed to get maps showing Richard's location. Richard tries to aid a woman in freeing her brother from a monster but things are not as they seem.
Richard and Kahlan try to keep a boy with the power to read minds out of Darken Rahl's hands. The task becomes difficult however due to the boy's ability to read their secrets, including how they feel about each other.
Richard, Kahlan and Zed journey to Drundril in an effort to retrieve their stolen horses. But once there their efforts to stop the selling of magical potions to villagers leads to Zed's capture by a former student of his.
To avert Richard's death at the hands of General Demmin Nass, the powerful Witch Woman Shota causes him to switch bodies with a villager, Gryff, leaving Richard to be married to Gryff's fiancé and the Gryff to stop Demmin Nass.