Kahlan Amnell, pursued by soldiers of Darken Rahl, the tyrant who wants to rule the Midlands, flees that province and uses magic to cross the Boundary into Westland. Richard Cypher, a simple Westland woodsman, helps her escape them. Ranssyn Fane, commander of the soldiers, survives his confrontation with Kahlan and Richard and continues to pursue them. Returning home, Richard is sent by his father, George, to find an old man named Zedd.
Richard learns that Zedd is really a powerful wizard from the Midlands, and Kahlan is a Confessor, a woman with the power to make someone tell the truth. Zedd reveals that Richard is the Seeker, the person destined to defeat Darken Rahl. Zedd hands Richard a magical weapon, the Sword of Truth. And Kahlan gives Richard the object of Fane's pursuit, the Book of Counted Shadows, which contains the secrets Rahl needs to capture ultimate power.
In disbelief, Richard returns to his father, only to find that Fane has mortally wounded him. With his last breath, George reveals that what Zedd says is true. Richard confronts Fane, wanting vengeance. But Fane escapes with the coveted Book. Knowing he must stop Fane, Richard accepts his destiny as the Seeker and begins his training under Zedd.
Rahl orders his forces in the Midlands to take down the Boundary into Westland and kill Richard, while Fane tries to return to Rahl with the Book. Just as Rahl's forces come through the Boundary, Richard catches up to Fane and retrieves the Book. Surrounded, Richard calls upon the newfound power of the Seeker and defeats the attacking troops. The Boundary now open, Richard, Kahlan and Zedd head into the Midlands to begin their dangerous quest to find and defeat Darken Rahl.