Wizards First Rule is the first book in the Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind. If you're looking for a great fantasy series to sink your teeth into, this is it.
The story follows Richard Cypher as he learns that he is more than just a simple woods guide but rather a powerful magician. As all good books do, this one starts off with a bang. Richard is foraging through the forest for a certain plant when he is bitten by it. Unaware of how dangerous the bit is, he stumbles into an ambush of a beautiful woman who is being hunted by quads, death squads. He manages to help the beautiful woman escape from the assasins and then learns that she has come to find and protect him. Her name is Kahlan and she is the last of the Confessors, a group of magical women who seek to uphold the law. A Confessors touch can destory the mind, and force the victim to tell the truth.
Together, they embark on a mission to cross a barrier that separates the Westland (where Richard grew up) from the mainland or D'Hara.
The story is riveting and what I like about Goodkind's storytelling is that he doesn't hold back. There is gore, and savagery, as their should be in a magical, middle age style world. There is also beauty, love, and sex. This is not your father's Lord of the Rings. The scenes where Richard is being tortured by Denna, a Mord Sith are particularly gruesome and riveting. Goodkind does an excellent job of controlling the violence and making it suit the arc of the storyline and the development of the characters.
All in all, a great read. I've already read the next three books in the series and will begin the fifth one, Soul of the Fire shortly.