I agree with the reviewer who called this book thin--both in length and plot (and really theme.) It's 119 pages and apparently the story first appeared as just one of three stories in the anthology Legends, so if you're going to insist on getting it, I suggest you seek out that book, which also included a novella by GRR Martin in his Song of Fire and Ice series and a novella by Anne McCaffrey in her Pern series. I don't think this adds much to the mythos of the Sword of Truth series. And as for a backstory for Zedd, I agree with the reviewers who say he's pretty unrecognizable here from the character I loved in the series. By the time Goodkind had published this prequel, the way he inserted his morality and politics, derived from Ayn Rand, into his books had become nigh unbearable. And I say that as someone who is more sympathetic than not to the philosophy. But when Goodkind through Zedd speaks dismissively to a young mother trying to save her child that he has no sympathy for her--that children's lives don't matter more than adults, well, I felt cold, cold, cold. And mind you, this is the reaction of a reviewer who rated the first book in the series, Wizard's First Rule, five stars.