February 23, 2011

Antrax by Terry Brooks

Title:  Antrax
Author:  Terry Brooks
Format:  PB
Pages:  404
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Del Rey, 2002
ISBN-13:  978-0345397676
Series:  Shannara, Book 13

Favorite Quote:  Grianne Ohmsford was six years old on the last day of her childhood.

Synopsis (Amazon):  Now in Antrax, as the crew aboard the airship Jerle Shannara is attacked by evil forces, the Druid’s protégé Bek Rowe and his companions are pursued by the mysterious Ilse Witch. Meanwhile, Boh is alone, caught in a dark maze beneath the ruined city of Castledown, stalked by a hungry, unseen enemy.

For there is something alive in Castledown. Something not human. Something old beyond reckoning that covets the magic of Druids, elves, even the Ilse Witch. Something that hunts men for its own designs: Antrax. It is a spirit that commands ancient technologies and mechanical monsters, feeds off enchantment, and traps the souls of men.

With the Jerle Shannara under siege and Antrax threatening the bold and unwary, the Ilse Witch finds herself face-to-face with a boy who claims to be the brother she last saw as an infant. Now a young man, Bek wields the magic of the wishsong and carries the Sword of Shannara upon his back. Unsure whether to trust Bek or to slay him, the Ilse Witch takes him prisoner. One has come pursuing truth, the other revenge. Yet both seek Walker Boh–with the fate of the Four Lands hanging in the balance.

Review:  How is it that, in this series, it's always one book out of each trilogy that just is so much better than the rest?  This book is great, much better than the last one.  It's stories like this one that keep me reading this series, even in the face of mediocre books.  I hope the final book of this trilogy does this one justice.  Finally, I met some really new and exciting characters:  the half-shape-shifter, half-human Truls Rohk; Ahren, the younger brother of the Elf King; the Ilse Witch, Grianne.

Castledown is obviously some kind of governmental or military installation, where the people of our time tried to keep the knowledge of our species safe.  Unfortunately, after so many thousands of years, the computer security system, Antrax, has gone quite insane.  And he makes for a great bad guy.  It's an old theme, but told in an entirely new way.

The moment that shocked me most and made me sadder than I expected was the loss of the Druid, Walker.  As much as I've complained about the reappearance of druids, I'm hoping this one will reappear.  If the next book is even close to being this good, my plans to take a break from this series may be up for reevaluation.

Rating:  5 / 5

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