February 10, 2011

First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Title:  First King of Shannara
Author:  Terry Brooks
Format:  HC
Pages:  488
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Del Rey, 1996
ISBN-13:  978-0345396525
Series:  Shannara, Book 8

Favorite Quote:  The boy looked at him, his dark eyes intense.  "I understand."  He paused, the light changing in his eyes.  "I will miss you, Father."

Synopsis (Amazon):  Horrified by the misuse of magic they had witnessed during the First War of the Races, the Druids at Paranor devoted themselves to the study of the old sciences, from the period before the collapse of civilization a thousand years before. Only the Bremen and a few trusted associates still studied the arcane arts. And for his persistence, Bremen found himself outcast, avoided by all but the few free-thinkers among the Druids.

But his removal from Paranor was not altogether a terrible thing, for Bremen learned that dark forces were on the move from the Northlands. That seemingly invincible armies of trolls were fast conquering all that lay to their south. That the scouts for the army--and its principal assassins--were Skull Bearers, disfigured and transformed Druids who had fallen prey to the seductions of the magic arts. And that at the heart of the evil tide was an archmage and former Druid named Brona!

Using the special skills he had acquired through his own study of Magic, Bremen was able to penetrate the huge camp of the Troll army and learn many of its secrets. And he immediately understood that if the peoples of the Four Lands were to escape eternal subjugation they would need to unite. But, even united, they would need a weapon, something so powerful that the evil magic of Brona, the Warlock Lord, would fail before its might...

Review:  I was pleasantly surprised by this novel.  It is a prequel to the other novels in this series that I've already read, so I went into it expecting not to like the time-frame change.  However, learning the past of Allanon, more about the Druid Council, and particularly the forming of the Sword of Shannara were all topics that grabbed my interest.  The story had a great many good characters and a reliably intriguing mix of action and emotion.  While not the best of his novels, this is certainly one of the good ones.

Rating:  4 / 5 

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