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Bearers of the Black Staff (Legends of Shannara)by Terry Brooks
I've loved Terry Brooks's books for well over 15 years, and he always brings me back for more. In his quick and exciting new novel, Bearers of the Black Staff, we're back to the world of the Knights of the Word and Shannara. Five hundred years after the events of The Gypsy Morph, the protective barrier Hawk created to protect the last of humanity is failing, and the things that survived the great demon wars are starting to get in. You should probably read the Genesis of Shannara series before this, but it might also make a great introduction to the world of Shannara. One of these days, I'm going to read all of the books chronologically, from Running with the Demon through the High Druid series.
Synopses & Reviews
For more than three decades, New York Times-bestselling author Terry Brooks has ruled the epic fantasy realm with his legendary Shannara series. With each new novel the mythos has deepened, ever more fascinating characters have arisen, and increasingly breathtaking vistas of magical adventure have emerged. Now the evolution of one of imaginative fiction's most beloved worlds continues in the first book of the new series Legends of Shannara: Bearers of the Black Staff.
Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war that tore apart the United States, leaving nothing but scorched and poisoned ruins, and nearly exterminating humankind. Those who escaped the carnage and blight were led to sanctuary by the boy savior known as the Hawk — the gypsy morph. In an idyllic valley, its borders warded by powerful magic against the horrors beyond, humans, elves, and mutants alike found a place they believed would be their home forever.
But after five centuries, the unimaginable has come to pass: The cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has vanished. When Sider Ament, the only surviving descendant of the Knights of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, he fears the worst. And when Panterra Qu and Prue Liss, expert Trackers from the human village of Glensk Wood, find two of their own gruesomely killed, there can be no doubt: The once-safe haven of generations has been laid bare and made vulnerable to whatever still lurks in the wasteland of the outside world.
Together, Ament, the two young Trackers, and a daring Elf princess race to spread word of the encroaching danger — and spearhead plans to defend their ancestral home. But suspicion and hostility among their countrymen threaten to doom their efforts from within — while beyond the breached borders, a ruthless Troll army masses for invasion. And in the thick of it all, the last wielder of the black staff and its awesome magic must find a successor to carry on the fight against the cresting new wave of evil.
"The horrors of a war-ravaged world again invade a hard-won peace in Brooks's intense follow-up to 2008's The Gypsy Morph. Five hundred years have passed since Hawk led a tattered band of survivors into a valley protected by a magical barrier. Now the wall has been breached by demons. The last known Knight of the Word, Sider Ament, wields a powerful black staff that he hopes to pass to a new leader. After rescuing talented teen Trackers Panterra Qu and Prue Liss, Sider asks them to warn the Children of Hawk. Unfortunately, their council leaders don't share Sider's certainty of an impending invasion. While Sider explores the other side of the barrier, the young Trackers find help from Arborlon Elves in this superlative Tolkien-style fantasy tweaked with a contemporary vibe. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"[The story] moves along nicely, the battle scenes are expertly handled and the ending will make readers look forward to the second book in the series....A highly approachable continuation of the Shannara saga." Kirkus Reviews
"The author's success needs no measuring anymore — it is enormous, thanks to a growing gift for characterization, pacing, and world building, not to mention magic that may not be supremely original in conception but manages to be increasingly enthralling to literally millions of readers over what is approaching two generations." Booklist
"A skilled storyteller and character builder, Brooks demonstrates an ability to bring together ancient magic and postmodern characters in a new look at his fantasy universe....The author's fans should relish the coming together of two series into one dynamic whole." Library Journal
"Terry Brooks displays the sure hand of a master. Bearers of the Black Staff is filled with iconic characters and heroes not diminished but made human by their flaws. A finely-wrought tale of sacrifice, adventure, betrayal, magic, loss, and a world on the precipice." Brent Weeks, author of The Way of Shadows
The survivors of the Great Wars that devastated the world must now face unimaginable challenges in this first of two novels by New York Times-bestselling author Brooks, set in the prehistory of Shannara.
Co-existing peacefully for 500 years after creating their magically protected valley, the surviving members of four non-demon races from the Genesis of Shannara trilogy band together against frightening creatures that are penetrating the shield around their home.
BLACK ICE COATED EARTH FROZEN HARD BY NIGHT temperatures that had dropped below freezing, a thin skein of slickness that challenged the grip of his toughened- rawhide boot soles. Yet the Gray Man stepped with grace and ease across the treacherous smoothness, not oblivious to the danger so much as accustomed to it. He passed through the woods along the snow line close by the valley's rim, only slightly less transparent than the wraiths to which he was so often compared. Amid the dark of the trunks and limbs and the deep green of the conifer needles, he was another of night's shadows. Until you got close enough to realize he wasn't a figment of the imagination, but as substantial as the rumors that tracked him in whispers and long silences, and then he was something much more.
Through the night's slow retreat he passed, watching daybreak lighten the sky above the eastern rim of the valley, so far away it was little more than a hazy glow. He had been walking for several hours, his sleep ended early. Each day found him someplace else, and even though he followed the same route over and over, tracking the rim of the valley from mountain peak to barren ridge to escarpment and back again, he was never bothered by time or speed; only with order. It was given to him to navigate the heights from one mountain pass to another, one valley's passage to the next, always in search of an opening that led out--or in. The mists that had sealed the valley since the time of the Hawk had not yet receded, but that would change and it would do so in his lifetime.
His dreams had told him so.
The wall that kept the survivors of the Great Wars safely sealed in, and the things that roamed the world beyond locked out, would not hold forever, although there were many who thought differently. The wall was a conjuration of power unlike any he could imagine, although he wielded considerable power of his own. But nothing was permanent; all things must change. And no matter the beliefs of some and the wishes of others, life had a way of surprising you.
A hawk screamed from somewhere high above, soaring across the snowfields and rocky promontories, and something in the sound of that cry reminded the Gray Man that time slipped away and the past was catching up.
He quickened his pace, moving silently through the deep woods, his tattered robes trailing from his lean form. He did not stride through the trees so much as flow, a spectral creature formed of bits and pieces of color and smoke, of aether and light. He touched things as he went, small brushings and tiny rubs of fingertips, nothing more, reading from each something of the world about him. He sniffed the air and studied the look of the tiny ends of branches. Everything spoke to him. A Koden had passed here. There was fresh springwater not far away over there. Fledgling ravens had departed the nest last summer and flown off to breed families of their own. A family of black squirrels lived within that stand of blue spruce, perhaps watching him as he passed. It was all there for those who might read it, but he was one of only a handful wh
About the Author
Terry Brooks is the New York Times-bestselling author of more than 25 books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels, Armageddon's Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars®: Episode I The Phantom Menace. His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.
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