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The Elfstones of Shannara (Shannara Series #2)

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Overview

In the far future, unbeknown to humankind, an apocalyptic war is brewing. Fearsome, vengeful Demons rage at the boundaries of the world, held at bay by a spell called the Forbidding. But now that barrier is dying. Evil is beginning to break through. And only the Chosen can banish the Demons back to their realm.
 
Wil Ohmsford is a healer, not a fighter; a man of duty, not great deeds. But this epic battle seeks him out, for he holds the ...

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The Elfstones of Shannara (Shannara Series #2)

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Overview

In the far future, unbeknown to humankind, an apocalyptic war is brewing. Fearsome, vengeful Demons rage at the boundaries of the world, held at bay by a spell called the Forbidding. But now that barrier is dying. Evil is beginning to break through. And only the Chosen can banish the Demons back to their realm.
 
Wil Ohmsford is a healer, not a fighter; a man of duty, not great deeds. But this epic battle seeks him out, for he holds the Elfstones: mysterious protective talismans passed down by his grandfather. Wil is recruited to act as guardian to the Elf girl Amberle, who must venture far to deliver a seed that will help the Forbidding to grow again. The fate of civilization rests upon her shoulders—and the completion of her mission rests upon Wil’s. Now, as the forces of darkness descend, Wil and Amberle embark on a perilous journey, placing their faith in each other to survive the bloodthirsty terrors that await.
 
Praise for Terry Brooks
 
“Shannara was one of my favorite fictional worlds growing up, and I look forward to many return trips.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
 
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.”—Peter V. Brett, author of The Skull Throne
 
“A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters.”—Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon

Ancient Evil threatens the Elves. Allanon, legendary guardian of Earth, summons Wil Ohmsford to guard the Elven girl Amberle on a perilous quest as she carries a seed from the Ellcrys to the mysterious Bloodfire. Behind them is the Reaper, the most fearsome of all Demons. Wil has only the Elfstones of Shannara--and he has lost control of them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Terry Brooks
 
“Shannara was one of my favorite fictional worlds growing up, and I look forward to many return trips.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
 
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.”—Peter V. Brett, author of The Skull Throne
 
“A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters.”—Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345285546
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1983
  • Series: Shannara Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 54,644
  • Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

Biography

"I found my way to fantasy/adventure. When I got there, I knew I'd found a home," said Terence Dean Brooks, creator of the blockbuster, New York Times bestselling Shannara, Landover, and Word & Void series. Not only is Brooks at home in the highly competitive realm of fantasy literature, many would call him the genre’s modern-day patriarch – Tolkien’s successor. While that title is debatable, Brooks is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most prolific and successful authors of otherworld (and our world) fantasy. Few writers in any genre can boast a more entertaining collection of work – and a more ravenous and loyal fan base -- than can Terry Brooks.

The most rewarding aspect to writing for Brooks is “when someone who never read a book reads [one of mine] and says that the experience changed everything and got them reading.” Because of his very engaging, quick-flowing writing style, countless numbers of young people have been introduced to the wonderful world of reading through Brooks’s adventures. The miraculous thing, however, is that these same fans – whether they’re now 20, 30, or 40 years old – still devour each new release like a starving man would a steak dinner. Credit Brooks’s boundless imagination, endearing characters, fresh storylines and underlying complexities for keeping his older, more discerning audience hooked.

Brooks began writing when he was just ten years old, but he did not discover fantasy until much later. As a high school student he jumped from writing science fiction to westerns to adventure to nonfiction, unable to settle on one form. That changed when, at the age of 21, Brooks was introduced to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien provided Brooks with a forum “that would allow him to release onto paper his own ideas about life, love, and the wonder that fills his world," according to his web site.

In 1977, after six trying years, Brooks published novel his first novel, The Sword of Shannara. And quickly it gave him – and his publisher (the newly created Ballantine imprint, Del Rey) – quite a thrill; the fantasy adventure featuring the young Halfling, Shea Ohmsford; the mysterious wizard Allanon; Flick, the trusty companion; and the demonic Warlock Lord, was not only well received -- it was a smash, spending over five months on The New York Times bestseller list. In 1982 Brooks released the follow-up, The Elfstones of Shannara (which Brooks says may be his favorite), to equal success. He closed out the initial trilogy in 1985 with The Wishsong of Shannara, and has since completed two more Shannara sets, The Heritage of Shannara books and the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara books.

As fans of Brooks know, the man doesn’t like to stay put. “I lived in Illinois for the first 42 years of my life, and I told myself when I left in 1986 that I would never live any one place again,” Brooks said. He now spends his time between his homes in Seattle and Hawaii; he and his wife also spend a great deal of time on the road each year connecting with the fans. These same nomadic tendencies are also apparent in his writing. Instead of staying comfortably within his proven, bestselling Shannara series, Terry frequently takes chances, steps outside, and tries something new. His marvelous Landover and Word & Void series are the results. While both are vastly different from Shannara, they are equally compelling. Word & Void – a contemporary, dark urban fantasy series set in a fantasy-touched Illinois – is quite possibly Brooks’s most acclaimed series. The Rocky Mountain News called the series’ first two books (Running with the Demon and The Knight of the Word “two of the finest science fiction/fantasy novels of the 20th century.”

Good To Know

When The Sword of Shannara hit The New York Times bestseller list, Brooks became the first modern fantasy author to achieve that pinnacle.

The Sword of Shannara was also the first work of fiction to ever hit The New York Times trade paperback bestseller list. Thanks to a faithful and growing fan base, the books continue to reach the list.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was not Terry's first novelization. He also novelized Steven Spielberg's 1991 movie, Hook.

Brooks’s The Phantom Menace novelization is also not his only connection to George Lucas. Both The Sword of Shannara and the original Star Wars novel, A New Hope, were edited by Judy Lynn del Rey and published in the same year (1977) to blockbuster success.

The Sword of Shannara was initially turned down by DAW Books. Instead, DAW sent Terry to Lester del Rey, who recognized Terry’s blockbuster potential and bought it. And the rest, they say, is history.

Brooks’s influences include: J.R.R. Tolkien, Alexander Dumas, James Fenimore Cooper, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Mallory's Morte d'Arthur.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence Dean Brooks (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Pacific Northwest and Hawaii
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 8, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Sterling, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Hamilton College, 1966; J.D., Washington and Lee University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The night sky brightened faintly in the east with the approach of dawn as the Chosen entered the
Gardens of Life. Without, the Elven city of Arborlon lay sleeping, its people still wrapped in the warmth and solitude of their beds. But for the Chosen, the day had already begun. Their trailing white robes billowing slightly with a rush of summer wind, they passed between the sentries of the Black Watch, who stood rigid and aloof as such sentries had stood for centuries gone before the arched, wrought-iron gateway inlaid with silver scroll and ivory chips.
They passed quickly, and only their soft voices and the crunch of their sandaled feet on the gravel pathway disturbed the silence of the new day as they slipped into the pine-shadowed dark beyond.

The Chosen were the caretakers of the Ellcrys, the strange and wondrous tree that stood at the center of the Gardens—the tree, as the legends told, that served as protector against a primordial evil that had very nearly destroyed the Elves centuries ago, an evil that had been shut away from the earth since before the dawn of the old race of Men. In all the time that had followed, there had been Chosen to care for the
Ellcrys. Theirs was a tradition handed down through generations of
Elves, a tradition of service that the Elves regarded as both a coveted honor and a solemn duty.

Yet there was little evidence of solemnity in the procession that passed through the Gardens this morning. Two hundred and thirty days of the year of their service had gone by, and youthful spirits could no longer be easily subdued. The first sense of awe at the responsibility given them had long since passed, and the Chosen of the Elves were now just six young men on their way to perform a task they had performed each day since the time of their choosing, a task grown old and familiar—the greeting of the tree at the first touch of sunrise.

Only Lauren, youngest of this year's Chosen, was silent. He lagged a bit behind the others as they walked, taking no part in their idle chatter. His red head was bent in concentration, and there was a deep frown on his face. So wrapped up in his thoughts was he that he was not aware when the noise ahead ceased, nor of the steps that fell back beside him, until a hand touched his arm. Then his troubled face jerked up abruptly to find Jase regarding him.

"What's the matter, Lauren? Are you sick?" Jase asked. Because he was a few months older than the rest, Jase was the accepted leader of the Chosen.

Lauren shook his head, but the frown did not leave his face entirely.
"I'm all right."

"Something is bothering you. You've been brooding all morning.
Come to think of it, you were rather quiet last night, too."
Jase's hand on his shoulder brought the younger Elf about to face him. "Come on, out with it. Nobody expects you to serve if you're not feeling well."

Lauren hesitated, then sighed and nodded, "All right. It's the
Ellcrys. Yesterday, at sunset, just before we left her, I thought I saw some spotting on her leaves. It looked like wilt."

"Wilt? Are you sure? Nothing like that ever happens to the
Ellcrys—at least that's what wea've always been told," Jase said doubtfully.

"I could have been mistaken," Lauren admitted. "It was getting dark. I told myself then that it was probably just the way the shadows lay on the leaves. But the more I try to remember how it looked, the more I think it really was wilt."

There was a disconcerted muttering from the others, and one of them spoke. "This is Amberle's fault. I said before that something bad would come from having a girl picked as a Chosen."

"There were other girls among the Chosen, and nothing happened because of it," Lauren protested. He had always liked Amberle. She had been easy to talk to, even if she was King Eventine Elessedila's granddaughter.

"Not for five hundred years, Lauren," the other said.

"All right, that's enough," Jase interrupted. "We agreed not to talk about Amberle. You know that." He stood silently for a moment, pondering what Lauren had said. Then he shrugged. "It would be unfortunate if anything happened to the tree, especially while she was under our care. But after all, nothing lasts forever."

Lauren was shocked. "But Jase, when the tree weakens, the Forbidding will end and the Demons within will be freed . . ."

"Do you really believe those old stories, Lauren?" Jase laughed.

Lauren stared at the older Elf. "How can you be a Chosen and not believe?"

"I don't remember being asked what I believed when I was chosen,
Lauren. Were you asked?"

Lauren shook his head. Candidates for the honor of being Chosen were never asked anything. They were simply brought before the tree—young
Elves who had crossed over into manhood and womanhood in the prior year.
At the dawn of the new year, they gathered to pass beneath her limbs,
each pausing momentarily for acceptance. Those the tree touched upon the shoulders became the new Chosen, to serve until the year was done.
Lauren could still remember the mix of ecstasy and pride he had felt at the moment a slender branch had bent to touch him and he'd heard her speak his name.

And he remembered, too, the astonishment of all when Amberle had been called . . .

"It's just a tale to frighten children," Jase was saying.
"The real function of the Ellcrys is to serve as a reminder to the
Elven people that they, like her, survive despite all the changes that have taken place in the history of the Four Lands. She is a symbol of our people's strength, Lauren—nothing more."

He motioned for them all to resume their walk into the Gardens and turned away. Lauren lapsed back into thought. The older Elf's casual disregard for the legend of the tree disturbed him. Of course
Jase was from the city, and Lauren had observed that the people of
Arborlon seemed to take the old beliefs less seriously than did those of the little northern village from which he came. But the story of the
Ellcrys and the Forbidding wasn't just a story—it was the foundation of everything that was truly Elven, the most important event in the history of his people.

It had all taken place long ago, before the birth of the new world.
There had been a great war between good and evil""a war that the Elves had finally won by creating the Ellcrys and a Forbidding that had banished the evil Demons into a timeless dark. And so long as the
Ellcrys was kept well, so long would the evil be locked from the land.

So long as the Ellcrys was kept well . . .

He shook his head doubtfully. Maybe the wilt was but a trick of his imagination. Or a trick of the light. And if not, they would simply have to find a cure. There was always a cure.

Moments later, he stood with the others before the tree. Hesitantly, he looked up, then sighed in relief. It appeared as if the Ellcrys was unchanged. Perfectly formed, her silver-white trunk arched skyward in a symmetrically balanced network of tapered limbs clustered with broad,
five-cornered leaves that were blood-red in color. At her base, strips of green moss grew in patchwork runners through the cracks and crevices of the smooth-skinned bark, like emerald streams flowing down a mountain hillside. There were no splits to mar the trunk's even lines, no branches cracked or broken. So beautiful, he thought. He looked again,
but could see no signs of the sickness he had feared.

The others went to gather the tools they would use in the feeding and grooming of the tree and in the general upkeep of the Gardens. But Jase held Lauren back. "Would you like to greet her today, Lauren?" he asked.

Lauren stammered his surprised thanks. Jase was giving up his turn for the most special of tasks, obviously in an effort to cheer him.

He stepped forward under the spreading branches to lay his hands upon the smooth-skinned trunk, the others gathering about a few paces back to recite the morning greeting. He glanced upward expectantly, searching for the first beam of sunlight that would fall upon her form.

Then abruptly he drew back. The leaves directly above him were dark with patches of wilt. His heart fell. There was spotting elsewhere as well,
scattered throughout the tree. It was not a trick of light and shadow.
It was real.

He motioned frantically for Jase, then pointed as the other came forward. As was their custom at this time, they did not speak, but Jase gasped as he saw the extent of the damage already done. Slowly the two walked around the tree, discovering spots everywhere, some barely visible, others already darkening the leaves so badly that their blood-red color seemed drained away.

Whatever his professed beliefs concerning the tree, Jase was badly shaken, and his face reflected his dismay as he went back to confer in whispers with the others. Lauren moved to join them, but Jase quickly shook his head, motioning to the top of the tree, where the dawn's light had almost reached the uppermost branches.

Lauren knew his duty and he turned back again to the tree. Whatever else was to happen, the Chosen must greet the Ellcrys this day as they had greeted her each day since the beginning of their Order.

He placed his hands gently on the silver bark and the words of greeting were forming on his lips when a slender branch from the ancient tree dipped slightly to brush his shoulder.

—Lauren—

The young Elf jumped at the sound of his name. But no one had spoken.
The sound had been in his mind, the voice little more than an image of his own face.

It was the Ellcrys!

He caught his breath, twisting his head to glimpse briefly the branch that rested on his shoulder before turning quickly back again. Confusion swept through him. Only once before had she spoken to him—on the day of his choosing. She had spoken his name then; she had spoken all their names. It had been the last time. She had never spoken to any of them after that. Never—except to Amberle, of course, and Amberle was no longer one of them.

He looked hurriedly at the others. They were staring at him, curious as to why he had stopped. Then the branch that rested upon his shoulder slipped down to wrap about him loosely, and he flinched involuntarily with its touch.

—Lauren. Call the Chosen to me—

The images appeared quickly and were gone. Hesitantly Lauren beckoned to his comrades. They came forward, questions forming on their lips as they stared upward at the silver-limbed tree. Branches lowered to clasp each,
and the voice of the Ellcrys whispered softly.

—Hear me. Remember what I tell you. Do not fail me—

A chill swept over them, and the Gardens of Life were shrouded in deep,
hollow silence, as if in all the world only they were alive. Images filled their minds, flowing one after the other in rapid succession.
There was horror contained in those images. Had they been able, the
Chosen would have turned away, to flee and hide until the nightmare that possessed them had passed and been forgotten. But the tree held them fast, and the images continued to flow and the horror to mount, until they felt they could stand no more.

Then at last it was finished, and the Ellcrys was silent once more, her limbs lifting from their shoulders and stretching wide to catch the warmth of the morning sun.

Lauren stood frozen, tears streaming down his cheeks. Shattered, the six
Chosen faced one another, and in each mind the truth whispered soundlessly.

The legend was not legend. The legend was life. Evil did indeed lie beyond a Forbidding that the Ellcrys maintained. Only she kept the Elven people safe.

And now she was dying.

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First Chapter

The night sky brightened faintly in the east with the approach of dawn as the Chosen entered the
Gardens of Life. Without, the Elven city of Arborlon lay sleeping, its people still wrapped in the
warmth and solitude of their beds. But for the Chosen, the day had already begun. Their trailing
white robes billowing slightly with a rush of summer
wind, they passed between the sentries of the Black Watch, who stood
rigid and aloof as such sentries had stood for centuries gone before the
arched, wrought-iron gateway inlaid with silver scroll and ivory chips.
They passed quickly, and only their soft voices and the crunch of their
sandaled feet on the gravel pathway disturbed the silence of the new day
as they slipped into the pine-shadowed dark beyond.

The Chosen were the caretakers of the Ellcrys, the strange and wondrous
tree that stood at the center of the Gardens--the tree, as the legends
told, that served as protector against a primordial evil that had very
nearly destroyed the Elves centuries ago, an evil that had been shut
away from the earth since before the dawn of the old race of Men. In all
the time that had followed, there had been Chosen to care for the
Ellcrys. Theirs was a tradition handed down through generations of
Elves, a tradition of service that the Elves regarded as both a coveted
honor and a solemn duty.

Yet there was little evidence of solemnity in the procession that passed
through the Gardens this morning. Two hundred and thirty days of the
year of their service had gone by, and youthful spirits could no longer
be easily subdued. The first sense of awe at the responsibility given
them hadlong since passed, and the Chosen of the Elves were now just
six young men on their way to perform a task they had performed each day
since the time of their choosing, a task grown old and familiar--the
greeting of the tree at the first touch of sunrise.

Only Lauren, youngest of this year's Chosen, was silent. He lagged
a bit behind the others as they walked, taking no part in their idle
chatter. His red head was bent in concentration, and there was a deep
frown on his face. So wrapped up in his thoughts was he that he was not
aware when the noise ahead ceased, nor of the steps that fell back
beside him, until a hand touched his arm. Then his troubled face jerked
up abruptly to find Jase regarding him.

"What's the matter, Lauren? Are you sick?" Jase asked. Because
he was a few months older than the rest, Jase was the accepted leader of
the Chosen.

Lauren shook his head, but the frown did not leave his face entirely.
"I'm all right."

"Something is bothering you. You've been brooding all morning.
Come to think of it, you were rather quiet last night, too."
Jase's hand on his shoulder brought the younger Elf about to face
him. "Come on, out with it. Nobody expects you to serve if
youaO(TM)re not feeling well."

Lauren hesitated, then sighed and nodded, "All right. It's the
Ellcrys. Yesterday, at sunset, just before we left her, I thought I saw
some spotting on her leaves. It looked like wilt."

"Wilt? Are you sure? Nothing like that ever happens to the
Ellcrys--at least that's what wea've always been told," Jase
said doubtfully.

"I could have been mistaken," Lauren admitted. "It was getting
dark. I told myself then that it was probably just the way the shadows
lay on the leaves. But the more I try to remember how it looked, the
more I think it really was wilt."

There was a disconcerted muttering from the others, and one of them
spoke. "This is Amberle's fault. I said before that something
bad would come from having a girl picked as a Chosen."

"There were other girls among the Chosen, and nothing happened
because of it," Lauren protested. He had always liked Amberle. She had
been easy to talk to, even if she was King Eventine Elessedila's
granddaughter.

"Not for five hundred years, Lauren," the other said.

"All right, that's enough," Jase interrupted. "We agreed
not to talk about Amberle. You know that." He stood silently for a
moment, pondering what Lauren had said. Then he shrugged. "It would
be unfortunate if anything happened to the tree, especially while she
was under our care. But after all, nothing lasts forever."

Lauren was shocked. "But Jase, when the tree weakens, the Forbidding
will end and the Demons within will be freed . . ."

"Do you really believe those old stories, Lauren?" Jase laughed.

Lauren stared at the older Elf. "How can you be a Chosen and not
believe?"

"I don't remember being asked what I believed when I was chosen,
Lauren. Were you asked?"

Lauren shook his head. Candidates for the honor of being Chosen were
never asked anything. They were simply brought before the tree--young
Elves who had crossed over into manhood and womanhood in the prior year.
At the dawn of the new year, they gathered to pass beneath her limbs,
each pausing momentarily for acceptance. Those the tree touched upon the
shoulders became the new Chosen, to serve until the year was done.
Lauren could still remember the mix of ecstasy and pride he had felt at
the moment a slender branch had bent to touch him and he'd heard
her speak his name.

And he remembered, too, the astonishment of all when Amberle had been
called . . .

"It's just a tale to frighten children," Jase was saying.
"The real function of the Ellcrys is to serve as a reminder to the
Elven people that they, like her, survive despite all the changes that
have taken place in the history of the Four Lands. She is a symbol of
our people's strength, Lauren--nothing more."

He motioned for them all to resume their walk into the Gardens and
turned away. Lauren lapsed back into thought. The older Elf's
casual disregard for the legend of the tree disturbed him. Of course
Jase was from the city, and Lauren had observed that the people of
Arborlon seemed to take the old beliefs less seriously than did those of
the little northern village from which he came. But the story of the
Ellcrys and the Forbidding wasn't just a story--it was the
foundation of everything that was truly Elven, the most important event
in the history of his people.

It had all taken place long ago, before the birth of the new world.
There had been a great war between good and evilaO"a war that the Elves
had finally won by creating the Ellcrys and a Forbidding that had
banished the evil Demons into a timeless dark. And so long as the
Ellcrys was kept well, so long would the evil be locked from the land.

So long as the Ellcrys was kept well . . .

He shook his head doubtfully. Maybe the wilt was but a trick of his
imagination. Or a trick of the light. And if not, they would simply have
to find a cure. There was always a cure.

Moments later, he stood with the others before the tree. Hesitantly, he
looked up, then sighed in relief. It appeared as if the Ellcrys was
unchanged. Perfectly formed, her silver-white trunk arched skyward in a
symmetrically balanced network of tapered limbs clustered with broad,
five-cornered leaves that were blood-red in color. At her base, strips
of green moss grew in patchwork runners through the cracks and crevices
of the smooth-skinned bark, like emerald streams flowing down a mountain
hillside. There were no splits to mar the trunk's even lines, no
branches cracked or broken. So beautiful, he thought. He looked again,
but could see no signs of the sickness he had feared.

The others went to gather the tools they would use in the feeding and
grooming of the tree and in the general upkeep of the Gardens. But Jase
held Lauren back. "Would you like to greet her today, Lauren?" he
asked.

Lauren stammered his surprised thanks. Jase was giving up his turn for
the most special of tasks, obviously in an effort to cheer him.

He stepped forward under the spreading branches to lay his hands upon
the smooth-skinned trunk, the others gathering about a few paces back to
recite the morning greeting. He glanced upward expectantly, searching
for the first beam of sunlight that would fall upon her form.

Then abruptly he drew back. The leaves directly above him were dark with
patches of wilt. His heart fell. There was spotting elsewhere as well,
scattered throughout the tree. It was not a trick of light and shadow.
It was real.

He motioned frantically for Jase, then pointed as the other came
forward. As was their custom at this time, they did not speak, but Jase
gasped as he saw the extent of the damage already done. Slowly the two
walked around the tree, discovering spots everywhere, some barely
visible, others already darkening the leaves so badly that their
blood-red color seemed drained away.

Whatever his professed beliefs concerning the tree, Jase was badly
shaken, and his face reflected his dismay as he went back to confer in
whispers with the others. Lauren moved to join them, but Jase quickly
shook his head, motioning to the top of the tree, where the dawn's
light had almost reached the uppermost branches.

Lauren knew his duty and he turned back again to the tree. Whatever else
was to happen, the Chosen must greet the Ellcrys this day as they had
greeted her each day since the beginning of their Order.

He placed his hands gently on the silver bark and the words of greeting
were forming on his lips when a slender branch from the ancient tree
dipped slightly to brush his shoulder.

--Lauren--

The young Elf jumped at the sound of his name. But no one had spoken.
The sound had been in his mind, the voice little more than an image of
his own face.

It was the Ellcrys!

He caught his breath, twisting his head to glimpse briefly the branch
that rested on his shoulder before turning quickly back again. Confusion
swept through him. Only once before had she spoken to him--on the day
of his choosing. She had spoken his name then; she had spoken all their
names. It had been the last time. She had never spoken to any of them
after that. Never--except to Amberle, of course, and Amberle was no
longer one of them.

He looked hurriedly at the others. They were staring at him, curious as
to why he had stopped. Then the branch that rested upon his shoulder
slipped down to wrap about him loosely, and he flinched involuntarily
with its touch.

--Lauren. Call the Chosen to me--

The images appeared quickly and were gone. Hesitantly Lauren beckoned to
his comrades. They came forward, questions forming on their lips as they
stared upward at the silver-limbed tree. Branches lowered to clasp each,
and the voice of the Ellcrys whispered softly.

--Hear me. Remember what I tell you. Do not fail me--

A chill swept over them, and the Gardens of Life were shrouded in deep,
hollow silence, as if in all the world only they were alive. Images
filled their minds, flowing one after the other in rapid succession.
There was horror contained in those images. Had they been able, the
Chosen would have turned away, to flee and hide until the nightmare that
possessed them had passed and been forgotten. But the tree held them
fast, and the images continued to flow and the horror to mount, until
they felt they could stand no more.

Then at last it was finished, and the Ellcrys was silent once more, her
limbs lifting from their shoulders and stretching wide to catch the
warmth of the morning sun.

Lauren stood frozen, tears streaming down his cheeks. Shattered, the six
Chosen faced one another, and in each mind the truth whispered
soundlessly.

The legend was not legend. The legend was life. Evil did indeed lie
beyond a Forbidding that the Ellcrys maintained. Only she kept the Elven
people safe.

And now she was dying.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 177 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(112)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 23, 2012

    I GUESS I EXPECTED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN! * I decided to revie

    I GUESS I EXPECTED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN! * I decided to review this book because I reviewed the first of this continuing saga. To this day I'm not sure what forced me to read it, as it was even more boring than its predecessor. In a nutshell, nothing ever happens but a long winded romp through the woods and occasional--very occasional--battles with evil. And here is the biggest problem with this book. The hero is one dimensional, lacking of personality, inept, and rarely ever does anything worth remembering. Yet somehow he always manages to overcome the evil pitted against him. The evil characters, on the other hand, are terribly cliche, overwhelmingly powerful to the point that they could never be beaten except by the use of serious hand of god tricks--yet are always thwarted or defeated outright. To conclude, the only suitable description for the outcome of this epic is A Trite Blend of Underwhelming and Anticlimactic Balderdash. Once again, however, I am glad that Terry succeed with this effort, along with his many others, because mine is only one opinion, and apparently not all that popular to boot. Furthermore, I still like to believe that someone, somewhere, should help to support the writers of our world, even when they're not amazing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

    Best book ever!

    I read The Shannara series as a teenager looking for something similar to The Lord of the Rings. The series was amazing! But this book is my all time favorite!!! Its a beautifully written story...you won't be able to put it down...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    A good read.

    I you liked Lord of the Rings but are looking for something new to read this is a good substitute The setting, characters and story will seem familiar to those who enjoy the fantasy genre. Obviously not as good as LOTR but Elfstones will keep you entertained from cover to cover.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Awesome book, but the audio book is horrible!

    This book is great in paper format. However, I had purchased the audio book format hoping for something good to listen to while I exercise. It is so heinously abridged that entire chapters are missing and there is no character development. Over half of the book is missing in the abridged audio format. Don't buy it, it will be like burning your money in the trash can.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Excellent book. This series got me interested in reading the sc

    Excellent book. This series got me interested in reading the sci-fantasy genre books. A whole new world was just waiting for me to discover. What an amazing journey!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Ah-mayzing!!!!!

    AMBERLE!!!!!!!!!**Bursts into tears** <p> This happened when I read the bit with the Ellcrys at the end.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    The sequel to Terry Brooks¿ Sword of Shannara, Elfstones is a fa

    The sequel to Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara, Elfstones is a far superior work. It tells the story of the grandson of Shea Ohmsford, hero of the first novel, and his efforts to help a young elf girl save the world while a few brave men try to hold off demonic forces to save the elven kingdom As a teenager, I figured out about half way through the novel what “saving the world” meant in this book and I read with growing horror as I discovered that I was correct. It’s a very powerful story.

    Elfstone is a fast moving, action packed novel filled with wonderful characters: The Iron Man, Stee Jans remains one of my favorite heroes of all time; The Rover woman, Etria, one of the strongest characters in the book, whose only flaw is that for some incomprehensible reason, she likes Wil Ohmsford; and the introspective Prince Ander, who finds the weight of a kingdom on the shoulders he is quite certain are not ready.

    This is my favorite of the Shannara books. It’s definitely worth your time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    One of Brook's best

    One of Brook's best

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Wow

    I read this book in a matter of days, the flow of the story took hold and did not let go. A great story, amazeing world, worth reading over and over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    as always in this genre no one is Terry Brooks equal.

    I thought i had all of Mr. Brook's collective books. In any case the Elf Stones of Shanara are just as excellent as the rest of the series. I am having trouble getting enough sleep as i am loath to put it down. I recommend that anyone who has not started the series or not commpleted it, that you do so!! I hope that Terry Brooks has many more books to write! Can't wait
    PS... Try the recommended books as well they are awesome in their own right. Enjoy!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    My favorite of the series

    This book was the first one I read. After that I was instantly hooked and was compelled to read the entire series. This book is rumored to have a movie being made from it. But there hasn't been an update on this in almost a year.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    Shannara Series!

    When it comes to reading a Fantasy book, Terry Brooks has me hooked! I have read 'The heritage of Shannara' and 'The Sword of Shannara.' I have enjoyed them sooooo much! I think that anyone who enjoys reading fantasy just a little would love these books. Terry Brooks has such a way of bringing the characters to you, and letting you feel every emotion. He's a great detailed writer, and the words just flow. When you are done reading, you feel so connected to the characters. These books have made me cry so many times. I know you will enjoy then! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    Simply The Best

    The Sword of Shannara brought me into the world of fantasy in the early 80's, but the Elfstones cemented me there. This story is about a young man with a mission, and not the first clue how he's going to accomplish it. We get to see him figure it out as he battles forces that would make Conan flinch. It's characters are rich and colorful, and not very predictable. The entire Shannara series is by far the best fantasy series, only eclipsing Tolkien's by it's size 'computers are quicker to write on'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    Another brilliant tale of the elves in the triology

    This sequel to the Sword Of Shannara, tells a brilliant tale of the elves battling evil, with Wil Ohmsford and his magic stones seeking the seed and the 'Blood Fire' which will protect the land from the evil Demons. Read again, brilliantly, by Charles Keating, this magical tale has a terrific story line, great characters, and a thrilling ending. Worthy of listening to or reading. I look forward to the third part of the tale: The Wishsong Of Shannara.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2007

    My favorite of the series...

    I thought this was one of the best books out of the Shannara series. The story moved along well and it wasn't too predictable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    Finally I have found a sequel that measures up to original! I haven't finished yet, but am SOOOOOO excited to read it. Whether or not you liked the original has nothing to do with it. This book's awesome!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2007

    Hilarious

    This book made me laugh sooo much! I thought the Wil and Eretria `relationship¿ was HILARIOUS! I didn¿t like how they got married though, I wanted Wil to marry Ambrele because they were closer and plus he liked her also. I liked learning more about the Elfstones and this book held many funny quotes. The Rovers are pretty¿interesting people. I love this book so much because the plot is exciting and it keeps you on the edge of your seat for a long time. Wisp was¿interesting too. I don¿t have much to say about him, but okay, he¿s a bit of a nut! Altogether, this book was great and I never want it to leave my side! READ IT, LOVE IT, BUY IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2006

    Terry Brooks is Awesome

    In the last 20 years, my nightstand has had a love-affair with every Terry Brooks book. I have personally read every book of his, multiple times. I've read the Elfstones at least 5 times. Elfstones is an incredible book... Probably one of my favorite he's ever written. The story line is smooth, you never loose where you are. The antagonists are formidable, key players aren't spared, and the climax is almost a Shakespearian tragedy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2006

    Terry, your books are the best!

    I've read most of Terry's Shannara novels at least twice and some of them still keep me on the edge of my seat. I have yet to read (and buy) the Word/Void Trilogy, but that doesn't stop me from re-reading the Shannara series. This is a must have if you plan to continue returning to the land of Shannara. Happy Reading! :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews

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