First King of Shannara (Shannara Series)

( 153 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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...

This major new novel in the popular Shannara saga holds the answers to some of the thousands of questions Shannara fans have been asking for years. Hundreds of years after the First War of the Races, an army of Trolls destroys the Druids of Paranor. The only force that can prevent their subjugation of the people of the Four Lands is a small band led by Bremen, the last of the Druids.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
You can't find the Four Lands on any map of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth; but, given all the elves, dwarves, warlocks, trolls and gnomes that run rampant in the setting of Brooks's many Shannara novels (The Talismans of Shannara, etc.), readers can be forgiven for trying. Tolkien's influence is so strong in this prequel to The Sword of Shannara (1977), which launched the series, that many of the events here seem predictable or repetitive. Set 500 years before the events of Sword, the novel chronicles the destruction of ivory-towered Paranor and its Druid scholars, tracing the subsequent adventures of the outcast Druid-magician Bremen. With a handful of companions, he must find and hide the Black Elfstone from the Warlock Lord and forge a magic sword for Elven King Jerle Shannara to wield against the warlock. Brooks's prose generates a breakneck pace, but it lacks depth of characterization and also the wealth of linguistic invention that the most satisfying high fantasy offers. As an allegory of the eternal struggle between good and evil, the vital basis of fantasy, Brooks's mythical universe also suffers from a crucial dearth of those magical moments of heart-stopping revelation when, against all hope, against all reason, against all the forces of evil, salvation comes at last.
Library Journal
To defend his followers and escape subjugation from the evil Warlock Lord, Druid Bremen must possess the magical Black Elfstone. Set 500 years before The Sword of Shannara (1977), this latest in the series answers fans' questions about the early history of the Shannara family.
Roland Green
With this volume, Brooks seems to launch yet another subsaga within the larger saga of Shannara, an undertaking rapidly approaching its twentieth anniversary. The story opens at an indeterminate but considerable time after the conclusion of The Talismans of Shannara (1993), with the Druids having abandoned magic (too dangerous) in favor of reviving science (long lost). One renegade Druid believes magic and science are both needed and conclusively proves the truth of this when he needs to face yet another host of the Dark Forces--this time, trolls led by magic-corrupted former Druids serving an archimagical potentate named Brona. The Shannara books continue to contain a singular mixture of classic fantasy elements, slabs of narrative long enough to become boring, and scenes of great power. Fortunately, there are more of the latter here than there have been in many Shannara yarns; Brooks' craftsmanship is undeniably improving. True Brooks fans may still feel that the Magic Kingdom books constitute his most lasting legacy, but there are hordes of faithful Shannara readers out there ready to make this helping sell best, too.
Kirkus Reviews
Brooks wasn't the first writer, and won't be the last, to make a career out of a single idea that captured the fantasy audiences's attention (his Magic Kingdom yarns notwithstanding). So, for those who simply can't get enough of Shannara books, here's a very large prequel, chronologically set 500 years before the original The Sword of Shannara (1977), in which readers may discover how the last Druid, Bremen—last until young Allanon, hero of the later installments, shows up—battles the evil Warlock Lord and his Skull Bearers, and how his ally, King of the Elves, Jerle Shannara, wields the Sword of Shannara against the bad guys. And so forth.

For those who care.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345396532
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Series: Shannara Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 182,387
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Brooks
A writer since high school, Terry Brooks published his first novel, The Sword of Shannara, in 1977. It became the first work of fiction ever to appear on the New York Times Trade Paperback Bestseller List, where it remained for over five months. He has published twelve consecutive bestselling novels since.

The author was a practicing attorney for many years, but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife Judine in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

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:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 153 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(81)

4 Star

(44)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 154 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2004

    Great book! Slow at times but a definite must read.

    The book has provided an awesome read for me and I am definitely reading the rest of the series(when time permits). I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy/adventure books and wishes to start a new series. This book has made me gain respect for Brooks and his style of writing. Anyone wishing for a good novel to read should pick this book up whenever they are clueless to what they wish to read next.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    A bit dry and vapid

    Frankly, I have no idea what most of these reviewers are talking about. There really isn¿t much description in this book as you would find in one of Robin McKinley`s, so I have no idea how one gets an amazing picture of the landscape and whatnot. The authors characters are too mundane and prosaic. They lack just a bit of description and could be a lot better if the author just tried. Now, I don¿t exactly want to call this book boring, but there were times I had trouble flipping to the next page. This was caused mostly because of the lack of description in the book. Nonetheless I gave it a chance and managed to get through the book and in the end found that it was indeed a bit exciting. However, as I read this book I saw that it shared many similarities with Lord of the Rings. I mean, Bremen is almost the exact same character as Gandalf. In other words, The First King of Shannara is a mere slavish copy of the Lord of the Rings. I must say though, the other copies of the Shannara series are a bit decent and somewhat original. Still, Brooks doesn¿t seem like the type of author that describes much, so if you¿re the type of reader than enjoys reading juicy descriptive books then this isn¿t the book for you.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2005

    average

    I bought this book because it was on the Barnes & Noble recommended list. But it probably shouldn't be. It was a bit simplistic. I didn't really feel for the characters. With other authors, like Gemmell or Salvatore, I actually worry about the good guys and hate the bad guys. That didn't happen here. Very little intrigue, and the world was as basic as a compass. And I know this is nitt picking, but the math was wrong in the army sizes. Supposedly 3000 elves fighting 10,000 evil troops. The elves eventually lose 1000 and are causing 10 times the losses to the Northland army? Wouldn't that leave zero evil army left? Yet they are still on the verge of defeat by a superior numbered force. Ok, anyway... I would say it's similar writing to David Eddings, but a little better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2003

    This book is really just a sleeping pill

    if you have trouble sleeping.. just read this book. This book just wants to copy 'the lord of the rings'. Don't believe all of the other reveiws. this book is not good. At least look at it at the store because the words are freakin small, like poin 5. Anyways just read the 3 original ones. At least they're decent. Oh ya and go watch my new movie commin out 'The passion' spring 2004.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2000

    Pretty fun stuff

    I am ALWAYS excited to see a new Shannara story, and although I am not a fan of 'prequels' Terry Brooks has done an admirable job of giving us readers what we long for in between all of his masterful works of art. Interesting, if not 100% accurate in the details originally set forth in 'The Sword of Shannara' but I can forgive Brooks 'cuz he writes so darned well. My favorite is still 'The Elfstones' but all in all, still a pretty darned good read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2000

    Completely extravigant

    This novel by Terry Brooks was by far the best novel I had ever read. Before this, I hadn't been able to focus on books or read them with excitement or any enthusiasm whatsoever. This extraordinary novel held me in a trance, I could not put it down except for my obvious other needs. I totally recommend this fantasy novel to anybody. It was the first Terry Brooks book I read and probably the best. I loved how he described every last character and how he didn't make anything boring and too long. I liked how he found a way to keep things fresh in your mind and keep your blood pumping, almost as if your heart would never settle. The desrciption of the war was absolutely mind blowing, I loved how catastrophic the war seemed. For those of you deprived and under priveleged people that have not read this novel, I'll explain it a little, not too much but hopefully enough. It's all about this old Druid named Bremen and his trusted friend Kinson, they travel many long journeys to conceive a weapon that will destroy the evil Warlock Lord also known as Brona, a power hungry ex-Druid that was consumed by his hunger. Find out how the story goes in full detail. It was an epic adventure I'll never forget.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A prequel that's equal to the series

    I have to admit, I was slightly worried with this book. After all, how do you prequel such a great series as the original Shannara series? He did it.
    I wish he would write a history of Allanon. he is such an important character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    THE BOOK ROCKS!

    A man named bremen goes out to save the world with his frends .

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  • Posted December 5, 2012

    I have always enjoyed reading epic fantasy. I started off with

    I have always enjoyed reading epic fantasy. I started off with Terry Book's The Sword of Shannara, & had read all the following books, (at that time). But I really enjoyed The First King of Shannara, because it gave us all the information of how the Sword came to be.I always prefer to read fantasy series in the chronological order of the storyline. It is well worth it to read this book first, if you wish to start the Shannara series from the , (more or less), current storyline!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    The first king of sharnnara

    I like this book becouse it was fanisty and it was fiction my dad got it for me when we went to the book store in georga and i could not find a book that was for me until he said he read the saris and that is why i like this book. I need the next book to continue the seris. Thanks for leting me tell you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    A very entertaining prequel to The Sword of Shannara, First King

    A very entertaining prequel to The Sword of Shannara, First King of Shannara will answer any questions you had about what came before. If you liked Sword and want to know more about the background of it, First King is something you must pick up!

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    Good but not the best Shannara book

    I liked this book for all of the answers I got about the other books. It was a fun read but The Sword of Shannara is still my favorite of the series. The biggest problem i had with the characters in this story is that Kinson and Jerle Shannara seem to be the same person written into two different characters. other than that this was a good book

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    First King Of Shannara by Terry Brooks

    This book had me hooked from the first few pages. Not many books are like that for me. I recommend you read it at least once and see what I mean. I have decided to collect other works by Terry Brooks based on this one.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The First King of Shannara, a prelude to the Sword of Shannara trilogy

    Coming soon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2009

    A good series to read.

    I started on this book instead of reading the series first so I am sure alot of the pivotal moments were lost on me. However it turned me on to the series.
    I was drawn into the story quickly. The action starts alomost right away. I found myself really hating the bad guy and rooting for the good guys. The characters solidified in my imagination easily making the story that more enjoyable. Terry is able to express their emotions very clearly causing an empathetic response in the reader.
    After reading the other Shannara book I now realize a lot of 'Ah ha' moments were missed. I would suggest reading this one AFTER the Sword of Shannara at least.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2009

    Good to escape to another world with

    This was a good book to use to escape to another world where magic is possible and the evil that lurks everywhere can be defeated even if only for a time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    sleep late

    I would like to say right off the bat that this is my favorite book to read. When the druids use their magic, I think that you'll agree with me when I say, I wish, I was one. I think you will agree with me after you have read it that it is vary intertaining and suspensful it keeps you wanting more. I could barly put this book down once i started. I think a lot of the credit goes to Terry brooks and the way he writes, he keeps you second guessing whats going to happen next.This book I found and the others like it can help you understand the author likes and dislikes. In conclusion I would segest that you read it for your self.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2007

    Really good back story!

    Terry Brooks has focused on Bremen on this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Amazing BOOK!

    This book has highly well devolped characters. There is nothing boring about. Terry Brooks is the most amaizing writer ever if you havent read this book you got to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2006

    Awesome!

    I never get tired of reading this book. I've read it at least two times already and it still never ceases to amaze me. I've also read the rest of the SoS trilogy as well as most of the rest of the Shannara books, and they still make me feel like I am actually in the book doing these things. This book is highly reccommended.

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