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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Having explored the arena of dark fantasy with the Demon trilogy (Running with the Demon, A Knight of the Word, etc.), bestselling author Terry Brooks returns to his phenomenally popular Shannara series. Brooks remains in excellent form, bringing all of his master storytelling abilities to the fore as he links this new trilogy to a saga started over two decades ago.
The Voyage of Jerle Shannara: Ilse Witch begins a generation after the events of the previous novel in the series, Talisman of Shannara. Walker Boh, the last of the Druids, is now an embittered outcast of the elven lands. The elf king, Allardon Elessedil, who has shunned Walker for years, now needs the Druid's aid. Walker may be the only one who can make sense of a map brought back by a dying member of lost expedition. This castaway is found floating on a piece of wreckage in the seas of the Blue Divide, and he might in fact be Allardon's brother, missing for 30 years. Assassins and thieves are also interested in the map, and after the king's murder, Walker takes it upon himself to follow the route toward a vast and ancient magical power. His mysterious enemy, the Ilse witch, is also in search of the three mystical keys for reasons of her own. Along with Walker on an airship are Quentin Leah, possessor of the magic sword of Leah, and Quentin's adopted brother, Bek Rowe, a young man whose own past may somehow be connected to that of the witch. This fellowship must first journey to the last remaining vestige of the Old World magic in Castledown in an attempt to ward off their enemies in an effort to save the world.
Here are the earmarks of all that made the Shannara series one of the most popular sagas of high fantasy ever: it is steeped in a well-detailed magical world, rich in mysterious atmosphere, and filled with engaging characters. Brooks does well in keeping many of the most important events and cast members shrouded in mystery. The Ilse witch, for all her power, is so enigmatic that she is a flawless foil to Walker Boh. The new cast is filled of intriguing and bizarre characters, while other well-known personalities occasionally crop up enough to appeal to all the fans of this 20-year-old old series. For those readers just beginning the journey, The Voyage of Jerle Shannara is the perfect starting point to draw them into the the earlier books.