The Talismans of Shannara (Heritage of Shannara Series #4)

( 61 )


Although some of the goals to keep Shannara safe had been met, the work of Walker Boh, Wren, and Par was not yet done. For The Shadowmen still swarmed over the Four Lands, poisoning all with their dark magic. Each Shannaran had a special death waiting for him- at the hands of The Shadowmen-unless Par could find a way to free them all with the Sword of Shannara.

The anxiously awaited conclusion to the Heritage of Shannara series--by one of fantasy's phenomenal ...

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The Talismans of Shannara (Heritage of Shannara Series #4)

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Although some of the goals to keep Shannara safe had been met, the work of Walker Boh, Wren, and Par was not yet done. For The Shadowmen still swarmed over the Four Lands, poisoning all with their dark magic. Each Shannaran had a special death waiting for him- at the hands of The Shadowmen-unless Par could find a way to free them all with the Sword of Shannara.

The anxiously awaited conclusion to the Heritage of Shannara series--by one of fantasy's phenomenal bestselling authors. The descendants of the Elven house of Shannara had all completed their quests . . . but their work was not yet done, for the Shadowen still swarmed over the Four Lands.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If Harry Potter has given you a thirst for fantasy and you have not discovered the magic of Terry Brooks, you are in for a treat."
--Rocky Mountain News

"If you were delighted and entranced by Michael Ende's The Never Ending Story, you will definitely want to sample one of more of Terry Brooks's books."
--Santa Cruz Sentinel

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brooks brings his best-selling tetralogy, which began with The Scions of Shannara, to a resounding, action-filled conclusion. The three quests set by the Druid Allanon to save the Four Lands have been fulfilled, but the results are endangered or useless. One of the questers, Shannara scion Par Ohmsford, flees Federation soldiers and Shadowen Seekers with his love, Damson Rhee, only to be hunted by his brother Coll, made mad by the Shadowen leader Rimmer Dall. Par carries the powerful Sword of Shannara but cannot use it; the magic of his wishsong intensifies but becomes increasingly uncontrollable. Walker Boh, Allanon's heir, is trapped inside the restored Druid fortress of Paranor by four powerful Shadowen who have taken the form of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The third quester, Wren Elessedil, now queen of the elves, has brought her people back to the Four Lands, but they face extermination by the Federation. The three searchers must be tempered by disaster, conquer their self-doubts and discover within themselves the true nature of their quest and the means of salvation for their peoples. Cutting from one group to another, Brooks builds tension and suspense, weaving a rich and complex tale.
Library Journal
Legendary sf author Brooks here weaves a tale about an apocalyptic showdown in a small Illinois town between humans and the amber-eyed trolls from another realm that only a girl named Nest can see.
Roland Green
Brooks here concludes "The Heritage of Shannara". Despite apparent success in their various quests, Walker Bob, Wren, and Par Ohmsford still face the poisonous plague of the Shadowen. Indeed, they may well fall to it unless Par can actually use the Sword of Shannara itself--at what cost to himself and his friends no one knows. In the course of reaching a satisfactory conclusion, this volume, like so much of Brooks' work, drags in spots and reaches compelling power in others. Overall, the tetralogy may well have been loading more on the Shannara universe that it can bear, particularly in the face of competition from such better-wrought worlds as those of David Eddings' and Robert Jordan's multivolume sagas. Shannara's large and faithful audience will see Brooks to the end, though, making this volume a mandatory acquisition.
Kirkus Reviews
New contemporary fantasy from the author of two interminable series, one about Shannara (First King of Shannara, 1996, etc.), the other set in a Magic Kingdom (Witches' Brew, 1995, etc.). In Hopewell, Illinois, 14-year-old Nest Freemark defends the town's ancient parkland against encroaching "feeders" (they feed on dark emotions) with the magic she inherited from her mysteriously dead mother and her drunken Gran, with whom she lives. Nest's helpers are Pick, a tiny, 150-year-old woody "sylvan"; Daniel the owl; and the eerie, wolflike Wraith. As July 4th approaches, a demon arrives in town, as does good-guy John Ross, Knight of the Word; Nest is the key to the looming good vs. evil showdown. But soon she begins to wonder why nobody will tell her the truth about her missing parents, or what's really going on in the park. The demon tempts Nest, then torments her, and finally tells her that he's her father! As Nest wavers, the demon tries to force the issue by killing Gran, capturing Pick, and exposing Wraith (whom Nest thought of as her faithful protector) as an elemental under his control. Thus deprived of her allies, how will Nest resist the demon?

An intriguing and well-balanced scenario with believable characters, but undermined by unsurprising story developments and therefore little or no narrative tension.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345386748
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Heritage of Shannara Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 156,756
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Brooks
A writer since high school, Terry Brooks published his first novel, The Sword of Shannara, in 1977. It was a New York Times bestseller for more than five months. He has published seventeen consecutive bestsellers since, including The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Ilse Witch 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 each selected by the Rocky Mountain News as one 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 and Hawaii.

Visit us online at


"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

Dusk settled down about the Four Lands, a slow graying of light, a gradual lengthening of shadows.
The swelter of the late summer’s day began to fade as the sun’s red fireball sank into the west and the hot, stale air cooled. The hush that comes with day’s end stilled the earth, and leaves and grass shivered with expectation at the coming of night.

At the mouth of the Mermidon where it emptied into the Rainbow Lake,
Southwatch rose blackly, impenetrable and voiceless. The wind brushed the waters of the lake and river, yet did not approach the obelisk, as if anxious to hurry on to some place more inviting. The air shimmered about the dark tower, heat radiating from its stone in waves, forming spectral images that darted and flew. A solitary hunter at the water’s edge glanced up apprehensively as he passed and continued swiftly on.

Within, the Shadowen went about their tasks in ghostly silence, cowled and faceless and filled with purpose.

Rimmer Dall stood at a window looking out on the darkening countryside, watching the color fade from the earth as the night crept stealthily out of the east to gather in its own.

The night, our mother, our comfort.

He stood with his hands clasped behind his back, rigid within his dark robes, cowl pulled back from his rawboned, red-bearded face. He looked hard and empty of feeling, and had he cared he would have been pleased. But it had been a long time since his appearance had mattered to the First Seeker--a long time since he had bothered even to wonder. His outside was of no consequence; he could be anything he chose. What burned within mattered. That gave him life.

His eyes glittered as he looked beyond what he was seeing to what one day would be.

To what was promised.

He shifted slightly, alone with his thoughts in the tower’s silence.
The others did not exist for him, wraiths without substance. Below, deep within the bowels of the tower, he could hear the sounds of the magic at work, the deep hum of its breathing, the rumble of its heart. He listened for it without thinking now, a habit that brought reassurance to his troubled mind. The power was theirs, brought from the ether into substance, given shape and form, lent purpose. It was the gift of the Shadowen, and it belonged to them alone.

Druids and others notwithstanding.

He tried a faint smile, but his mouth refused to put up with it and it disappeared in the tight line of his lips. His gloved left hand squirmed within the clasp of the bare fingers of his right. Power for power,
strength for strength. On his breast, the silver wolf’s-head insignia glittered.

Thrum, thrum, came the sound of the magic working down below.

Rimmer Dall turned back into the grayness of the room--a room that until recently had held Coll Ohmsford prisoner. Now the Valeman was gone--escaped, he believed; but let go in fact and made prisoner another way. Gone to find his brother, Par.

The one with the real magic.

The one who would be his.

The First Seeker moved away from the window and seated himself at the bare wooden table, the weight of his big frame causing the spindly chair to creak. His hands folded on the table before him and his craggy face lowered.

All the Ohmsfords were back in the Four Lands, all the scions of
Shannara, returned from their quests. Walker Boh had come back from
Eldwist despite Pe Ell, the Black Elfstone regained, its magic fathomed,
Paranor brought back into the world of men, and Walker himself become the first of the new Druids. Wren Elessedil had come back from Morrowindl with Arborlon and the Elves, the magic of the Elfstones discovered anew, her own identity and heritage revealed. Two out of three of Allanon’s charges fulfilled. Two out of three steps taken.

Par’s was to be the last, of course. Find the Sword of Shannara. Find the Sword and it will reveal the truth.

Games played by old men and shades, Rimmer Dall mused. Charges and quests, searches for truth. Well, he knew the truth better than they,
and the truth was that none of this mattered because in the end the magic was all and the magic belonged to the Shadowen.

It grated on him that despite his efforts to prevent it, both the Elves and Paranor were back. Those he had sent to keep the Shannara scions from succeeding had failed. The price of their failure had been death,
but that did little to assuage his annoyance. Perhaps he should have been angry--perhaps even a little worried. But Rimmer Dall was confident in his power, certain of his control over events and time,
assured that the future was still his to determine. Though Teel and Pe
Ell had disappointed him, there were others who would not.

Thrum, thrum, the magic whispered.

And so . . .

Rimmer Dall’s lips pursed. A little time was all that was needed. A
little time to let events he had already set in motion follow their course, and then it would be too late for the Druid dead and their schemes. Keep the Dark Uncle and the girl apart. Don’t let them share their knowledge. Don’t let them join forces.

Don’t let them find the Valemen.

What was needed was a distraction, something that would keep them otherwise occupied. Or better still, something that would put an end to them. Armies, of course, to grind down the Elves and the free-born alike, Federation soldiers and Shadowen Creepers and whatever else he could muster to sweep these fools from his life. But something more,
something special for the Shannara children with all their magics and
Druid charms.

He considered the matter for a long time, the gray twilight changing to night about him. The moon rose in the east, a scythe against the black,
and the stars brightened into sharp pinpricks of silver. Their glow penetrated the darkness where the First Seeker sat and transformed his face into a skull.

Yes, he nodded finally.

The Dark Uncle was obsessed with his Druid heritage. Send him something to play against that weakness, something that would confuse and frustrate him. Send him the Four Horsemen.

And the girl. Wren Elessedil had lost her protector and adviser. Give her someone to fill that void. Give her one of his own choosing, one who would soothe and comfort her, who would ease her fears, then betray her and strip her of everything.

The others were no serious threat--not even the leader of the free-born and the Highlander. They could do nothing without the Ohmsford heirs. If the Dark Uncle was imprisoned in his Keep and the Elf Queen’s brief reign ended, the Druid shade’s carefully constructed plans would collapse about him. Allanon would sink back into the Hadeshorn with the rest of his ghost kin, consigned to the past where he belonged.

Yes, the others were insignificant.

But he would deal with them anyway.

And even if all his efforts failed, even if he could do nothing more than chase them about, harry them as a dog would its prey, still that would be sufficient if in the end Par Ohmsford’s soul fell to him. He needed only that to put an end to all of the hopes of his enemies. Only that. It was a short walk to the precipice, and the Valeman was already moving toward it. His brother would be the staked goat that would bring him, that would draw him like a wolf at hunt. Coll Ohmsford was deep under the spell of the Mirrorshroud by now, a slave to the magic from which the cloak was formed. He had stolen it to disguise himself, never guessing that Rimmer Dall had intended as much, never suspecting that it was a deadly snare to turn him to the First Seeker’s own grim purpose. Coll Ohmsford would hunt his brother down and force a confrontation. He would do so because the cloak would let him do nothing less, settling a madness within him that only his brother’s death could assuage. Par would be forced to fight. And because he lacked the magic of the Sword of Shannara, because his conventional weapons would not be enough to stop the Shadowen-kind his brother had become, and because he would be terrified that this was yet another trick, he would use the wishsong’s magic.

Perhaps he would kill his own brother, but this time kill him in truth,
and then discover--when it was too late to change things back--what he had done.

And perhaps not. Perhaps he would let his brother escape--and be led to his doom.

The First Seeker shrugged. Either way, the result would be the same.
Either way the Valeman was finished. Use of the magic and the series of shocks that would surely result from doing so would unbalance him. It would free the magic from his control and let him become Rimmer Dall’s tool. Rimmer Dall was certain of it. He could be so because unlike the Shannara scions and their mentor he understood the Elven magic, his magic by blood and right. He understood what it was and how it worked. He knew what Par did not--what was happening to the wishsong, why it behaved as it did, how it had slipped its leash to become a wild thing that hunted as it chose.

Par was close. He was very close.

The danger of grappling with the beast is that you will become it.

He was almost one of them.

Soon it would happen.

There was, of course, the possibility that the Valeman would discover the truth about the Sword of Shannara before then. Was the weapon he carried, the one Rimmer Dall had given up so easily, the talisman he sought or a fake? Par Ohmsford still didn’t know. It was a calculated risk that he would not find out. Yet even if he did, what good would it do him? Swords were two-edged and could cut either way. The truth might do Par more harm than good . . .

Rimmer Dall rose and walked again to the window, a shadow in the
Night’s blackness, folded and wrapped against the light. The Druids didn’t understand; they never had. Allanon was an anachronism before he had even become what Bremen intended him to be. Druids--they used the magic like fools played with fire: astounded at its possibilities, yet terrified of its risks. No wonder the flames had burned them so often. But that did not prevent them from refusing their mysterious gift. They were so quick to judge others who sought to wield the power‰Û”the Shadowen foremost‰Û”to see them as the enemy and destroy them.

As they had destroyed themselves.

But there was symmetry and meaning in the Shadowen vision of life, and the magic was no toy with which they played but the heart of who and what they were, embraced, protected, and worshipped. No half measures in which life’s accessibility was denied or self-serving cautions issued to assure that none would share in the use. No admonitions or warnings. No gamesplaying. The Shadowen simply were what the magic would make them, and the magic when accepted so would make them anything.

The tree-tips of the forests and the cliffs of the Runne were dark humps against the flat, silver-laced surface of the Rainbow Lake. Rimmer Dall gazed out upon the world, and he saw what the Druids had never been able to see.

That it belonged to those strong enough to take it, hold it, and shape it. That it was meant to be used.

His eyes burned the color of blood.

It was ironic that the Ohmsfords had served the Druids for so long,
carrying out their charges, going on their quests, following their visions to truths that never were. The stories were legend. Shea and
Flick, Wil, Brin and Jair, and now Par. It had all been for nothing. But here is where it would end. For Par would serve the Shadowen and by doing so put an end forever to the Ohmsford-Druid ties.

“Par. Par. Par.?”

Rimmer Dall whispered his name soothingly to the night. It was a litany that filled his mind with visions of power that nothing could withstand.

For a long time he stood at the window and allowed himself to dream of the future.

Then abruptly he wheeled away and went down into the tower’s depths to feed.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Lots of typos

    Enjoyed the story, but the typos were excessive. Half the time Coll's name was spelled Coil, which became increasingly annoying as the story progressed. This is a book from a well known author. I'm disapointed so little attention was given to proof-reading it.


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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    Light reading

    Having read a few fantasy books in my day, I found this one very similar to most of the others. It was good enough for me not to get bored with it but not good enough for me to rave in a review about it.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Talismans of Shannara, the Heritage of Shannara series, Book 4

    Coming soon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    Words cannot describe this!

    This book was a great conclusion to the Heritage of Shannara series. It had me laughing, crying, excited, and devestated! Everything you could feel came out when I read this novel! I will not give away what happens, but I love what happens with Par and Coll! Also, I am so happy that Matty and Morgan met! They are a great couple! This was a really good book, and if you are reading the series, I suggest this one! Also, if you are new to it, I suggest the first books of the series and to continue on! I cannot choose which Terry Brooks' book I love best! They are all fantastic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2006

    I wish there was a 10-star rating !!! ^-^ ^-^ ^-^

    I absolutely love these books!!! I can't get enough of them!! Every time I finish the Shannara books that I have, I speed through my other books just so that I can re-read the Shannara novels. If you are a Shannara fan, or just a fan of fantasy books, then I would highly recommend this book, and all the other books in this series. (In order: The Scions of Shannara, The Druid of Shannara, The Elf Queen of Shannara, and this book The Talismans of Shannara)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2004

    Terry Brooks has not let me down yet!

    This book is the last installment of the Heritage of Shannara series. If you have read the previous books, this is a MUST. After all the losses that the characters endure, one is never sure what is going to happen next...But readers won't be disappointed! This book is what ties it all together, and I can't wait to start the next series by Terry Brooks!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2004

    Simply awesome!

    Great read, great book, perfect finale to the series. Has dozens of twists and endings. This is off topic, but for those other 'genius' reviewers who spoiled this books surprises by revealing important plot twists, WHY?!! This book's twists were blown for me even before I read it. Thanks a lot. Oh back to the back. Ending is perfect in my opinion, and overall grade is 95/100

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2003


    this book was simply amazing. i practically gasped at the surprises around every page, and the ending, it may be one of those classic happy endings, but i started to wonder what will happen after. but anyways, back to the story: the part when it turns out that it is Coll who is supposed to use the sword of shannara simply shocked me. but still, coll has top do something, right? well, even though he had no trace of elf on him, he was able to use it. i mean how? Terry Brooks simply uses the element of surprise effectively and kept me hooked. now thats an amazing book, eh?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    The Best from Brooks

    This is the best book Terry Brooks has ever written, including his newest release Jarka Ruus:High Druid of Shannara. The antagonist, Rimmer Dall, is one of the most wickedly evil and uniquely complex people I have ever read about. And the awesome powers that each talisman held were creative and completely intriguing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2003

    review for the talismans

    A really great read; great way to end it all up, and still keeps you on the edge of your seat with mind boggleing twists and turns

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2002

    WONDERFUL , SPECTACULAR !!!!!! Id give it 10 stars. Terry Brooks is the BEST.

    Terry Brooks is one of the BEST authors I have ever read. He is like Tolkien but more intense. He always does the unexpected. His stories have everything. War, death, romance, etc... In this book you finally know what happens with the Ohmsfords. Walker Boh- the last druid, Wren- Elf Queen, Par and Coll- ??? His books always keep you wanting more..... I WANT MORE. I read all his books in 3 months. Thats how good he is. Lets see thats like 10 books. Read ALL his books. They are THE BEST.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2002


    I read this book before the preceding three and thought it was just amazing. The action starts from the first chapter and keeps you enthralled until the end page. I am now going to read the previous books to see how they all arrived at this end. The whole Shannara series are excellent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2000

    A griping sequel to the shannara series

    This book was one of the best in the series I have read alot of books but this one was great not just the book but the whole series was outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000


    This book was one of the best that I have read by Terry Brooks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 1999

    Shannara RULES

    There haven't been many series I have read which gripped me the way the Shannara series did.I have read the entire series twice.Thank you Terry Brooks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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