Tanequil (High Druid of Shannara Series #2)

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Overview

Dark magic has opened a gateway to the Forbidding and trapped within it Grianne Ohmsford, rightful High Druid of Shannara. Rescuing Grianne will be merely the beginning of the effort to return the Four Lands to some semblance of peace. Only her young nephew, Penderrin, has any hope of returning her to power. But to breach the Forbidding and bring Grianne back to the natural world, Pen must find the fabled Tanequil . . . and the talisman it alone can provide. That means journeying into the Inkrim–a dreaded region ...

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Tanequil (High Druid of Shannara Series #2)

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Overview

Dark magic has opened a gateway to the Forbidding and trapped within it Grianne Ohmsford, rightful High Druid of Shannara. Rescuing Grianne will be merely the beginning of the effort to return the Four Lands to some semblance of peace. Only her young nephew, Penderrin, has any hope of returning her to power. But to breach the Forbidding and bring Grianne back to the natural world, Pen must find the fabled Tanequil . . . and the talisman it alone can provide. That means journeying into the Inkrim–a dreaded region thick with shadows and haunted by harrowing legends. And there, Pen will strike a bargain more dire than he could ever imagine.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
From Terry Brooks -- the undisputed master of the epic quest fantasy -- comes Tanequil, the second volume of his High Druid of Shannara trilogy, a saga that puts the fate of the world in the hands of a boy charged with an impossible task.

With war destroying the Four Lands and an evil witch heading the Druid Council, Shannara's only chance of peace lies with Penderrin Ohmsford, an unassuming young man who must somehow find his aunt Grianne and restore her to her rightful place as High Druid of Shannara. With a hideously deformed assassin hot on his trail and an army of Druids scouring the Four Lands in search of him, all Pen has to do is travel hundreds of miles through a ghoul-infested wilderness, find a sentient tree (called the Tanequil), ask it for a limb, and fashion the branch into a darkwand that is capable of opening a portal to the Forbidding -- a mythical realm inhabited by demons and other monstrosities -- where his aunt is imprisoned.

Longtime fans who have followed this series since its inception (The Sword of Shannara, 1977) will be delighted by the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, which is (partially) set in a realm of the Shannara universe that has never been explored before: the hellish Forbidding.

As readers have come to expect -- and demand -- from Brooks, this adventure-powered narrative is filled with an irresistible group of fresh characters (trolls, elves, dwarves, et al.) who breathe new life into the much-chronicled history of this magical realm. Paul Goat Allen

From the Publisher
“A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters. If you haven’t read Terry Brooks, you haven’t read fantasy.”
–Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon

“[The] Shannara books make up the most important contribution to fantasy literature since The Lord of the Rings.”
–Rocky Mountain News

“Nonstop action [and] well-honed characterizations . . . will certainly satisfy his devoted following.”
–Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Make a wish on an Elfstone and anything can happen, including a fresh second installment (after 2003's Jarka Russ) in Brooks's bestselling High Druid fantasy trilogy, part of the long-running Shannara series whose magic has been showing signs of wear. As the Free-born Federation war continues in the Four Lands, life is packed with peril for the Ohmsford family. While High Druid Grianne Ohmsford languishes in the Forbidding, a demon tracks her gifted nephew, Pen, with orders to kill him from the Druid responsible for her banishment, the evil Shadea a'Ru. Young Pen and his followers perky Elven Elfstone carrier Khyber, grumpy dwarf Tagwen, blind Rover girl Cinnaminson and helpful Rock Trolls seek the tanequil, a mysterious tree from which a "darkwand" must be formed that will aid Pen in rescuing his aunt from the Forbidding. Pen's parents, Bek and Rue, are also ensnared by Shadea, an uneasy ally of Sen Dunsidan, the Federation's prime minister. New readers may feel a little disoriented by unfamiliar references, but Brooks's efficient pacing, skillful characterizations and suspenseful plotting all bode well for the trilogy's conclusion. Anne Sibbald at Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug. 31) Forecast: Brooks has more than 21 million books in print. Expect another bestseller. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Brooks serves up another offering set in the Shannara universe. He follows the standard recipe that established him as a giant in the genre. His recipe has become comforting, just like diner food; one knows that the meal will be decent but predictable. This sequel to Jarka Ruus (Del Rey, 2003/VOYA February 2004) in the High Druid of Shannara trilogy is filled with subplots, but the main plot focuses again on Pen Ohmsford and his quest companions. They continue their mission to rescue Pen's aunt, Grianne, who is trapped in the dangerous world known as The Forbidding. Their quest is fraught with peril-but what fantasy quest is not-that includes being stalked by a demon intent on the death of Pen and his allies. The title refers to an ancient tree that Pen needs to find: A branch from the tree will allow Pen to cross over to The Forbidding. Brooks needs to branch out and escape his own Shannara universe. His books, although solid and filled with strong characters, are not covering any new territory. Fans will enjoy this new offering; however, new readers will be confused if they have not read Jarka Ruus. Although recommended for libraries where Brooks's books and fantasy in general are popular, these titles emulate Tolkien, and a thesis could be written on the similarities between the two authors. If readers are tired of Brooks's bestsellers, refer them to Tolkien's works. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Del Rey, 368p., Ages 12 to Adult.
—David Goodale
Library Journal
Powerful and malevolent magic has trapped Grianne Ohmsford, High Druid of Shannara, in the realm of the Forbidding, and it falls to her nephew Pen Ohmsford to come to her rescue. With his companions the dwarf Tagwen, Khyber the elf, and Kermadec the troll, Pen looks for the intelligent tree known as the Tanequil, which may help him find Grianne-and escape the assassin on his trail. Brooks's ever-popular "Shannara" series continues with another strong entry (after Jarka Ruus). Libraries should purchase multiple copies if there is demand. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345499110
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Series: High Druid of Shannara Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 135,240
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including The Genesis of Shannara novels: The Elves of Cintra and Armageddon’s Children; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars:® Episode I The Phantom Menace.™ His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Visit the world of Shannara online at www.shannara.com and at Terrybrooks.net

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

One

Sen Dunsidan, Prime Minister of the Federation, paused to look back over his shoulder as he reached his sleeping chambers.

There was no one there who shouldn’t be. His personal guard at the bedroom doorway, the sentries on watch at both ends of the hallway—no one else. There never was. But that didn’t stop him from checking every night. His eyes scanned the torchlit corridor carefully. It didn’t hurt to make certain. It only made sense to be careful.

He entered and closed the door softly behind him. The warm glow and sweet candle smells that greeted him were reassuring. He was the most powerful man in the Southland, but not the most popular. That hadn’t bothered him before the coming of the Ilse Witch, but it hadn’t stopped bothering him since. Even though she was finally gone, banished to a realm of dark madness and bloodlust from which no one had ever escaped, he did not feel safe.

He stood for a moment and regarded his reflection in the full-length mirror that was backed against the wall opposite his bed. The mirror had been placed there for other reasons: for a witnessing of satisfactions and indulgences that might as well have happened in another lifetime, so distant did they seem to him now. He could have them still, of course, but he knew they would give him no pleasure. Hardly anything pleasured him these days. His life had become an exercise conducted with equal measures of grim determination and iron will. Political practicalities and expediencies motivated everything he did. Every act, every word had ramifications that reached beyond the immediate. There was no time or place for anything else. In truth, there was no need.

His reflection stared back at him, and he was mildly shocked to see how old he had become. When had that happened? He was in the prime of his life, sound of mind and body, at the apex of his career, arguably the most important man in the Four Lands. Yet look what he had become. His hair had gone almost white. His face, once smooth and handsome, was lined and careworn. There were shadows in places where his worries had gathered like stains. He stood slightly stooped, where once he had stood erect. Nothing about him reflected confidence or strength. He seemed to himself a shell from which the contents of life had been drained.

He turned away. Fear and self-loathing would do that. He had never recovered from what the Morgawr had put him through the night he had drained the lives from all those Free-born captives brought out of the Federation prisons. He had never forgotten what it had felt like to watch them become the living dead, creatures for which life had no meaning beyond that assigned by the warlock. Even after the Morgawr had been destroyed, the memory of that night lingered, a whisper of the madness waiting to consume him if he strayed too far from the safety of the pretense and dissembling that kept him sane.

Becoming Prime Minister had imbued him with a certain measure of respect from those he led, but it was less willingly bestowed these days than it had been in the beginning, when his people still had hope that he might accomplish something. That hope had long since vanished into the rocks and earth of the Prekkendorran, where so many had shed their blood and lost their lives. It had vanished with his failure not only to end the war that had consumed the Four Lands for the better part of three decades, but even to bring it closer to a meaningful conclusion. It had vanished in his failure to enhance the prestige of the Federation in the eyes of those for whom the Southland mattered, leaving bitterness and disappointment as the only legacy he could expect should he die on the morrow.

He walked to his bed and sat down, reached automatically for the goblet that had been placed on his bedside table, and filled it from the pitcher of wine that accompanied it. He took a long drink, thinking that at least he had managed to rid himself of the intolerable presence of Grianne Ohmsford. The hated Ilse Witch was gone at last. With Shadea a’Ru as his ally, even as treacherous as she was, he had a reasonable chance of ending the stalemates that had confronted him at every turn for the last twenty years. Theirs was a shared vision of the world’s future, one in which Federation and Druids controlled the destinies and dictated the fates of all the Races. Together, they would find a way to bring an end to the Free-born–Federation war and a beginning to Southland dominance.

Although it hadn’t happened yet, and nothing he could point to suggested it would happen anytime soon. Shadea’s failure to bring the Druid Council into line was particularly galling. He was beginning to wonder if their alliance was one-sided. She had the benefit of his open support and he, as yet, had nothing.

Thus, he was forced to look over his shoulder still, because doubt lingered and resistance to his leadership grew.

He had just emptied his goblet and was thinking of filling it anew when a knock sounded at his door. He jumped in spite of himself. Once, an unexpected silence would have startled him. Those he feared most, the Ilse Witch and the Morgawr, would not have bothered to knock. Now every little sound caused the iron bands that wrapped his chest and heart to tighten further. He gave them a moment to loosen, then stood, setting the empty goblet carefully on the table beside him.

“Who is it?”

“Apologies, Prime Minister,” came the voice of his Captain of the Guard. “A visitor wishes a word with you, one of your engineers. He insists it is most urgent, and from the look of him, I would judge it to be so.” A pause. “He is unarmed and alone.”

Dunsidan straightened. An engineer? At this time of night? He had a number of them working on his airships, all of them assigned to find ways to make the component pieces of his fleet work more efficiently. But few, if any, would presume to try to talk to him directly, especially so late at night. He was immediately suspicious, but reconsidered as he realized that an attempt to see him under these conditions indicated a certain amount of desperation. He was intrigued. He put aside his reservations and irritation and stepped to the door.

“Enter.”

The engineer slid through the doorway in the manner of a ferret to its hole. He was a small man who lacked any distinguishing physical characteristics. The way he held himself as he faced Sen Dunsidan suggested that he was a man who recognized that it was important not to overstep. “Prime Minister,” he said, bowing low and waiting.

“You have something urgent to speak to me about?”

“Yes, Prime Minister. My name is Orek. Etan Orek. I have served as an airship engineer for more than twenty years. I am your most loyal servant and admirer, Prime Minister, and so I knew that I must come directly to you when I made my discovery.”

He was still bent over, not presuming to address Sen Dunsidan as an equal. There was a cringing quality to his posture that bothered the Prime Minister, but he forced himself to ignore it. “Stand up and look at me.”

Etan Orek did so, though his effort at meeting Sen Dunsidan’s practiced gaze failed, his eyes preferring to fix on the other’s belt buckle. “I apologize for disturbing you.”

“What sort of discovery have you made, Engineer Orek? I gather this has something to do with your work on my airships?”

The other nodded quickly. “Oh, yes, Prime Minister, it does. I have been working on diapson crystals, trying to find ways to enhance their performance as converters of ambient light to energy. That has been my task for the better part of the past five years.”

“And so?”

Orek hesitated. “My lord,” he said, switching to the more formal and deferential title, “I think it best if I show you rather than tell you. I think you will better understand.” He brushed at his mop of unruly dark hair and rubbed his hands together nervously. “Would it be too much of an imposition to ask you to come with me to my work station? I know it is late, but I think you will not be disappointed.”

For a moment, Sen Dunsidan considered the possibility that this might be an assassination attempt. But he dismissed the idea. His enemies would surely come up with a better plan than this if they were serious about eliminating him. This little man was too fearful to be the instrument of a Prime Minister’s death. His presence was the result of something else, and much as he hated to admit it, Sen Dunsidan was increasingly interested in finding out what it was.

“You realize that if this is a waste of my time, there will be unpleasant consequences,” he said softly.

Etan Orek’s eyes snapped up to meet his, suddenly bold. “I am hoping that a reward will be more in order than a punishment, Prime Minister.”

Dunsidan smiled in spite of himself. The little man was greedy, a quality he appreciated in those who sought his favor. Fair enough. He would give him his chance at fame and fortune. “Lead the way, Engineer. Let us see what you have discovered.”

They went out the door of the bedchamber and into the hallway beyond. Instantly, Sen Dunsidan’s personal guard fell into step behind them, warding his back against attack, lending him fresh confidence just by their presence. There had never been an assassination attempt against him, although he had uncovered a few plots that might have led to one. Each time, those involved had been made to disappear, always with an explanation passed quietly by word of mouth. The message to everyone was made clear: Even talk of removing the Prime Minister from office would be regarded as treason and dealt with accordingly.

Still, Sen Dunsidan was not so complacent as to think that an attempt would not be made eventually. He would be a fool to think otherwise, given the restless state of his government and the discontent of his people. If an assassination attempt were successful, those responsible would not be condemned for their acts. Those who took his place would reward them.

It was a narrow, twisting path he trod, and he was aware of the dangers it held. A healthy measure of caution was always advisable.

Yet that night he did not feel such caution necessary. He couldn’t explain his conclusion, other than to tell himself that his instincts did not require it, and his instincts were almost always correct. This little man he followed, this Etan Orek, was after something other than the removal of the Prime Minister. He had come forward very deliberately when few others would have dared to do so, and for him to do that, he had to have very specific plans and, in all likelihood, a very specific goal. It would be interesting to discover both, even if it proved necessary to kill him afterwards.

They passed through the Prime Minister’s residential halls to the front entry, where another set of black-cloaked guards stood waiting, backs straight, pikes gleaming in the torchlight.

“Bring the coach around,” Sen Dunsidan ordered.

He stood waiting just inside the door with Etan Orek, watching as the other shifted anxiously from foot to foot and cast his eyes everywhere but on his host. Every so often, it appeared he might speak, but then he apparently thought better of it. Just as well. What would they talk about, after all? It wasn’t as if they were friends. After tonight, they would probably never speak again. One of them might even be dead.

By the time the coach rolled into the courtyard beyond the ironbound entry doors, Sen Dunsidan was growing impatient with the entire business. It was taking a lot of effort to do what his engineer had asked, and there was no reason in the world to think the trouble would be worthwhile. But he had come this far, and there was no point in dismissing the matter until he knew for certain that it merited dismissal. Stranger things had happened over the years. He would wait before passing final judgment.

They boarded the coach, his guards taking up positions on the running board to either side and on the front and rear seats outside the cab. The horses snorted in response to the driver’s commands, and the coach lurched ahead through the darkness. The compound was quiet, and only the lights that burned in a scattering of windows indicated the presence of the other ministers of the Coalition Council and their families. Outside the compound walls, the streets roughened, smells sharpened, and sounds rose as a result of the greater numbers housed there. Overhead, the moon was a bright, unclouded orb in the firmament, shining down on Arishaig with such intensity that the city lay clearly revealed.

On nights like this, the Prime Minister thought darkly, magic often happened. The trick was in recognizing if such magic was good or bad.

At the airship field, on the north edge of the city, Etan Orek directed them to one of the smaller buildings, a block-shaped affair that sat beyond the others and clearly was not used to house anything so grand as a flying vessel. A sentry on watch came out to greet them. Clearly confused and intimidated by the unexpected appearance of the Prime Minister, he nevertheless hastened ahead of the entourage to unlock the doors to the building.

Once there, the engineer led the way, indicating a long corridor barely lit by lamps at each end, the spaces between dark stains and shadowed indentations. Two of Sen Dunsidan’s guards moved ahead, taking note of each place in which an assassin might hide, close on the heels of an impatient Etan Orek.

Halfway down a second corridor, the engineer stopped before a small door and gestured. “In here, Prime Minister.”

He opened the door and let the guards enter first, their bulky forms disappearing at once into shadow. Inside, they fired torches set in wall brackets, and by the time Sen Dunsidan entered, the room was brightly lit.

The Prime Minister looked around doubtfully. The room was a maze of tables and workbenches piled high with pieces of equipment and materials. Racks of tools hung from the walls, and shards of metal of all sizes and shapes littered the floor. He saw several crates of diapson crystals, the lids pried open, the crystals’ faceted surfaces winking in the flicker of the torchlight. Everything in the room seemed to have been scattered about in haphazard fashion and with little concern for what it might take to find it later.

Sen Dunsidan looked at Etan Orek. “Well, Engineer Orek?”

“My lord,” the other replied, bowing his way forward until he stood very close—too close for the Prime Minister’s comfort. “It would be better if you saw this alone,” he whispered.

Sen Dunsidan leaned forward slightly. “Send my guards away, you mean? Isn’t that asking a little bit more than you should?”

The little man nodded. “I swear to you, Prime Minister, you will be perfectly safe.” The sharp eyes glanced up quickly. “I swear.”

Sen Dunsidan said nothing.

“Keep them with you, if you feel the need,” the other continued quickly, then paused. “But you may have to kill them later, if you do.”

Dunsidan stared at him. “Nothing you could show me would merit such treatment of the men in whose hands I daily place my life. You presume too much, Engineer.”

Again, the little man nodded. “I implore you. Send them away. Just outside the door will do. Just so they don’t see what I have to show you.” His breathing had quickened. “You will still have them within call. They can be at your side in a moment, should you feel you need them. But they will also be safely away, should you decide you don’t.”

For a long moment, Sen Dunsidan held the other’s gaze without speaking, then nodded. “As you wish, little man. But don’t be fooled into thinking I have no way to defend myself should you try to play me false. If I even think you are trying to betray me, I will strike you dead before you can blink.”

Etan Orek nodded. An unmistakable mix of fear and anticipation glittered in his eyes. Whatever it was, this business was important to him. He was willing to risk everything to see it through. Such passion worried Sen Dunsidan, but he refused to let it rule him. “Guards,” he called. “Leave us. Close the door. Wait just outside, where you can hear me if I summon you.”

The guards did as they were told. Once, there would have been hesitation at such a request. Now, after having survived a handful of unpleasant examples resulting from such hesitation, they obeyed without question. It was the way Sen Dunsidan preferred them.

When the door was closed, he turned again to Etan Orek. “This had best be worth my time, Engineer. My patience is growing short.”

The little man nodded vigorously, running his hand through his dark hair as he led the way to the far end of the room and a long table piled high with debris. Grinning conspiratorially, he began to clean away the debris, revealing a long black box sectioned into three pieces.

“I have been careful to keep my work hidden from everyone,” he explained quickly. “I was afraid they might steal it. Or worse, sell it to the enemy. You never know.”

He finished clearing the table of everything but the box, then faced Sen Dunsidan once more. “My assigned task for the past three years has been to seek new and better ways in which to convert ambient light into energy. The purpose, as I am sure you are aware, is to increase the thrust of the vessels in combat conditions, so that they might better outmaneuver their attackers. All my efforts to readapt a single crystal failed. The conversion is a function of the crystal’s composition, its shaping and its placement in the parse tube. A single crystal has a finite capability for conversion of light into energy, and there is nothing I have found that will alter that.”

He nodded, as if to reassure himself that he was right about this. “So I abandoned that approach and began to experiment with multiple crystals. You see, Prime Minister, I reasoned that if one crystal will produce a certain amount of energy, then two working together might double that figure. The trick, of course, is in finding how to channel the ambient light from one crystal to the next without losing power.”

Sen Dunsidan nodded, suddenly interested. He thought he understood now why Etan Orek had been so anxious to bring him there. Somehow, the engineer had solved the dilemma that had plagued the Federation for years. He had found a way to increase the power generated by the diapson crystals used in his airships.

“At first,” the other went on, “all of my attempts failed. The crystals, when I found a way to place them so that their facets transferred their converted energy from one to the other, simply exploded in the tubes. The additional power was too much for any one of them to handle. So then I began working to combine more than two, attempting to find a different way to channel their energy in a manner that was not so direct and less likely to incur damage.”

“You were successful?” Sen Dunsidan could not contain himself. Etan Orek’s insistence on dragging out this business was wearing on him. “You found a way to increase the amount of thrust?”

The little man shook his head and smiled. “I found something else. Something better.”

He walked over to the torches and extinguished them one by one until only those by the door were still burning. Then he moved to the box and raised its hinged lid, revealing a series of diapson crystals of varying sizes and shapes that were nested in metal cradles throughout the three sections of the box. The crystals had been arranged in sequence from small to large and in lines, but each one was blocked front and back by a shield carefully cut to its individual size. Narrow rods that crisscrossed the chambers like spiderwebs connected all the shields.

Orek stepped aside so that Sen Dunsidan could peer inside. The Prime Minister did so, but could make no sense of what he was seeing. “This is what you brought me to see?” he snapped.

“No, Prime Minister,” the other replied. “I brought you to see this.”

He pointed to the far end of the room, where a piece of heavy metal armor was fixed to the wall. Then he pointed down again toward the very rear of the box, where dark canvas draped an object Sen Dunsidan had overlooked.

Etan Orek smiled. “Watch, my lord.”

He lifted away the canvas to reveal a diapson crystal that looked something like a multifaceted pyramid. The instant the canvas was removed, the pyramid began to glow a dull orange. “You see?” Orek pressed. “It begins to gather ambient light. Now, watch!”

Seconds later, he fastened his fingers about the crisscrossed rods and snatched away the network of shields.

Instantly, light erupted from the pyramid crystal and ricocheted through all the other crystals in the box, brightening them one by one with the same dull orange glow. Swiftly the light built, traveling down the length of the box from crystal to crystal, gathering power.

Then, with an audible explosion, the light shot through a narrow aperture at the front of the box in a thin ribbon of fire that struck the piece of armor at the far end of the room. The metal erupted in a shower of sparks and flames and then began to melt as the light burned a fist-size hole right through its center and into the wall beyond.

Swiftly, Etan Orek pulled on a rod attached to the cradle in which the rear crystal rested, taking it out of line in the sequence. At once, the other crystals began to lose their power and their light began to fail. The engineer waited a few moments, then dropped the connecting shields back into place and re-covered the rear crystal with the canvas.

He turned to Sen Dunsidan and did not miss the look of shock on the Prime Minister’s face. “You see?” he repeated eagerly. “You see what it is?”

“A weapon,” Dunsidan whispered, still not quite believing what he had witnessed. At the far end of the room, the piece of target metal was still red-hot and smoking. As he stared at it, he envisioned a Free-born airship in its place. “A weapon,” he repeated.

Etan Orek stepped close. “I have told no one else. Only you, my lord. I knew you would want it that way.”

Sen Dunsidan nodded quickly, recovering his composure. “You did well. You will have your reward and your recognition.” He looked at the engineer. “How many of these do we have?”

The engineer looked pained. “Only the one, Prime Minister. I have not been able to build another yet. It takes time to calculate the proper angle and refraction needed. No two crystals are exactly alike, so each of these boxes will have to be built separately.”

He paused. “But one may be more than enough to do what is needed. Consider. To power the crystals in this box, I used only the torchlight by the doorway, a small and feeble source. Think of the power that you will have at your command when the crystals are exposed to bright sunlight. Think of the range and sweep when you increase the field of fire. Did you notice? The light does not burn the aperture at the front of the box. That is because it is glass-fused, and the light does not burn the glass as it does the metal. It heats it, singes it, but does not destroy it. We control the power of our weapon accordingly.”

Sen Dunsidan was barely listening, his thoughts racing ahead to what the discovery meant, to its vast possibilities, to the certainty he felt that in one bold stroke he could change the course of history. He was breathing hard, and it required an effort for him to calm himself enough to address his immediate concerns.

“You will tell no one of this, Etan Orek,” he instructed. “I will give you space and materials and a guard to allow you to work undisturbed. If you require help, you shall have it. You will report your progress to me and to me alone. Your superiors will be instructed that you have been assigned to a project of a personal nature. I want you to build me as many of these weapons as you can. Swiftly. If one is all you can manage, then one will have to do. But others would be most desirable and would enhance your reputation even further.”

He placed his hand on the engineer’s narrow shoulder. “I see greatness in you. I see a life of fame and fortune. I see a position of responsibility that shall transcend anything you have ever dreamed about. Believe me, the importance of what you have accomplished is impossible to exaggerate.”

Etan Orek actually blushed. “Thank you, Prime Minister. Thank you, indeed!”

Sen Dunsidan patted his shoulder reassuringly and departed the room. His waiting guards fell into step as he passed. Two he left stationed at the workroom door with strict orders to allow no one but himself to enter or leave. The engineer was to be kept under lock and key. He was to take his meals in his workroom. He was to sleep there as well. He was to be allowed to come out once a day for an hour when everyone else had gone home, but at no other time.

He was in his coach and riding back toward his bedchamber when he decided he would not have Etan Orek killed right away. He would keep him alive until he had constructed at least a handful of these marvelous weapons. He would keep him alive until after the Free-born army had been smashed and the Prekkendorran reclaimed.

Six weeks ought to be just long enough.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    Great read!

    I have not read a book that Terry Brooks has written that wasn't great. He just has a knack with writing in such a way that you feel you are there. He makes his characters just come alive and you are on the edge of your seat. I couldn't put the book down, in fact, I was forced to put the book down because my eyes got blurry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2010

    High Druid of Shannara - Tanaquil

    This book was very riviting. The characters, mesmerizing. I had a hard time putting this book down to do ordinary things that needed to be accomplished such as go to work. I could not wait to get back home to read more. The airships/ships mentioned in this story is amazing. Their ability to fly by using crystals and light as well be on water if need be. The characters in this book were life-like. Reading Terry Brook's Shanara books allow me to relax and feel a part of a grand story being told. Who would have known or guessed the Tanequil is a living magical Tree? I got so engrossed in the whole story that when it ended, I rushed out to buy the next series of books to keep the story of Shannara going.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    High Druid of Shannara is reading adventure

    The High Druid of Shannara series actually is made up of 17 books with one continuous theme. The chacters change and the objective of the story in each book changes but the stories have a central premise that carries on throughout. These books are thrilling, exciting and attention grabbing. I am reading book 16 now, Genesis of Shannara/The Elves of Cintra, and can not wait for the Gypsy Morph to arrive at my local store, which will conclude this series. I will continue with the remainder of Terry Brooks writings with assurance of great writing and entertainment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    Second part of a magnificent trilogy

    Tanequil is not only a worthy second part of Jarka Ruus, but is so incredible that it surpasses it by leaps and bounds (and a Terry Brooks novel that surpasses a Terry Brooks novel is a great novel!) The action is heart-pounding and exciting very few make it so hard for me to put a book down as Brooks! It takes you to the end of the novel before you realize it, and leaves you begging for more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2005

    OUTSTANDING

    Mr.Brooks has done it again!!!!! If you enjoyed reading Tolkiens Lord of the Rings you will love Terry Brooks Shannara Series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2005

    Brooks, you did it again!

    This second installment to the High Druid series, leaves you begging for more. Once you get over the initial shock of Jarka Ruus, Terry Brooks sends you another great story with plenty of twists. This book will make you look up when Straken, book three of the series, is to be released.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2005

    Creative Tale Works

    Once again, Terry Brooks has triumphed. As in years past, he manages to explore the depths of human emotion in a way disguised through fantasy epic and adventure. He was one of the reasons I chose to write, leading me to Grecian Rune, my first published novel. With Brooks, nothing seems impossible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2004

    All time best

    I beleive that every bit of this series has a reason behind it. It has kept me interested at every turn. I'll be one of the first in line for the next to come out as always

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2004

    WOW

    Ok, I Have to say, I was skeptical of this book, seeing as how Jarka Ruus, was not all that great, but i read Tanequil, and it was a piece of great literature. It held my interest, and left a great cliffhanger at the end, i cant wait for Straken!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2004

    Another Terry Brooks Book

    Yes, it's another very good Terry Brooks book. But notice I said good....not OH MY GOSH, THAT WAS AWESOME!!! His Sword of Shannara series were awesome. While this book still gave me chills and I read it in less than a week, it still had his same pattern that he uses in every book. It's just too identifiable at what he's about to do and how characters are matched up to previous ones. Their personas are too paralleled with past characters. But I will say in this one, he did a better job at it not doing it as often. But, (without giving much away) the thing that hurt Pen so much at the end was too obvious. I knew when the scenes of that part of the book started what was gonna happen. It is definately a must read for those Shannara fans. It does flow very well, I must say, and keep you wondering, and, unlike most second books in a trilogy, gave a lot of questions answered, but also gave some unanswered and left it just...hanging. Oh, I cannot wait for Straken!!! I wish it'd come out earlier...he has already completed it. Anyways, I'm going on and on. My point: read it. It's is very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2004

    Is that all??????

    Couldn't wait to finally get this, and now I can't believe it's finished so quickly. I would have appreciated more to have waited and anticipated this so long.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2004

    Oh, Honestly!

    This is ridiculous! Why does Terry Brooks, as well as many others, have to copy ideas from Tolkien. I know it's hard to not do that, but he's taking it waaaaay too far. Any fan of The Lord of the Rings could see that. Just reading the summary made me wretch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2004

    The Profit of Shannara

    Having been a Brooks fan since the early 80's, I never thought I would see the day when I would be disappointed in his writing. Perhaps it's just a case of me getting older, but this entire 'coming of age' angle employed by Brooks is getting old very fast. Frankly, I couldn't care less about Pen Ohmsford and the bad case of puppy love he has for Cinnaminson; I've seen it all before with Par and Beck. Another problem I have with this new series is the writing itself; on a couple of occasions, Brooks actually uses the word 'dazzling' to describe Pen's infatuation with Cinnaminson's smile. Ugh. And how many times must we be told that Pen 'reached for Cinnaminson's hand'? Give me a break. With the notable exception of Grianne's story line, which demonstrates Brooks's skills at their finest, this series should have never happened. It is my fervent hope that, following the completion of this current series, Brooks returns to the Word and the Void and its more serious, adult tone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2004

    I WANT MORE!!

    I loved this book! As always, Terry Brooks has done a great job, AGAIN. The story was well developed, and I like how Brooks switches to different characters at different times throughout the story. It was so hard to put down. I just hope the next installment comes quickly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2004

    Brooks is Brooks, and this is Brooks

    This book is pretty good. It is serious Terry Brooks. You can feel it when you are reading Brooks' work. It was pretty good, but I should have waited for the soft cover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2004

    Another great book

    I won an advanced readers edition of this book and in spite of not reading Jarka Ruus yet, this book was quickly engrossing. Brooks has done a wonderful job reviewing enough history to keep the flow, without making the first book meaningless. I will get Jarka Ruus as soon as I can find it and am eagerly waiting to see how the hints and spoilers in here fit together with the missing pieces to form the first book. Tanequil has a good flow. Brooks returned to the various characters enough to keep them in the story and progressing without abandoning anyone long enough to make them seem irrelevant. It also has a definite end that didn¿t feel like just an end of a chapter, like some middle books of trilogies I¿ve read. He was able to finish the book with enough hints and cliffhangers to make the wait for Straken agonizing, but still gives it a feeling of completeness. I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy fans, especially anyone who likes the previous Shannara books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2004

    Disappointing

    After his lackluster job ib Jarka Ruus, I was hoping that this second book would be better. It was, just not as good as I'd been led to believe. I keep expecting Brooks to return to his previous early Shannara type novels and instead he seems to be working off the same tired old formula. Grianne is reminiscent of Brin, though more apt to turn evil and more accpeting of her magic. Her brother is reminiscent of Shea and Bek and is like every other reluctant hero. Even his villians arenothing new, Shadea is like Brona, though not as well developed and I had expected the demon to have developed a more subtle and original method of controlling Grianne than the old over-used collar of obedience\pain device. Jordan's used that idea to death, as have many others. How about some kind of mind control spell powerful enough to make her forget she even had magic or something? That would have been more interesting. I keep hoping that someday Brooks will give us a strong female magical character, one similar to Allanon, who is not reluctant or afraid of magic and can work together with other strong characters to form a new kind of government after casting out the Federation. Sadly, I think I'll be waiting a long time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2004

    A MUST READ for all Terry Brooks and Fantasy fans!!!

    There aren't enough great things to say about TANEQUIL! The story keeps moving along and contains lots of action for you to keep turning the pages. The only bad thing I can say about this book is that the next book, STRAKEN, is so far away from being released.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    Terry Brooks Fantasy Blockbuster

    Random House and Terry Brooks have a fantasy blockbuster winner with TANEQUIL. The action throughout, the colorful characters, the many intense and interesting relationships, the intriging situations that occur and the building suspense all contribute to an absolutely delightful reading experience. I just didn't want to put the book down. I'm already looking forward to STRAKEN. It's definitely gets a 5-star rating and I recommend it highly. John Sekerka

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding worldbuilding

    The dark creatures of faerie were banished to Jarka Ruus otherwise known as the Forbidding which is warded by the Elven tree the Ellcrys to prevent the creatures from coming into the world of Shannara. Grianne Ohmsford, the rightful High Druid of Paranor, was betrayed by a Druid who coveted her power position. With the help of Sen Dunsidan, the Prime Minister of the Federation, the traitor opened a portal and sent Grianne into the Forbidding. Shadea, the new High Druid is using Druid magic to become the ruling force in the Federation.................................. Shadea¿s ally Sen is using the same tactics to become the ruling power in the land. Grianne must come back to bring peace to a troubledworld and the only one who can find her and bring her home is her nephew Pen Ohmsford. To enter the Forbidding he must find the sentient tree the Tanequil and persuade it to give him a branch so he can finish a dark wand that will allow him to enter through a portal at the Druid home of Paranor. Time is running out because Grianne is turning back into the Isle witch in order to survive the evil that surrounds her..................................... . Terry Brooks has once again created a fantastic fantasy set in the world of Shannara as well as in its evil twin the Forbidding. The contrast between these two worlds is the difference between dark and light with each a fascinating creation from the author¿s creative imagination. Terry Brooks is a brilliant world builder who is one of the premier fantasists around today with protagonists that claim a unique place in the reader¿s heart.......................... Harriet Klausner

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