Witch Wraith: The Dark Legacy of Shannara

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks comes the final thrilling novel in a brand-new trilogy—The Dark Legacy of Shannara!
 
For centuries the Four Lands enjoyed freedom from its demon-haunted past, protected by magic-enhanced borders from the dark dimension known as the Forbidding and the profound evil imprisoned there. But now the unthinkable is happening: The ancient wards securing the barrier between order and mayhem have ...
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Witch Wraith: The Dark Legacy of Shannara

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks comes the final thrilling novel in a brand-new trilogy—The Dark Legacy of Shannara!
 
For centuries the Four Lands enjoyed freedom from its demon-haunted past, protected by magic-enhanced borders from the dark dimension known as the Forbidding and the profound evil imprisoned there. But now the unthinkable is happening: The ancient wards securing the barrier between order and mayhem have begun to erode—and generations of bloodthirsty, monstrous creatures, fueled by a rage thousands of years in the making, are poised to spill forth, seeking revenge for what was done to them.
 
Young Elf Arling Elessedil possesses the enchanted means to close the breach and once more seal the denizens of the Forbidding in their prison. But when she falls into the hands of the powerful Federation’s diabolical Prime Minister, her efforts may be doomed. Only her determined sister, Aphen, who bears the Elfstones and commands their magic, has any hope of saving Arling from the hideous fate her captor has in store.
 
Meanwhile, Railing Ohmsford—desperate to save his imprisoned brother—seeks to discover if his famed but ill-fated ancestor Grianne is still alive and willing to help him save the world . . . no matter the odds or the consequences.

PRAISE FOR TERRY BROOKS
 
The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks’s cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy.”—Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!
 
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.”—Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear
 
“I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’s books I’ve read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
 
“Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading.”—Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy
 
“The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks.”—Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Only one thing protects the Four Lands from nightmarish anarchy: the protective magical barrier called the Forbidding. But over thousands of years, that boundary has degraded, threatening the lands and its inhabitants with the unleashed fury of the formerly damned. To save himself and his countryman, fledgling Elf Arling Elessendil must seal the breach, but her efforts seem doomed when she is captured by the conniving Prime Minister. Tensions run high and action runs rampant in the finale to this trilogy of trilogies.

Publishers Weekly
Thirty-six years after the publication of The Sword of Shannara, valiant elves and druids are still swiping away at evil creatures threatening to burst out of the Forbidden to threaten the Four Lands. Brooks concludes his nigh-interminable latest Shannara trilogy with a protracted quest to regenerate the Ellcrys, the magic tree that sustains the lands and contains the monsters in the Forbidden. Along the conventionally tortuous way strewn with unpronounceable fiends, Dark Lords and sorceresses, talking lizards, and well-intentioned callow youths, Brooks sprinkles a doomed love story featuring Aphenglow Elessedil, while Aphen’s sister, Arlingfant, must confront the high price demanded by the Ellcrys. Diehard Shannara fans may savor these inflated chronicles, but others will find themselves helplessly stranded in watered-down-Tolkien country. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)
From the Publisher
Praise for Witch Wraith
 
“Terry Brooks has written a slam-bang conclusion to his The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy with the stellar Witch Wraith. . . . He has a keen eye for great world-building as well as unforgettable characters. . . . The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy is arguably his best work to date.”—Associated Press
 
“The final chapter in Brooks’s latest trilogy set in his beloved world of Shannara peaks in a bittersweet conclusion that seems to set the stage for future books. A must for the numerous die-hard Shannara fans.”Library Journal
 
Praise for Terry Brooks
 
The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks’s cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy.”—Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!
 
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.”—Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear
 
“I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’s books I’ve read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
 
“Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading.”—Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy
 
“The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks.”—Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series

From the Hardcover edition.

Library Journal
The Elcryss tree is dying, and the barrier known as the Forbidding that had protected the Four Lands from demons is crumbling. On a desperate mission, Elven sisters Arling and Aphen Elessedil make their perilous way into the dark land behind the Forbidding in search of the magical Bloodfire that can renew the Elcryss and rebuild the barrier. In the meantime, brothers Railing and Redden Ohmsford conduct their own search for the missing Elfstones, source of Elven magic. When Arling falls into the hands of the Federation and Redden is imprisoned by the Straken Lord, all seems lost—but the determination and loyalty of their siblings and companions means there is hope yet. VERDICT The final chapter in Brooks's latest trilogy (Wards of Faerie; Bloodfire Quest) set in his beloved world of Shannara peaks in a bittersweet conclusion that seems to set the stage for future books. A must for the numerous die-hard Shannara fans.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307913722
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 514,729
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 4.98 (h) x 1.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Dark Legacy of Shannara adventures Wards of Faerie and Bloodfire Quest; the Legends of Shannara novels Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic; the Genesis of Shannara trilogy: Armageddon’s Children, The Elves of Cintra, and The Gypsy Morph; 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.

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

9780345523532|excerpt

Brooks / WITCH WRAITH

1

Railing Ohmsford stood alone at the bow of the Quickening and looked out at the starlit darkness. They were anchored for the night, the airship nestled in a copse of fir and hemlock, the sway of the ship in the soft breezes barely noticeable. It was well after midnight, and he should have been sleeping with the others. But sleep did not come easily these days, and when it did come it was haunted and left him wracked with a deep sense of unease. Better to stay awake where he could try to do something to control his thoughts, as dark as they were. Better to face his demons standing up, prepared to fight them off and hold them at bay.

He could not banish them, of course. He could not send them back to the empty places where they sometimes went, though increasingly less so these days.

Not that it mattered. He knew their faces. He knew their names.

Fear: that he might not be able to find Grianne Ohmsford and bring her back to face the Straken Lord because she was dead. Or because she was alive but could not be persuaded to leave the sanctuary in which she had placed herself, unwilling to risk a confrontation of the sort he was proposing. Or simply because she was Grianne and she had never been predictable.

Doubt: that he was doing the right thing in making this journey into the back of beyond because of a hope that had so little chance of succeeding. He should have been seeking his brother in the Forbidding, hunting for him there and bringing him out again in spite of the odds. Time was running out with every passing hour, and his brother was alone and had no one to help him and no way of knowing if help would ever come. Redden depended on him, and it must seem to his brother as if Railing had abandoned him.

Shame: that he was deceiving his companions on this quest, that he was keeping information from them that might dissuade them from continuing. The King of the Silver River had warned him that nothing would happen as he imagined, that there would be results he had not foreseen. The Faerie creature had told him he should turn back and travel instead into the Forbidding—the one place he knew he could never enter, so great was his terror at the prospect.

He felt himself to be a coward and a deceiver. He was consumed by his doubts and his shame, and it was growing increasingly difficult not to reveal this to the others. He tried to keep it hidden, masked by his false words and acts, but it was eating at him. Destroying him.

He left the vessel’s bow and walked back toward the stern, moving quietly, trying not to disturb the sleepers. Some were on deck, wrapped in blankets; some were below, rolled into hammocks. All slept save two of the Rover crew, who kept watch fore and aft. He saw the one at the stern and turned aside before he reached the man to take up a position near the starboard railing. Small creaks sounded as ropes and lines pulled taut and released again, and snores rose out of the shadows. He liked this quiet time, this confluence of shadows and sleep. Everything was at peace.

He wished he could be so.

It had only been two days now since they had set out from the Rainbow Lake, even though it felt more like twenty. They had debated among themselves that morning, on waking, as to the best route for their journey. The Charnals were unknown country to all but Skint. Even Farshawn and his Rovers had not come this way before. Railing and Mirai had traveled the Borderlands while conveying spare parts and salvage to customers, but had not gone farther north.

Railing favored coming up from the Rainbow Lake, following the corridor that snaked between the Wolfsktaag and the Dragon’s Teeth to the Upper Anar, and then continuing on through Jannisson Pass east of the Skull Kingdom and its dangers and straight along the western edge of the Charnals to the Northland city of Anatcherae—much the same route his grandfather Penderrin had taken while searching for the tanequil all those years ago. From Anatcherae, once resupplied, they could continue on to their destination.

But Skint had thought differently.

What they needed most, he declared, was a guide, someone who was familiar with the Charnals and could help them find the ruins of Stridegate, where it was said the tanequil might be found. There were few who could do that, and he was not one. In point of fact, he knew of only one man who could help them with this, one whose loyalty and knowledge they could depend upon. And even he would need persuading.

His name was Challa Nand, and he made his home in the Eastland town of Rampling Steep. But finding him would require that the company fly Quickening east of the Charnals and through the Upper Anar. It would necessitate abandoning the western approach to Stridegate and finding one that came in from the east. Challa could show them, if they were able to persuade him to their cause.

Railing knew he could rely on the ring given to him by the King of the Silver River to show them the way, but using it would mean either telling them about his meeting with the Faerie creature or lying about where he had gotten the ring. The ring could always be a backup if the need arose; the better choice was to keep it a secret for now.

So he agreed to Skint’s proposal, and the others went along, all of them keenly aware that they were in unfamiliar territory and needed to reduce the risks they would encounter.

Now here they were, on their way to Rampling Steep, anchored at the northern edge of Darklin Reach not far from where the Rabb River branched east into the Upper Anar. If he listened closely, Railing could hear the murmur of the river’s waters as they churned their way out of the mountains on their journey west to the plains and from there to the Mermidon. It was a distance of hundreds of miles, and it made him wonder if anyone had ever followed the river all the way from end to end. He supposed Gnome or Dwarf trappers and traders might have done so at some point, but he doubted that any had ever made a record of it.

“What are you doing?”

Mirai Leah was standing next to him. He hadn’t heard her come up, hadn’t realized she was there. He shrugged. “Can’t sleep.”

“Standing out here isn’t going to help. You need to get some rest. Are you all right?”

He gave her a quick glance. Her hair was rumpled, and she was yawning. “You look like the one who ought to be sleeping.”

“I would be if I weren’t worried about you. What’s bothering you, Railing?”

He could have given her a whole raft of answers, starting with how he felt about her and what it would mean to him if he caused her harm. But all he said was, “Nothing. I just couldn’t sleep.”

She draped an arm over his shoulders. Her touch made him shiver. “How long have we known each other?”

“Seems like forever. Since we were pretty small, anyway. I still remember when your parents brought you for your first visit. They came to see Mother. I didn’t like you then. You were kind of bossy.”

“Not much has changed. I’m still kind of bossy. So when I ask you what’s bothering you, it’s because I know something is. So what’s up?”

He brushed his red hair back and faced her. “Leaving Redden is eating at me. I can’t stand it that I’m not going after him.”

“Then why aren’t you?”

“Because I think this is the better choice.”

“Because you believe Grianne Ohmsford is alive and will come to Redden’s aid?” She studied him a moment. “We’ve already discussed this, and I don’t think that’s what’s troubling you at all. I think there’s something else, something you are keeping to yourself. Redden’s not here to confide in, so maybe you ought to try telling me.”

Here was his opportunity. She had called him out on what she clearly recognized, and he could unburden himself by telling her about his meeting with the King of the Silver River. He could admit what he was doing, how he was manipulating them. But that was something he would never do. He didn’t want her judging him. He wanted her to love him unconditionally and fully. He always had.

He fingered the ring, tucked deep in his pants pocket. “I need to go back to sleep. I’m sorry I woke you.” He started to walk away, and then he stopped and turned around. “I want you to know that I’m doing the best I can. If anything happens to Redden because of me, I don’t think I could stand it. I need you to believe that. I need you to support me and to . . .”

He trailed off. He couldn’t make himself speak the words: Love me. “Good night.”

“I will always support you, Railing,” she called after him.

Without looking back, he gave her a wave and disappeared back down the hatchway into the hold of the airship.

He had thought he might sleep then, weary and heartsick. But after a short, unsettling nap he was awake again, wide-eyed and restless. Moreover, there was a tugging sensation that brought him out of his blanket and back up the ladder to the deck, where he stood peering out from the ship’s railing and over the darkened countryside.

Something was out there. Something he must find.

He couldn’t explain how he knew this, but the feeling was so compelling that he did not stop to question it. He needed to find out what it was. Ignoring it for even another moment was impossible.

He walked over to the sentry at the bow and told him he was going for a walk, but that he would be careful. The Rover clearly understood it would be a mistake to question the leader of their company, though he offered to accompany him. But Railing refused.

Once off the vessel and out in the night alone, Railing gave himself over to his strange compulsion, following his instincts. He felt oddly unthreatened. It might have been because of what he had survived in the Fangs—the days of attacks by the Goblins and the constant use of his wishsong magic to throw back the hordes in the debilitating struggle to stay alive. He had proved something to himself in those terrible days when others had died all around him. He had found, through his magic, a source of strength and resilience that he had not known he possessed. He had demonstrated to himself that he could be stronger than he had believed. Before, the wishsong had never been more than a means of ramping up the excitement on each new adventure, or of pushing ever harder against the limits that common sense told him not to exceed. But what he took away from the Fangs was something different. It was a belief that his magic provided him a shield and sword he could use to protect both himself and those close to him. It was a belief that fostered confidence.

So he proceeded through the night’s shadows without fear. He did not hesitate in his search for what was calling to him or consider turning back. His mind was made up. The voice reminded him of his summoning by the King of the Silver River two nights earlier, and he wanted to know why that was. While it was different—different enough that he was certain it was something else entirely—it shared a kinship that intrigued him.

Railing.

His name, spoken clearly. Spoken by a voice he could not mistake because he had known it all his life.

It was Redden who called to him.

He brushed aside his shock and pushed ahead at a quicker pace, listening for more. Everything was still again, the voice gone as quickly as it had come. Yet the pull on him persisted. He pushed through woods and soon no longer knew in which direction he was going—or even from which he had come. He was proceeding blindly, responding to the lure with a heedless disregard for his own safety, and he finally began to wonder if he was in danger and did not recognize it.

Railing.

Again, his brother’s voice.

Now he slowed, no longer willing to rush ahead, worried that he had overstepped himself. He was lost at the very edge of Darklin Reach, which was not only strange but dangerous country. He was moving away from the Rabb; he knew this because he could no longer hear its rush. The silence was deep and pervasive, and only the cries of night birds broke its hush.

Ahead, just visible through the trees, a silvery glimmer caught his eye.

He wove his way through the woods and stepped out at the edge of a small lake. Fog lay eerily across its rippling surface. The waters lapped the shoreline and chopped about its windswept center in small bursts of spray. Though he tried, the boy could not make out what lay on the other side. The trees ringed the lake like a palisade, trunks dark and thick and seemingly impenetrable ten feet from where he stood. In the distance, through the gaps, he could spy the peaks of mountains.

Railing.

“I’m here, Redden,” he shouted back, feeling foolish for speaking aloud to a voice that was only in his head.

Laughter greeted his response, filling the air in long raucous peals that shattered the silence and spun out around the lake in waves. Railing took a step back, unsure of what was happening, knowing only that it wasn’t his brother he was hearing but something else entirely. The laughter was unsettling, inhuman. The boy would have bolted if not for the continuous tugging from inside his body, which held him rooted in place.

Then, from somewhere out in the middle of the lake, a dark shape began to form, sliding across the surface of the water as it came toward him.

Raaaiilingg.

His brother’s voice again, but it had a whining, pleading quality that it had never before possessed. He shuddered at the sound, unnerved by the neediness of its tone. But he stayed where he was, waiting on the thing that crested the lake’s surface and drew ever closer. He did not feel the fear that might otherwise have driven him into the woods. What he felt instead was a deep, inexplicable revulsion.

When the dark shape reached him, it was fully formed. It stood upon the waters and looked down on him.

“Brother.” Redden Ohmsford addressed him in a hollow, empty voice.

Railing was dumbstruck and could not respond.

“Did you think that if you did not come for me, I could not in my turn find a way to come to you? Did you abandon me with the expectation that I would simply vanish from your life and leave you in peace? Leave you to court Mirai alone? Did you believe that, even in death, I would not find a way to rejoin you?”

Railing fought back against a rising tide of despair. “You are not my brother. My brother isn’t dead. I would know it if he were!” He swallowed hard. “What are you? A shade? A changeling?”

The creature before him shimmered and began to transform again. “Perhaps I am you.”

And just like that Railing was looking at his mirror image—every detail recognizable, every line and feature in place.

“Why did you call to me? What do you want?”

“Oh, it isn’t what I want. It’s what you want.”

“That’s not true. This is all coming from you. And you are not me!”

“Well, then, descendant of Valemen and Druids, who am I?”

Railing racked his brain for an explanation, for a memory, for any hint of who or what this thing was. But he could not seem to think straight looking at a duplicate of himself.

“I have known your kin, and your ancestors great and small. I have spoken to some over the years. I spoke to Brin Ohmsford when she went in search of the Ildatch. And to Walker Boh when he went after the Black Elfstone.” The laughter returned, whispery and prodding. “Does that not tell you who I am?”

It did. Abruptly, Railing found the answer—both from his memories of his family’s history and from the stories told him by his father and repeated endlessly by his brother and himself.

“You are the Grimpond. You are a shade confined to this world, chained to this plane of existence.”

“An immortal creature who knows secrets that no one else does. A creature that possesses the ability to see the future. A being that might be of assistance to someone like you.”

Railing knew that the Grimpond was a spiteful prisoner of this world, trapped here for reasons that no one knew, hateful of all the Races, treacherous and inconstant. Whatever words it spoke—even though it did know things hidden from others—were not to be trusted.

“I thought you dwelled farther back in Darklin Reach, somewhere north of Hearthstone.” It was coming back to him now, the whole of what he knew of this shade. “How do you come to be here?”

The shade rippled and changed again, and now it was his mother who confronted him, her face stern and unforgiving. “You were told not to let anything happen to your brother, and yet you did. What sort of brother does that make you, Railing? What sort of son?”

Railing ignored the insults and folded his arms defensively. “I’m wasting my time here. If you have something to tell me, just say it. Otherwise, I am returning to my bed.”

“And you think you will sleep well knowing what you have done? How you have betrayed and manipulated those who depend on you? How you hide a gift from a Faerie creature because you are afraid to reveal your possession of it? How you have become a thing much worse than what you think me to be? Oh, I seriously doubt that you will sleep well at all!”

Railing fought back against his rising anger and deliberately kept his hands at his sides and out of his pockets. “Since you seem to know me so well, you must also know that nothing you can tell me will make a difference in how I feel about myself or my brother or my friends!”

“Nothing?” A meaningful pause. “Really?”

Railing took a deep breath. “What, then?”

“You are such a disappointment to me, Railing! Such a waste of possibilities.” His mother’s voice, cold and scolding. Then the shade rippled once more and suddenly it was a faceless being, cloaked and hooded. “It is I who shall go to bed and leave you to your fate.”

“You can know nothing of fate!” Railing’s hands were clenched into fists. “Only of secrets. You are a master of trickery and deceit. My fate is in my hands.”

The Grimpond went silent then, hovering like the fog from which it had emerged, the substance of it beginning to fragment and vanish. “If you are so convinced of that, go on your way. I am done with you. I would give you help, but you spurn me. You mistrust me, yet you refuse to see that I might have knowledge you lack. Knowledge you desire, Railing Ohmsford. Knowledge you crave.”

Railing stepped back, shaking his head slowly. “No, you would trick me with your words and your pretenses. You seek to play games with me. You did this with others in my family. The histories tell us so. You were never less than deceitful, and I will not become your latest victim.”

The Grimpond came back together again abruptly. “Why not hear my words and judge for yourself? Can mere words do so much harm that even to listen would undo you? Are you so frightened of me?”

The night closed down around the boy as he pondered a response. What should he say? Should he admit his fears and be done with it? Should he deny being afraid and demand that the other give him what he was promising? Should he walk away? The silence lengthened, and the Grimpond waited.

“I want you to do what you think you should,” Railing said eventually. “If you have something to say, I will listen. If not, I will leave.”

The Grimpond chuckled softly and shimmered once more. But this time it did not change form and did not give a quick retort. Instead, it seemed to consider.

“Hear me, then,” it said finally. “I summoned you to see what you were made of, that much is true. Had you been weaker, I might have tried to teach you a lesson. But now I will simply tell you what it is I know that you do not. You have come in search of Grianne Ohmsford. You would know her fate, and if there is a chance that she might be brought back to face the Straken Lord.”

He paused, and the boy waited patiently.

“She lives, Railing Ohmsford. She lives, and she can be what you need. She can do what you expect. If you wish that of her, you should continue on with the knowledge that what you seek is possible. Yet you should be careful what you ask for—an old phrase, but a good one to remember, because all is not as it seems. There are threads that might cause the whole to unravel, like the threads of the ring you carry in your pocket.”

Railing felt a surge of excitement. His efforts would not be wasted. His chances of finding Grianne and bringing her back to face the Straken Lord—and save his brother and possibly the Four Lands—were real. He understood what the Grimpond was telling him about things not working out as he hoped, but he had known that from the first. And any chance at all was the best he could hope for.

“Is this the truth?” he asked the shade. “Are you lying in any way?”

“Not a word of what you’ve heard is a lie, but your expectations may turn my words to falsehood. This is not my doing. Remember that. Keep the memory of what I have told you clear in your mind.”

“I will.”

The Grimpond shimmered and began to recede. “Enough of this. I came to say those words and I have said them. What happens now is up to you. I will watch your progress and record your reactions to everything that happens. It will be most entertaining for me.”

The boy watched the shade trail away like a shadow lost with the light’s passing—there one moment and gone the next. It was still visible as it reached the fog and passed through.

Then it melted away in a scattering of tiny particles and was gone.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    You will hate yourself

    All the reviews say don't bother but you are going to anyway because; 1- you are a die hard Terry Brooks fan and 2- this is the third book in the series and you HAVE to know how it ends! Well I did too and now my love affair with Terry Brooks writing is jaded and my three year old could have written a better ending.... please dont waste your money and just find a spoiler review online and pray his next book isn't just regurgitated character spew like this was.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I really tried to like this final book of the Dark Legacy of

    I really tried to like this final book of the <i>Dark Legacy of Shannara</i>
    trilogy, I really did, but I can't find the ability to enjoy this grimdark waste of paper. The previous two books were dark, but still hopeful, and then <i>Witch Wraith</i>
    went off the deep end.

    One thing that Terry Brooks seemed unable to understand as he wrote this is that “bittersweet” means that the ending is still a good one, albeit with some poignant examples of sorrow. But these sadder elements are not supposed to threaten to <i>eclipse</i>
    the happy ending, as they do so here.

    Suffice it to say that, with the exception of the Ellcrys being restored and the Ohmsford boys returning safely, almost nothing else turns out well. The whole books is one exercise in death and suffering. I can already hear the objection now, though. “Brooks always kills off some folks,” some will be wont to say. So what? Even though that is true, he has always preserved a reasonably happy ending. Not so here. Here the “happy ending” is that the world is saved, but the main and secondary characters' lives are in shambles. Wow! Isn't that just what I want to read?! Maybe I'll crack open a history book and read about the famine in the Ukraine while I'm on it. It would be the same level of optimism and enjoyment.

    I know some might be put-off by my snark here, and I am sorry for any offense given, but this is just too much for me. Instead of the man who wrote epic fantasy and provided you battles of good triumphing over evil, we have good in a crapsack living hell of a world, never seeming to really come out on top.

    What was done to a long-time character, the violence, bloodshed, not to mention the ridiculous sexual domination scenes in the previous book and this one, make this all just too much for me. I mean, what is this? Fantasy? Or <i>Fifty Shades of Shannara</i>
    ?

    I hope that future books go away from this latest trend in darker and edgier crap and towards a more hopeful time in earlier books. Until that happens, I won't read any newly published novels in this franchise, just the older ones. I recommend anyone else not read these either, and, for the time being, stop with some of the previous books, as the darkness here ruins the entire trilogy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Good Things I was able to return this,...Terry Brooks has lost s

    Good Things I was able to return this,...Terry Brooks has lost sight of The World Of Shannara and would probably be better serving the readers if he let another writer pick up writing from here on out.....Continuous killing off the Druids, Re-writing previous books with different characters in different locations while the pitch and tone of the books remain identical to his Straken novels. Disappointingly, Mr. Brooks last good writing was The Voyage Of The Jerle Shannara....Maybe we will be fortunate to get either Mr. Brooks or someone else to give us a quality trilogy detailing the tales of Galaphile, The First Druid Council, The Druid Brona in the beginning, and Bremen as a more vigorous Druid in his youth and his powers. Then if it is indeed Mr. Brooks intent to complete the ENTIRE SERIES CONCLUSION within the decade, then he might give us another Druid whom we would be able to appreciate with the same fervor as Bremen, Allanon, and Walker!!! Save your money....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I am extremely disappointed with this last trilogy. The first bo

    I am extremely disappointed with this last trilogy. The first book gives the impression of finding out the secrets in the time of  the Fay. 
    The second one is lacking , mostly in the long drawn out trip through the forbidding. This one is by far the worst one ever. It is almost identical to the story that grianne is sent to the forbidding. Mister brooks has taken two separate books from other parts of his series, and in my opinion, basically recompiled them with different characters. The whole story has the feeling of coming full circle for the truth about the elfstones and the forbidding. 
    The most exasperating thing, is the pages and pages of self pity from the characters. The only heroes in this are weka dart and Arling.  Very disappointing, too much old information and nothing new, for me to have wasted money on the three books

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Good but unfinished

    Terry this was a great book as ate all of your books...and I have read them all and have never been disappointed. This book was exciting and adventurous and kept you glued to the book. Well written. I was disappointed with how things turned out with Griane, Aphenglow, Tesla as well as Redden and Railing. Griane worked so hard to become good and be at peace then just ripped from that to be forever the evil witch of the forbidden. Just not a great ending, it seems so unfinished...it needs another book even if its just a short one to get some closure. You are my most favorite Author and cant wait for the high druids blade march 11.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 24, 2014

    It Happened Again

    Terry Brooks continues to write highly enjoyable fantasy books that are fast paced, full of action, and delves into human relationships.
    Great read that fits perfectly into the Shannara world!

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

    Posted October 25, 2013

    I was a bit disappointed.  I did not find Witch Wraith up to the

    I was a bit disappointed.  I did not find Witch Wraith up to the standard of previous Shannara books.  I am a fan of Brooks and have read all his work.  But this trilogy came off a little flat.  It is a good read; I read it quickly and it kept my attention.  And I would not recommend you do not read it..  It was just disappointing as compared to the quality of his prior work.
    It was a bit repetitive, compared to prior stories, I felt this was a set-up for a follow up story, rather than a complete story in of itself.  Read it, just do not expect it to be awesome.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Storm

    He nods "Okay"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 2, 2013

    Disappointed

    I am a huge terry brooks fan, but this book doesn't come close to what i expect from him.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2013

    Terry Brooks is always good!

    I have loved all of Terry's books since I first read The Sword of Shannara. Witch Wraith is excellent. All other authors pale to me because I always compare them to Brooks. Don't miss this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Kept me glued to my seat had a hard time putting it down.
    Can't wait for the next book (patiently that is).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2013

    Another Fine Terry Brooks book

    I have been reading his book from the beginning very engaging and well read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Very riveting all the way through, but Terry left enough hanging at the ending to produce another book to the saga.

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

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Excellent read!

    Terry Brooks continues to get your attention and throw you into the real of Shannara with a story that seems never ending...and that is quite alright by me!

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

    Posted August 22, 2013

    very good

    as always a great series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    I've read everything Terry Brooks has written so I guess you could call me a fan of his writing. He is on the top of my list along with R A Salvatore; Tad Williams; Anne McCaffrey; and others with a start for me reading J R R Tolkien. Terry Brooks is the type of author that makes you feel your in the tale. I can't wait until his new work comes out to read it.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Continues in the greatest style!

    This is why Terry Brooks is the greatest. He hasn't lost a thing over the years and many Shannaran adventures. Keep writing and we will keep reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Excellent

    Excellent finish to the series.

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

    Posted August 21, 2013

    Terry Brooks is awesome!

    Awesome! But, what else could you expect from Terry Brooks?

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

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Terry Brooks continues to delight and fascinate with his narrati

    Terry Brooks continues to delight and fascinate with his narratives and characterizations.  It is evident to me through this series that he is at the top of his craft and very comfortable with his story -telling skills, which he uses quite adeptly..  The world of Shannara was greatly deepened with this series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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