The World of Shannara

The World of Shannara

4.4 18
by Terry Brooks, Teresa Patterson

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The beloved Shannara series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks is universally acclaimed as a towering achievement, an unquestioned masterpiece in fantasy literature. Now, for the first time, all the wonders of Shannara have been gathered into one single, indispensable volume in which Terry Brooks shares candid views on his creation. Lavishly…  See more details below


The beloved Shannara series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks is universally acclaimed as a towering achievement, an unquestioned masterpiece in fantasy literature. Now, for the first time, all the wonders of Shannara have been gathered into one single, indispensable volume in which Terry Brooks shares candid views on his creation. Lavishly illustrated with full-color paintings and black-and-white drawings, this comprehensive guide ventures behind the scenes to explore the history, the people, the places, the major events, and of course the magic, of one of the world’s greatest fantasy epics.

What sets Terry Brooks apart? Is it a knack for creating complex, unforgettable characters like Allanon the Druid, Shea Ohmsford, and Amberle the elven-maid—men and women, gnomes and wizards, who come alive on the page and in our hearts? Is it the haunting and utterly believable evil of his darker creations: the foul Dagda Mor, the insanely murderous Jachyra, the enigmatic Ilse Witch? Or is it the way his adventures effortlessly partake of the timeless quality of myth? Whatever the secret of Brooks’s storytelling magic, generations of readers have fallen under its spell, returning again and again to the pages of beloved classics like The Elfstones of Shannara and The Druid of Shannara, and relishing his newest novels in the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara saga.

Sure to tantalize and delight old fans and newcomers alike, The World of Shannara is the ultimate gateway into the fantasy realms of Terry Brooks—and the perfect companion to take along on the journey of a lifetime.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

The detailed complexity of established fantasy worlds is among their most compelling and most limiting factors. Readers versed in the lore and legends of such worlds relish arcane historical tidbits and sprawling family trees. Newcomers, however, often find these worlds unfathomable. For this reason, this volume is likely to appeal only to loyal followers of Brooks's series, serving as a sort of encyclopedia to the historical, geographical, and magical culture of the Shannara novels. The fifteen chapters are organized primarily by region and give a brief overview of each of the Four Lands as well as discuss the various races that inhabit them and the chief cities or sites of each area. Inset boxes provide snapshot biographies of important persons, explanations of particularly potent magical items, and descriptions of unusual creatures. Frequent illustrations by David Cheny add color and visual appeal to the book. Although some fans will enjoy the detailed discussions of favorite characters or maps of important fortresses, others might regret that all of the new back stories and explanatory material are the work of Patterson, Brooks's chosen collaborator, rather than that of the author himself. Instead of investing in this volume, most libraries can best serve readers by making certain that plenty of copies of the original Shannara novels themselves are available. Illus. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Ballantine, 224p,
— Megan Isaac
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Number one on The New York Times best-seller list more than 30 years ago, Shannara (Del Rey) remains a masterpiece in fantasy literature. This volume, a guidebook to the "Shannara" epic, is beautifully illustrated with full-color and black-and-white drawings and includes descriptions of all the major characters with details of homelands including histories. The foreword was written by Brooks, giving his blessings to and thoughts on the project. Looking forward into the future and not interested in defining the past, he was convinced by friends that the time was right for a summary of his work. For anyone who wondered about the fortress Southwatch, there is a history. The maps, sketches, and detailed descriptions provide a blueprint, bringing the places to life. New and old fans will love reading about and actually seeing Brooks's druids, creepers, gnomes, wizards, and more come alive in the pages of this book. Hours of reading fun are packed in this volume.-Linda G. Sinclair, Alexandria Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Bremen: First Mystic Druid

The first Druid to actually succeed in promoting the combination of the study of magic with other disciplines was the Druid Bremen. Unfortunately, he succeeded primarily because he and his followers were the only Druids to survive Paranor’s fall during the Second War of the Races. Bremen is best known for his role in creating the legendary Sword of Shannara, a magic-imbued weapon he designed to defeat the Warlock Lord.

Abandoned by his parents shortly after birth, Bremen was raised by his grandfather, a skilled metalworker, who was probably responsible for both the boy’s understanding of metallurgy and his dedication. Always searching for knowledge, Bremen was a student of history and ancient tongues, disciplines that made him an ideal candidate for the Druid Council.

He joined the council as a young man and became active in assisting in the evolution and development of the Races. Over time, he watched as the Druid Council began to pull back from the rest of the world, disillusioned by its failure to re-create the old sciences.

Frustrated by the setbacks, Bremen began to look to magic as a possible alternative. In his early journal entries, now part of the Druid Histories, Bremen wrote: “Magic could provide a more manageable and durable form of power than that found through science. It has untapped potential beyond that of the sciences, even at the levels of scientific advancement found in the Old World.”

At that time, the study of the arcane arts was permissible but discouraged. Magic was to be treated as a curiosity only, not a serious discipline. One group of Druids had already been exiled for their insistence on the use of magic as a tool to make the Druids the masters of all the Races. Bremen was warned against traversing the same path. The fact that magic had been used in the First War of the Races to ill effect did nothing to help his cause. He wrote, “It is quite unnatural to me to discard a possibility simply because it has once failed. Do we discard science because we have failed to re-create the wonders of the Old World? Of course not. Why then discard magic just because it was once blatantly misused? If we discard every possibility that is not immediately successful, we are left with no possibilities at all.” He believed that magic could be harnessed and controlled with enough discipline and training.

A few of his fellows apparently agreed with him, but they were in the minority. Unwilling to risk censure, they backed away from the matter. Bremen did not. Eventually his insistence on considering magic a valid and serious alternative to science earned him banishment from the council.

After his banishment, Bremen traveled to the Westland to study with the Elves, where he lived for many years. He believed the Elven libraries, which had the greatest collection of ancient writings in lost Elven dialects, held the secret to understanding the old magic from the time of Faerie. The Elves embraced Bremen and his search, since they too were interested in rediscovering abilities that had been lost. Certain magics, such as some degree of the Druid Sleep, were skills Bremen already practiced. But with his knowledge of ancient tongues, he was able to uncover treasures of magical lore and decipher otherwise discarded texts that increased his knowledge and abilities far beyond what he would have gained at Paranor.

Inspired from his years of success with the Elves, Bremen left them to travel to other lands, seeking whatever lost bits of magic he could find, in much the same way as the early Druids had searched out the texts and lore related to the Old World sciences. According to his journals, he found an amazing amount of lost magic, though none as greatly concentrated or as highly developed as that within the Westland. In many cases, the magic he found was completely foreign to those who used it.

At some point in his travels, probably while in the Southland, Bremen began to suspect that the First War of the Races had not actually been organized by the Race of Men who appeared to have started it. He found evidence that the leader–referred to only as Brona, which means “master” in Gnome dialect–who had long been thought by the Druids of his order to be a mythic figurehead, was in fact a real being. Bremen suspected he was the leader of the Druids who had broken from the council and renounced their brotherhood over the question of magic many years before. He also found evidence that Brona was still alive, despite the impossible number of years that had passed, and was planning another assault on the Four Lands.

Unlike the rest of the Druids, Bremen had no trouble believing Brona could still be alive, because his own life had been lengthened beyond a natural span by his use of the Druid Sleep. But he knew he would have to have proof before the council would believe him.

He spent the next several years tracking the elusive Brona, going so far as to travel to the Skull Kingdom. Upon his return to Paranor, both Bremen and his information were rejected by the council. He left with only the few who believed his warning of impending attack. Shortly after his visit, Paranor fell to the armies of the Warlock Lord, betrayed from within. Bremen and those who left with him–the Dwarf Warrior Druid Risca, the Elf Tay Trefenwyd, and the apprentice Mareth–were the only survivors of the order.

Before he left, Bremen provided the magic that saved the Druid Histories from the invaders. The opened portion of the Druid Histories also credits him for preventing a long-term occupation by the Warlock Lord by triggering the magic of the Druid’s Well.

By default, the death of the Druids left Bremen as the acting High Druid. But while he did rescue the Elit Druin after Paranor’s fall, he never formally accepted the title. He used the medallion in the forging of the Sword of Shannara, the magical weapon used to end the Second War of the Races and the War of the Warlock Lord.

Of the Druids who followed Bremen from Paranor, only Mareth survived the war. She declined to complete her training as a Druid, leaving Bremen as the last of the Druids, even as he was the first to successfully balance magic with the good of the Races. He adopted a young man known only as Allanon, whom he had befriended during the war, and took him as apprentice, heir, and eventually son.

Paranor vanished only a few years after the war, and some scholars now believe that Bremen, with his knowledge of magics, was responsible for that disappearance.

While many consider Bremen to have died approximately three years after the end of the Second War of the Races, Allanon’s journal records that he did not die, but instead “doomed himself to an existence of half-life that may not end for all eternity” by entering the mysterious Hadeshorn. This interpretation is also found within the diaries of Brin Ohmsford, where she records seeing an apparition that was identified as Bremen while at the Chard Rush, decades after Bremen’s supposed death.

From the Hardcover edition.

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World of Shannara 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a companion book. Not the next in the legends series. My mistake... Any idea where my book is??? Any input would be helpful. Also don't buy this if your looking to finish the stiry
HamburgerHelper More than 1 year ago
This book was OK. I received it as a gift. Not sure if I would have bought it on my own. Major criticisms are that I didn't feel enough space was given to the pre-Shannara events and I was very disappointed in the quality and quantity of maps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first encountered The Shannara Series as a preteen. I thought it would be a little beyond my understanding, but as I got into this particular series I found my place in literature! I started with the Wishsong of Shannara and realized towards the end of the book that there was whole back story. I promptly closed the book and went in search of the beginning. Needless to say I'm glad I did! I found a whole new world I could escape into as a child, and a new well of creativity to sip from as an adult. I continue to be a fan of his writings in general (The Word and The Void Trilogy, The Magic Kingdom of Landover series) and any and every chance I get I'm sure to tell of how great I think he is to all my friends and loved ones. I've started the Voyage of The Jerle Shannara Trilogy, and anticipate getting to the High Druid Trilogy. To date I have gotten my sisters, my mom, and quite a few friends to read the first Shannara book, and they continue to crave more. No one can believe how real he makes it appear to be. We've all seen the movie Legend, and the Star Wars series, these books for me are right up there with them. Thank you Terry Brooks for creating a world where anything is possible and good triumphs over evil in the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tales of great races and the places they live amazingly deatailed. A sure winner soon to be one of the best author's of the year and 20th century!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The world of shannara is much like a history book as it is a source book. Rich illustrations add to the compelling details about the major characters and events of the Shannara series. You also learn new facts and legends as well. a must have for any Shannara fan.
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ellenvez More than 1 year ago
Terry Brooks writes good books
JasonJJJ More than 1 year ago
I love these books - the author has such a brilliant imagination that I just can't put his books down. Awesome reading material!