Eight centuries ago the first Knight of the Word was commissioned to combat the demonic evil of the Void. Now that daunting legacy has passed to John Rossalong with powerful magic and the knowledge that his actions are all that stand between a living hell and humanity's future.
Then, after decades of service to the Word, an unspeakable act of violence shatters John Ross's weary faith. Haunted by guilt, he turns his back on his dread gift, settling down to build a normal life, untroubled by demons and nightmares.
But a fallen Knight makes a tempting prize for the Void, which could bend the Knight's magic to its own evil ends. And once the demons on Ross's trail track him to Seattle, neither he nor anyone close to him will be safe. His only hope is Nest Freemark, a college student who wields an extraordinary magic all her own. Five years earlier, Ross had aided Nest when the future of humanity rested upon her choice between Word and Void. Now Nest must return the favor. She must restore Ross's faith, or his lifeand herswill be forfeit . . .
About the Author
Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.
Hometown:Pacific Northwest and Hawaii
Date of Birth:January 8, 1944
Place of Birth:Sterling, Illinois
Education:B.A. in English, Hamilton College, 1966; J.D., Washington and Lee University
Read an Excerpt
It was dawn when she woke, the sky just beginning to brighten in the east, night's shadows still draping the trunks and limbs of the big shade trees in inky layers. She lay quietly for a time, looking through her curtained window as the day advanced, aware of a gradual change in the light that warmed the cool darkness of her bedroom. From beneath the covers she listened to the sounds of the morning. She could hear birdsong in counterpoint to the fading hum of tires as a car sped down Woodlawn's blacktop toward the highway. She could hear small creaks and mutterings from the old house, some of them so familiar that she remembered them from her childhood. She could hear the sound of voices, of Gran and Old Bob, whispering to each other in the kitchen as they drank their morning coffee and waited for her to come out for breakfast.
But the voices were only in her mind, of course. Old Bob and Gran were gone.
Nest Freemark rose to a sitting position, drew up her long legs to her chest, rested her forehead against her knees, and closed her eyes. Gone. Both of them. Gran for five years and Old Bob since May. It was hard to believe, even now. She wished every day that she could have them back again. Even for five minutes. Even for five seconds.
The sounds of the house wrapped her, small and comforting, all part of her nineteen years of life. She had always lived in this house, right up to the day she had left for college in September of last year, a freshman on a full ride at one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Northwestern University. Her grandfather had been so proud, telling her she should remember she had earned the right to attend this school, but theschool, in turn, had merited her interest, so both of them should get something out of the bargain. He had laughed, his voice low and deep, his strong hands coming about her shoulders to hold her, and she had known instinctively that he was holding her for Gran, as well.
Now he was gone, dead of a heart attack three days before the end of her first year, gone in a moment, the doctor said afterwardno pain, no suffering, the way it should be. She had come to accept the doctor's reassurance, but it didn't make her miss her grandfather any the less. With both Gran and Old Bob gone, and her parents gone longer still, she had only herself to rely upon.
But, then, she supposed in a way that had always been so.
She lifted her head and smiled. It was how she had grown up, wasn't it? Learning to be alone, to be independent, to accept that she would never be like any other child?
She ticked off the ways in which she was different, running through them in a familiar litany that helped define and settle the borders of her life.
She could do magichad been able to do magic for a long time. It had frightened her at first, confused and troubled her, but she had learned to adapt to the magic's demands, taught first by Gran, who had once had use of the magic herself, and later by Pick. She had learned to control and nurture it, to find a place for it in her life without letting it consume her. She had discovered how to maintain the balance within herself in the same way that Pick was always working to maintain the balance in the park.
Pick, her best friend, was a six-inch-high sylvan, a forest creature who looked for the most part like something a child had made of the discards of a bird's nest, with body and limbs of twigs and hair and beard of moss. Pick was the guardian of Sinnissippi Park, sent to keep in balance the magic that permeated all things and to hold in check the feeders that worked to upset that balance. It was a big job for a lone sylvan, as he was fond of saying, and over the years various generations of the Freemark women had helped him. Nest was the latest. Perhaps she would be the last.
There was her family, of course. Gran had possessed the magic, as had others of the Freemark women before her. Not Old Bob, who had struggled all his life to accept that the magic even existed. Maybe not her mother, who had died three months after Nest was born and whose life remained an enigma. But her father ... She shook her head at the walls. Her father. She didn't like to think of him, but he was a fact of her life, and there was enough time and distance between them now that she could accept what he had been. A demon. A monster. A seducer. The killer of both her mother and her grandmother. Dead now, destroyed by his own ambition and hate, by Gran's magic and his own, by Nest's determination, and by Wraith.
Wraith. She looked out the window in the diminishing shadows and shivered. The ways in which she had been different from other children began and ended with Wraith.
She sighed and shook her head mockingly. Enough of that sort of rumination.She rose and walked into the bathroom, turned on the shower, let it run hot, and stepped in. She stood with her eyes closed and the water streaming over her, lost in the heat and the damp. She was nineteen and stood just under five feet ten inches. Her honey-colored hair was still short and curly, but most of her freckles were gone. Her green eyes dominated her smooth, round face. Her body was lean and fit. She was the best middle-distance runner ever to come out of the state of Illinois and one of the best in history. She didn't think about her talent much, but it was always there, in much the same way as her magic. She wondered often if her running ability was tied in some way to her use of the magic. There was no obvious connection and even Pick tended to brush the suggestion aside, but she wondered anyway. She had been admitted to Northwestern on a full track-and-field scholarship. Her grades were good, but it was her athletic skills that got her in. She had won several middle-distance events at last spri
ng's NCAA track-and-field championships. She had already broken several college records and one world. In two years the summer Olympics would be held in Melbourne, Australia. Nest Freemark was expected to contend for a medal in multiple running events. She was expected to win at least one gold.
She turned off the shower, stepped out onto the mat, grabbed a towel, and dried herself off. She tried not to think about the Olympics too often. It was too distant in time and too mind-boggling to consider. She had learned a hard lesson when she was fourteen and her father had revealed himself for what he was. Never take anything in your life for granted; always be prepared for radical change.
Besides, there were more pressing problems just now. There was school; she had to earn grades high enough to allow her to continue to train and to compete. There was Pick, who was persistent and unending in his demand that she give more of her time and effort to helping him with the parkwhich seemed silly until she listened to his reasoning.
And, right at the moment, there was the matter of the house.
She dressed slowly, thinking of the house, which was the reason she was home this weekend when her time would have been better spent at school, studying. With her grandfather's death, the house and all of its possessions had passed to her. She had spent the summer going through it, room by room, closet by closet, cataloguing, boxing, packing, and sorting what would stay and go. It was her home, but she was barely there enough to look after it properly and, Pick's entreaties notwithstanding, she had no real expectation of coming back after graduation to live. The realtors, sensing this, had already begun to descend. The house and lot were in a prime location. She could get a good price if she was to sell. The money could be put to good use helping defray her training and competition expenses. The real estate market was strong just now, a seller's market. Wasn't this the right time to act?
She had received several offers over the summer, and this past week Allen Kruppert had called from ERA Realty to tender one so ridiculously high that she had agreed to consider it. She had come after classes on Friday, skipping track-and-field practice, so that she could meet with Allen on Saturday morning and look over the papers. Allen was a rotund, jovial young man, whom she had met on several occasions at church picnics, and he impressed her because he never tried to pressure her into anything where the house was concerned but seemed content just to present his offers and step back. The house was not listed, but if she was to make the decision to sell, she knew, she would almost certainly list it with him. The papers he had provided on this latest offer sat on the kitchen table where she had left them last night. The prospective buyer had already signed. The financing was in place. All that was needed was her signature and the deal was done.
She put the papers aside and sat down to eat a bowl of cereal with her orange juice and coffee, her curly hair still damp against her face as golden light spread through the curtained windows and the sun rose over the trees.
If she signed, her financial concerns for the immediate future would be over.
Pick, of course, would have a heart attack. Which was not a good thing if you were already a hundred and fifty years old.
She was just finishing the cereal when she heard a knock at the back door. She frowned; it was only eight o'clock in the morning, not the time people usually came calling. Besides, no one ever used the back door, except ...
She walked from the kitchen down the hall to the porch. A shadowy figure stood leaning into the screen, trying to peer inside. Couldn't be, could it? But, as she stepped down to unlatch the screen door, she could already see it was.
"Hey, Nest," Robert Heppler said.
He stood with his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans and one tennis shoe bumping nervously against the worn threshold. "You going to invite me in or what?" He gave her one of his patented cocky grins and tossed back the shoulder-length blond hair from his angular face.
She shook her head. "I don't know. What are you doing here, anyway?"
"You mean like, 'here at eight o'clock in the morning,' or like, 'here in Hopewell as opposed to Palo Alto'? You're wondering if I was tossed out of school, right?"
"Naw. Stanford needs me to keep its grade point average high enough to attract similarly brilliant students. I was just in the neighborhood and decided to stop by, share a few laughs, maybe see if you're in the market for a boyfriend." He was talking fast and loose to keep up his confidence. He glanced past her toward the kitchen. "Do I smell coffee? You're alone, aren't you? I mean, I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"Jeez, Robert, you are such a load." She sighed and stepped back. "Come on in."
She beckoned him to follow and led him down the hall. The screen door banged shut behind them and she winced, remembering how Gran had hated it when she did that.
"So what are you really doing here?" she pressed him, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the kitchen table as she reached for the coffeepot and a cup. The coffee steamed in the morning air as she poured it.
He shrugged, giving her a furtive look. "I saw your car, knew you were home, thought I should say hello. I know it's early, but I was afraid I might miss you."
She handed him the coffee and motioned for him to sit down, but he remained standing. "I've been waiting to hear from you," she said pointedly.
"You know me, I don't like to rush things." He looked away quickly, unable to meet her steady gaze. He sipped gingerly from his cup, then made a face. "What is this stuff?"
Nest lost her patience. "Look, did you come here to insult me, or do you need something, or are you just lonely again?"
He gave her his hurt puppy look. "None of the above." He glanced down at the real estate papers, which were sitting on the counter next to him, then looked up at her again. "I just wanted to see you. I didn't see you all summer, what with you off running over hill and dale and cinder track."
"Robert, don't start ..."
"Okay, I know, I know. But it's true. I haven't seen you since your grandfather's funeral."
"And whose fault is that, do you think?"
He pushed his glasses further up on his nose and screwed up his mouth. "Okay, all right. It's my fault. I haven't seen you because I knew how badly I messed up."
"You were a jerk, Robert."
He flinched as if struck. "I didn't mean anything."
"You didn't?" A slow flush worked its way up her neck and into her cheeks. "My grandfather's funeral service was barely finished and there you were, making a serious effort to grope me. I don't know what that was all about, but I didn't appreciate it one bit."
He shook his head rapidly. "I wasn't trying to grope you exactly."
"Yes, you were. Exactly. You might have done yourself some good, you know, if you'd stuck around to apologize afterward instead of running off."
His laugh was forced. "I was running for my life. You just about took my head off."
She stared at him, waiting. She knew how he felt about her, how he had always felt about her. She knew this was difficult for him and she wasn't making it any easier. But his misguided attempt at an intimate relationship was strictly one-sided and she had to put a stop to it now or whatever was left of their friendship would go right out the window.
He took a deep breath. "I made a big mistake, and I'm sorry. I guess I just thought you needed ... that you wanted someone to ... Well, I just wasn't thinking, that's all." He pushed back his long hair nervously. "I'm not so good at stuff like that, and you, well, you know how I feel ..." He stopped and looked down at his feet. "It was stupid. I'm really sorry."
She didn't say anything, letting him dangle in the wind a little longer, letting him wonder. He looked up at her after a minute, meeting her gaze squarely for the first time. "I don't know what else to say, Nest. I'm sorry. Are we still friends?"
Even though he had grown taller and gotten broader through the shoulders, she still saw him as being fourteen. There was a little-boy look and sound to him that she thought he might never entirely escape.
"Are we?" he pressed.
She gave him a considering look. "Yes, Robert, we are. We always will be, I hope. But we're just friends, okay? Don't try to make it into anything else. If you do, you're just going to make me mad all over again."He looked doubtful, but nodded anyway. "Okay." He glanced down again at the real estate papers. "Are you going to sell the house?"
"Well, that's what it looks like."
"I don't care what it looks like, it's none of your business!" Irritated at herself for being so abrupt, she added, "Look, I haven't decided anything yet."
He put his coffee cup in the exact center of the papers, making a ring. "I don't think you should sell."
She snatched the cup away. "Robert ..."
"Well, I don't. I think you should let some time pass before you do anything." He held up his hands in a placating gesture. "Wait, let me finish. My dad says you should never make any big changes right after someone you love dies. You should wait at least a year. You should give yourself time to grieve, to let everything settle so you know what you really want. I don't think he's right about much, but I think he might be right about this."
She pictured Robert's father in her mind, a spectacled, gentle man who was employed as a chemical engineer but spent all his free time engaged in gardening and lawn care. Robert used to call him Mr. Green Jeans and swore that his father would have been happier if his son had been born a plant.
"Robert," she said gently, "that's very good advice."
He stared at her in surprise.
"I mean it. I'll give it some thought."
She put the coffee cups aside. Robert was annoying, but she liked him anyway. He was funny and smart and fearless. Maybe more to the point, she could depend on him. He had stood up for her five years earlier when her father had come back into her life. If not for Robert, her grandfather would never have found her trussed up in the caves below the Sinnissippi Park cliffs. It was Robert who had come after her on the night she had confronted her father, when it seemed she was all alone. She had knocked the pins out from under him for his trouble, leaving him senseless on the ground while she went on alone. But he had cared enough to follow.
She felt a momentary pang at the memory. Robert was the only real friend she had left from those days.
"I have to go back to school tonight," she said. "How long do you have?"
He shrugged. "Day after tomorrow."
"You came all the way home from California for the weekend?"
He looked uncomfortable. "Well ..."
"To visit your parents?"
"You can't say it, can you?"
He shook his head and blushed. "No."
She nodded. "Just so you don't think I can't see through you like glass. You just watch yourself, buster."
He looked down at his feet, embarrassed. She liked him like thissweet and vulnerable. "You want to walk over to Gran and Grandpa's graves with me, put some flowers in their urns?"
He brightened at once. "Sure."
She was already heading for the hall closet. "Let me get my coat, Mr. Smooth."
"Jeez," he said.
Table of Contents
On Tuesday, August 11th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Terry Brooks to discuss A KNIGHT OF THE WORD.
Moderator: Welcome, Terry Brooks! We are so pleased that you could join us via phone during your busy tour schedule for KNIGHT OF THE WORD. How is the tour going?
Terry Brooks: It is just beginning. So far, so good.
Paul from Trenton, NJ: What is a "knight of the word," and how do you gain this position?
Terry Brooks: That isn't easy. The series posits that there is an archetypal battle going on between good and evil that plays directly into what we know about our own social situation, and the confrontation is between the word and the void. One of the main characters in all three books in the Demon series is John Ross, who is a knight of the word. In that position he is a paladin -- a champion for the good guys -- and his selection comes through a rigorous and unexplainable process that you can find out about by reading RUNNING WITH THE DEMON.
Nicolas Tempress from Shaker Heights, OH: Dear Mr. Brooks, Why do you think the genre of science fiction peaked at such an early point in the century, with the best writing coming back in the early to mid-20th century? Why do you think fantasy has taken off while sci-fi has been spinning its wheels, with only a few notable exceptions?
Terry Brooks: I think that fantasy if more user-friendly and has greater appeal to a wider range of people, because its appeal is rooted in storytelling. Sci-fi is more a literature of ideas and somewhat intimidating to the general reader because it is grounded in a belief that you have to have some knowledge of science. Science fiction was popular in the '50s because of the space race between the U.S. and Russia and because fantasy in the Tolkienesque tradition hadn't developed. I don't think I agree that it peaked earlier on. I just think it is going through a transitional period. Try reading Kim Stanley Robinson and Wil McCarthy and Ben Bova.
Steve Sauter from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, it was interesting to follow the evolution of the RUNNING WITH THE DEMON series. In 1996 you gave a talk called "Herding Trolls" at the Maui Writer's Conference. I was wondering when you changed the name of "trolls" to "feeders." Was that an editorial decision or your own? Also, do you plan on attending the 1999 MWC next year?
Terry Brooks: I will be at the MWC this summer. Don't know about next year. It was my editor's decision, and a good one, to remove references to standard character terms and to substitute words that would describe a new mythos. So in short, "trolls" are too common and carry a lot of baggage form old fairy-tale stories, while "feeders" is a new word and suggests a more contemporary feel.
Brooke from Pleasantville, NY: What originally attracted you to SF/fantasy genre writing? Is this the type of book that you read as a kid?
Terry Brooks: I read a lot of science fiction in the mid- to late 1950s, but I don't think of my writing as science fiction or fantasy. I think of it as adventure stories, and the stronger influences come from writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Alexandre Dumas.
Eric from Old Lyme, CT.: Hi Terry, I am really looking forward to the sequel to RUNNING WITH THE DEMON, it should be great. Will A KNIGHT OF THE WORD be based on the same characters? Also, are there any plans for more Shannara books?
Terry Brooks: All three of the books in the Demon series will feature John Ross and Nest Freemark. The series was designed to form a beginning, middle, and end in their relationship. Each of the books is being written to advance an aspect of that relationship and in the evolution of John Ross's battle against the void as the knight of the word. I will be writing four or five new books in the Shannara series, publication beginning in the year 2000.
Trent from Rhode Island: Do you have a favorite among your books? Any character you are most attached to? Thanks for the hours of entertainment!
Terry Brooks: You are entirely welcome, but I cant choose between the books or the characters. It is like choosing between your children.
Steve Sauter from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, I collect your books and I am looking forward to your "Star Wars" book. Do you know if it will be released in hardback or not? When is it due to be published?
Terry Brooks: The "Star Wars" book will be released in May 1999 (as a hardback), coincidental with the release of the movie. A paperback will be released subsequently. The book is an adaptation of the movie and will incorporate the material in the movie but will also expand upon that material and the story line to include new material.
Ben Michaels from Phoenix, AZ: Good evening, Mr. Brooks. What was your inspiration to switch from high fantasy to contemporary fantasy?
Terry Brooks: I had been thinking about doing a contemporary fantasy for a long time and was looking for the right story line. This writer doesn't like doing the same thing over and over, and I like moving back and forth between different forms of writing in order to stay fresh and interesting. That is why I leave the Shannara series periodically to do a new project.
Ken Werner from Allentown, PA: How long did it take you to write THE SWORD OF SHANNARA?
Terry Brooks: SWORD took six years and three separate drafts, but that was when I was going to law school and then working full-time at being a lawyer, so writing took second place and pretty much had to be squeezed in.
Cynthia from Richmond, VA: Is your character John Ross based on anyone in particular? Any autobiographical elements?
Terry Brooks: No.
Elke from barnesandnoble.com: Who do you like to read in your spare time. Give us your three favorite books.
Terry Brooks: Paul Watkins, IN THE BLUE LIGHT OF AFRICAN DREAMS; Philip Pullman, THE GOLDEN COMPASS; Cormac McCarthy -- all of his work.
Megan from New York City: I read on the book jacket that you have been writing since high school, and your first novel was the first work of fiction ever to appear on The New York Times paperback bestseller list. That is phenomenal. Great way to break into publishing, eh? What was your response? Did you get writer's block?
Terry Brooks: I wrote a bad second book, but I can't blame that on the results of the first, because I was already writing it before I knew what was happening with the first. I was pretty much sheltered and ignorant of what all the success of the first book meant and didn't really appreciate it until some years later. I haven't really had a problem with writer's block, but in the early days I had difficulty with how to put a story together. That resulted in 400 pages of a book that I had to throw away before I wrote ELFSTONES. That was a hard lesson but a valuable one, and it made me a much better writer.
Lance from San Diego, CA: What do you see as the appeal of fantasy writing? Why do readers like it so much?
Terry Brooks: There are a couple obvious appeals in fantasy writing. One is that our initial reading as young children in fairy tales is often grounded in fantasy. Another is that fantasy is rooted in storytelling, which has strong appeal for the reader. The third is that fantasy is escapist fiction in the truest form and allows us to observe ourselves in an imaginary setting, but with real depictions of how our emotions affect our lives. I like to write fantasy that talks about how we are and how we respond to difficult situations in ways that readers can identify with by looking at their own lives.
Monica from Falls Church, VA: What is your opinion of other contemporary writers in your genre? Are you pleased with the direction of SF/fantasy genre as a whole?
Terry Brooks: This isn't something I have given a lot of thought to, and I suppose like any reader there are authors and books whose work I admire and some who don't appeal to me. I won't suppose to try to judge the direction of the field in general. It is hard enough to try to figure out where I am going.
Steve from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, I've always been impressed (and grateful) that you are so generous about giving your time to your fans. You are at a point in your career that you no longer need to promote yourself; your books would continue to sell even if you did not attend readings and signings. What is your motivation for continuing with the signings?
Terry Brooks: I like to do bookstore appearance in order to talk to the people who sell the books and to the people who read them, because I don't get that chance any other way. Most of what I do takes place in a solitary setting, and writers need to get out and get some inspiration for doing what they do from the readers. It energizes me to talk to people who have enjoyed a book I have written and encourages me to go back and try harder the next time out.
Bryan Gibbons from Tigard, OR: How much were you influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien? Who was your primary influence for the Demon series?
Terry Brooks: I haven't read Tolkien since '65, but he provided a tremendous amount of influence for finding a format for SWORD OF SHANNARA. But my work principally remains adventure storytelling and not high fantasy. The Demon series was born out of an interest in social issues and the ways in which we behave toward one another in the contemporary world. Some of which are less than admirable. That series really wasn't influenced by any other writers.
James Johnson from Riverside, CA: How do you get your ideas for your books? How can I get my book published?
Terry Brooks: Dear James, we don't begin to have enough time for this discussion. These are question that need too much time and space. Ideas come with the practice of writing. Getting published is a mechanical process that involves 50 percent perspiration and 50 percent luck. Try reading WRITERS MARKET (the current edition.)
Frank Thomas from Evanston, IL: Hi, Mr. Brooks! I was intrigued to discover that one of your characters in A KNIGHT OF THE WORD is a long-distance runner. Are you a runner yourself?
Terry Brooks: No. I have enough trouble walking, and I don't box either, like Ben Holiday does in the Magic Kingdom series.
Steve from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, Referring to your comments about ELFSTONES, was it necessary to throw away those 400 pages because you didn't outline your work then?
Terry Brooks: Yes! They are long gone and lost years ago.
Mike Smith from Fort Wayne, IN: You mentioned earlier that you grew up reading science fiction and fantasy. Who were your favorite authors?
Terry Brooks: Ray Bradbury, Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, and a bunch of others!
James Johnson from Riverside, CA: Terry, are any of your books going to be made into films? How did you come to write the last two books?
Terry Brooks: There are no plans at present to make any of the books into films. Offers come and go, but I am not particularly enamored with the idea that books are validated by being made into movies, and in fact a lot of books are made into bad movies. So I am waiting for a good offer.
Curt from White Plains, NY: What do you think is an example of an SF movie that has carried over well from the written page to the screen?
Terry Brooks: I can't think of one. I thought that "2001," while different, captured the essence of the book, but that is part of the problem with books being made into movies. The people who make the movies always think they can do it better.
Leslie from Toronto, Canada: Is this book a sequel to RUNNING WITH THE DEMON? If so, why did you feel more of the story needed to be told?
Terry Brooks: The Demon series was always designed to be a three-book set, with each of the books standing alone and the reader being able to read one or all three and not having to rely on information that came previously to enjoy a subsequent book. I do think all three books are necessary to completely tell the story of John Ross and Nest Freemark.
Scott from Arlington, VA: Thanks for chatting tonight, Mr. Brooks. Since I've tried writing fantasy fiction myself I'm curious -- how do you keep all the names, places, events, etc. organized and straight?
Terry Brooks: Outline, outline, outline. Think everything through in your head, translate it to paper in an acceptable form (something that works for you), and use it as a blueprint so you don't forget what it was you were going to do and who it was you decided to do it with.
Tim Simon from Austin, TX: I'm a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, and I enjoy attending conventions when I can. Do you ever do as well?
Terry Brooks: I don't go to many conventions, because I really don't have the time. Most of my time is taken up with writing and promotion and travel with my family. Once in a while I go to a convention where the focus is on the craft of writing. I do a lot of appearances with librarians' and teachers' associations and venues where I have an opportunity to talk at length about the writing process and writing life.
Steve from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, your characters are always so realistic. Where did you get the idea for O'olish Amaneh? He's a very interesting character in your latest series.
Terry Brooks: I wanted a character for the Demon series who fulfilled the role of the druids in the Shannara series -- someone with foreknowledge and insight that no other character possessed. But someone that transcended the flesh-and-blood role of a wise man and the characteristics of a phantom.
Henry Wilkes from Columbia, MO: How many projects do you have swimming through your head at once? When do you do the majority of your writing? Do you have a set time or just whenever the ideas are flowing?
Terry Brooks: Professional writers can't sit around waiting for the muse to whisper in their ear. I pretty much write all the time. I like writing in the mornings and early afternoon, finding I am pretty much brain dead after 2pm. I only work on one project at a time, but I am usually thinking ahead two or three projects and making notes on the side.
Lance from New Orleans, LA: Great sequel so far! Just wondering if your next book will be another book about John Ross?
Terry Brooks: There is one more book about John Ross and Nest Freemark tentatively scheduled for September or October 1999.
Jake Humphrey from Houston, TX: What do you think about the publishing process in general? Are you disheartened by the merger of your house with Bantam Doubleday Dell?
Terry Brooks: It is a little early to pass judgement on that particular merger, and as of yet I don't think it has had much of an effect on anyone. I think we will have to wait and see how this will impact writers, but I don't think at this point it will have a negative impact. The Bertelsmann company has a strong track record in the publishing industry.
Steve from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, since I live near Seattle, many of the places you talk about in your book are familiar to me. I found it to be a rather creepy feeling to read your descriptions of Seattle's potential aftermath, and I will never be able to visit underground Seattle again with quite the same feeling as before. I didn't feel the same connection with the first book as I did with this one, although I enjoyed them both very much. Has anyone from Sterling, Illinois, made a similar observation to you when they were reading about Hopewell?
Terry Brooks: People who read the books and live in the areas I write about always feel strongly about the settings and tend to identify more closely with the place they live, but no one has been too creeped out so far. Besides, Steve, you live in Tacoma!
Steve from Tacoma, WA: Mr. Brooks, this is not a question, but just a word of thanks for your time here today, your wonderful books, and for all you have taught me bout the writing process. Thanks so much.
Terry Brooks: You are very welcome, Steve!
Moderator: Thanks for joining us tonight, Terry Brooks, and answering all these questions! Do you have any closing comments for our online audience tonight?
Terry Brooks: Just that I hope to be able to continue to write with similar success and at the same level for the next 20 years. I appreciate all the support.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Here's where I end my love of Terry Brooks. Didn't like the first book of W&V that much; this one just got worse. Brooks started to depart from form after The Wishsong of Shannara.
Volume 2 of the series continues in the vein of "slow," but there is - thankfully - considerably less filler to wade through. The characters remain distant, though one does get a small glimpse of the trauma John Ross faces as he attempts to quit his calling as a Knight of the Word. In the aftermath, he is just plain stupid, in spite of all of his years of experience. Incredibly, five years after learning about her magic and facing down a demon, Next Freemark doesn't know any more about her magic than she did when Vol. 1 left off. Using it to help Pick balance the magic in the park (without ever telling the reader how this is done) has apparently not offered any opportunities for growth. At the end, her magic experiences a transformation, but it's uncertain whether this is good or bad.The identity of the demon was easy to guess. The end was pat and predictable.
Excellent prequel, and a great transition from one storyline to the other.
Story line is intriguing. It keeps the reader reading and turning pages wanting more.
The second story of John Ross (I feel like I have to call him by his whole name) and Nest is a turning of the tables. This time, John Ross is in trouble and Nest is being sent to help him save himself. John Ross has forsaken the Word and the demons are on the hunt. The biggest downfall of this one? I figured out the demon quite early on, and it really ruined the atmosphere for a lot of the story. I didn't get that OMG "surprise, it's me!" moment I was looking for. While there are some very exciting moments, overall it seemed to move quite slowly with a lot of random sidetracks. I think they were there to confuse you a little so you couldn't guess who the demon was, but they just seemed a little too obvious. Nest was not decisive enough for my taste. I wanted her to go in and take charge, demanding that John Ross listen to her, but she just wasn't like that. I can see how this world become the world of Shannara, but I sort of want to get to the point already. These are good, just not something that will ever become a favorite. Maybe I just want my Shannara back already!