Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! (Magic Kingdom of Landover Series #1)

Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! (Magic Kingdom of Landover Series #1)

by Terry Brooks

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - REISSUE)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Want it by Wednesday, November 21 Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345317582
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1987
Series: Magic Kingdom of Landover Series , #1
Edition description: REISSUE
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 123,225
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.95(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)

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.


Pacific Northwest and Hawaii

Date of Birth:

January 8, 1944

Place of Birth:

Sterling, Illinois


B.A. in English, Hamilton College, 1966; J.D., Washington and Lee University

Read an Excerpt

The catalogue was from Rosen’s, Ltd. It was the department store’s annual Christmas Wishbook.
It was addressed to Annie.
Ben Holiday stood frozen before the open cubicle of his mailbox, eyes slipping across the gaily decorated cover of the catalogue to the white address label and the name of his dead wife. The lobby of the Chicago high rise seemed oddly still in the graying dusk of the late afternoon rush hour, empty of everyone but the security guard and himself. Outside, past the line of floor-to-ceiling windows that fronted the building entry, the autumn wind blew in chill gusts down the canyon of Michigan Avenue and whispered of winter’s coming.
He ran his thumb over the smooth surface of the Wishbook. Annie had loved to shop, even when the shopping had only been through the mail-order catalogues. Rosen’s had been one of her favorite stores.
Sudden tears filled his eyes. He hadn’t gotten over losing her, even after two years. Sometimes it seemed to him that losing her was nothing more than a trick of his imagination—that when he came home she would still be there waiting for him.
He took a deep breath, fighting back against the emotions that were aroused in him simply by seeing her name on that catalogue cover. It was silly to feel like this. Nothing could bring her back to him. Nothing could change what had happened.
His eyes lifted to stare into the dark square of the now-empty mailbox. He remembered what it had been like when he had first learned that she had been killed. He had just returned from court, a pre-trial on the Microlab case with old Wilson Frink and his sons. Ben was in his office, thinking of ways to persuade his opposition, a lawyer named Bates, that his latest offer of settlement would serve everyone’s best interests, when the call had come in. Annie had been in an accident on the Kennedy. She was at St. Jude’s in critical condition. Could he come right over…?
He shook his head. He could still hear the voice of the doctor telling him what had happened. The voice had sounded so calm and rational. He had known at once that Annie was dying. He had known instantly. By the time he had gotten to the hospital, she was dead. The baby was dead, too. Annie had been only three months pregnant.
“Mr. Holiday?”
He looked about sharply, startled by the voice. George, the security guard, was looking over at him from behind the lobby desk.
“Everything all right, sir?”
He nodded and forced a quick smile. “Yes—just thinking about something.”
He closed the mailbox door, shoved everything he had taken from it save the catalogue into one coat pocket and, still gripping the Wishbook in both hands, moved to the ground-floor elevators. He didn’t care for being caught off balance like that. Maybe it was the lawyer in him.
“Cold day out there,” George offered, glancing out into the gray. “Going to be a tough winter. Lot of snow, they say. Like it was a couple of years ago.”
“Looks that way.” Ben barely heard him as he glanced down again at the catalogue. Annie always enjoyed the Christmas Wishbook. She used to read him promos from some of its more bizarre items. She used to make up stories about the kind of people who might purchase such things.
He pushed the elevator call button and the doors opened immediately.
“Have a nice evening, sir,” George called after him.
He rode the elevator to his penthouse suite, shucked off his topcoat, and walked into the front room, still clutching the catalogue. Shadows draped the furnishings and dappled the carpeting and walls, but he left the lights off and stood motionless before the bank of windows that looked out over the sunroof and the buildings of the city beyond. Lights glimmered through the evening gray, distant and solitary, each a source of life separate and apart from the thousands of others.
We are so much of the time alone, he thought. Wasn’t it strange?
He looked down again at the catalogue. Why do you suppose they had sent it to Annie? Why were companies always sending mailers and flyers and free samples and God-knew-what-all to people long after they were dead and buried? It was an intrusion on their privacy. It was an affront. Didn’t these companies update their mailing lists? Or was it simply that they refused ever to give up on a customer?
He checked his anger and, instead, smiled, bitter, ironic. Maybe he should phone it all in to Andy Rooney. Let him write about it.
He turned on the lights then and walked over to the wall bar to make himself a scotch, Glenlivet on the rocks with a splash of water; he measured it out and sipped at it experimentally. There was a bar meeting in a little less than two hours, and he had promised Miles that he would make this one. Miles Bennett was not only his partner, but he was probably his only real friend since Annie’s death. All of the others had drifted away somehow, lost in the shufflings and rearrangings of life’s social order. Couples and singles made a poor mix, and most of their friends had been couples. He hadn’t done much to foster continuing friendships in any case, spending most of his time involved with his work and with his private, inviolate grief. He was not such good company anymore, and only Miles had had the patience and the perseverance to stay with him.
He drank some more of the scotch and wandered back again to the open windows. The lights of the city winked back at him. Being alone wasn’t so bad, he reasoned. That was just the way of things. He frowned. Well, that was his way, in any case. It was his choice to be alone. He could have found companionship again from any one of a number of sources; he could have reintegrated himself into almost any of the city’s myriad social circles. He had the necessary attributes. He was young still and successful; he was even wealthy, if money counted for anything—and in this world it almost always did. No, he didn’t have to be alone.
And yet he did, because the problem was that he really didn’t belong anyway.
He thought about that for a moment—forced himself to think about it. It wasn’t simply his choosing to be alone that kept him that way; it was almost a condition of his existence. The feeling that he was an outsider had always been there. Becoming a lawyer had helped him deal with that feeling, giving him a place in life, giving him a ground upon which he might firmly stand. But the sense of not belonging had persisted, however diminished its intensity—a nagging certainty. Losing Annie had simply given it new life, emphasizing the transiency of any ties that bound him to whom and what he had let himself become. He often wondered if others felt as he did. He supposed they must; he supposed that to some extent everyone felt something of the same displacement. But not as strongly as he, he suspected. Never that strongly.
He knew Miles understood something of it—or at least something of Ben’s sense of it. Miles didn’t feel about it as Ben did, of course. Miles was the quintessential people person, always at home with others, always comfortable with his surroundings. He wanted Ben to be that way; he wanted to bring him out of that self-imposed shell and back into the mainstream of life. He viewed his friend as some sort of challenge in that regard. That was why Miles was so persistent about these damn bar meetings. That was why he kept after Ben to forget about Annie and get on with his life.
He finished the scotch and made himself another. He was drinking a lot lately, he knew—maybe more than was good for him. He glanced down at his watch. Forty-five minutes had gone by. Another forty-five and Miles would be there, his chaperone for the evening. He shook his head distastefully. Miles didn’t understand nearly as much as he thought he did about some things.
Carrying his drink, he walked back across the room to the windows, stared out a moment, and turned away, closing the drapes against the night. He moved back to the couch, debating on whether to check the answer-phone, and saw the catalogue again. He must have put it down without realizing it. It was lying with the other mail on the coffee table in front of the sectional sofa, its glossy cover reflecting sharply in the lamplight.
Rosen’s, Ltd.—Christmas Wishbook.
He sat down slowly in front of it and picked it up. A Christmas catalogue of wishes and dreams—he had seen the kind before. An annual release from a department store that ostensibly offered something for everyone, this particular catalogue was for the select few only—the wealthy few.
Annie had always liked it, though.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! (Magic Kingdom of Landover Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
EmScape on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
Ben Holiday, attorney at law, is dissatisfied with his life. He sees the justice system becoming more and more flawed and his profession become the butt of every bad lawyer joke. His wife has passed away and he is increasingly withdrawn. When he sees an advertisement for a honest-to-goodness magic kingdom in the Christmas Wishbook, he seizes on his chance to give some more meaning and purpose to his life. He's got more than he bargained for when he arrives to find the kingdom in disrepair and no small amount of dangerous foes clamoring for his throne and his only allies a talking dog, an inept wizard, two kobolds and a girl who is part tree. With such a premise, I expected this book to be much funnier than it was. I was only disappointed for a few minutes, though, because the story was so engaging as it was. I am not a huge fan of swords and magic epic fantasy, but this really brought a new twist, what with the protagonist being so out of place within the fantasy world. He spends just the right amount of time being amazed and disbelieving of his situation before coming to terms with the reality of the magic and the danger. He shows a lot of fortitude, but not so much that it comes across as disingenuous. The dynamism of the character is also an asset to the narrative. His rag-tag band of supporters are also able to learn and grow through their experiences with Ben, but not so much that there is no room for further development in the sequels, of which there are several. The climax and resolution of the tale is also just the right amount of satisfying whiles still leaving threads to be followed up with in later books. I must also say that I listened to an audio book of the author's seminal work, The Sword of Shannara, some years ago, and despite the fact that it was the Absolute Favorite Book Ever of the guy I was seeing at the time, was not wholly enamored of the tale. I felt it went on too long and that it did not seem terribly original or engaging. Of course I was also driving from Minnesota to Georgia at the time and might have missed some things while my attention was diverted by traffic. I am pleased to say that I found this book much more pleasurable and may be induced to give that other series a try at some point. I continue to be told that it is rather good.
Aldrea_Alien on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
This starts off slower than the other stories I've been reading lately. Which wouldn¿t have been so bad if it hadn¿t taken a few chapters of umming and ahhing until we reached Landover. It¿s not that I mind not being thrown into the action, in fact I like a good lead up. But when it takes two chapters for him to decide to buy the kingdom, then drags me halfway through third chapter before he get there ...Things sped up a little after he reached Landover, though there were a few dull patches, it¿s an overall good balance between action and the internal doubt Ben has for his position. The struggles, both the mental and the physical, were interesting and, sometimes, very cleverly dealt with (other times, Ben¿s a diggleberry who deserves a good slappin¿, but that¿s just my opinion).There are a few things that happen that are just plain strange. Perhaps that¿s because I¿m not all for the ¿you¿ve spotted me, I¿ve fallen in love, now I¿m yours, take me¿ idea of how he meets his `lover¿. In fact, the whole scene feels a little odd to me.The ending ... well, I always knew he was going to win; it¿s the first in a series, after all, so I expected it. But the ending felt a little too predictable and easy.That being said, I¿m still looking forward to reading the next book.
Jim53 on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
Ben Holiday is a lawyer whose pregnant wife was killed. Two years later he receives a fantastical catalogue addressed to her. He is intrigued by an ad for a "Magic Kimgdom For Sale." He recognizes how empty his life has become, and he purchases the magic kingdom of Landover (a funny name to those of us from the DC area, by the way).Arriving eventually in Landover, Ben finds it in disarray. There has not been a "real" king for twenty years, and the land withers for lack of one. His only supporters are an inept wizard, a royal scribe who is a dog, and two kobolds who perform the everyday tasks so that heroes don't have to.Ben seeks the support of various inhabitants of Landover, but each wants something from him first. He must find depths of wisdom and courage in order to become a real king.This book is a vast improvement on Brooks's interminable Shanarra series, but shares some of its faults: many of the ideas and characters are taken from other contemporary fantasies, the individual characters appear interesting at first but devolve into cardboard cliches, and the style is remarkable only when it clunks. In spite of these flaws, Ben himself is an interesting character, and his motivations and ability to think through problems are admirable. Overall a fun light read if you don't expect too much.
DBJones on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
Terry Brooks is the writer of the ongoing Shannara series, high fantasy that quite frankly bored me to tears. With the Kingdom of Landover series however, Brooks created a funny and unique set of magical books. A lawyer in our world finds a classified ad looking for a king, he buys it and discovers that what he has in fact bought is the throne to the kingdom of Landover a magical fantasy world he can cross over into. Wonderful whimsy this is entertaining fare for all and a great introduction to fantasy for younger readers.
mdekleine on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
Fun reading in a not-so common fantasy setting. Lots of humor.
LordRoe on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
These are some very strange books. They're not great, but they have a strange charm to them that kept me reading. Older readers may find the series a bit too childish and trite, but younger readers should enjoy it.
g026r on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
I wasn't expecting much, but was led to believe that Magic Kingdom for Sale¿SOLD! was a humorous fantasy about a character from our world who purchases a run-down fantasy kingdom. Not high art by any means, but perhaps a passable amusement and that's all I was looking for: a fun, light amusement to fill some time between other books.Unfortunately, like the protagonist of this novel, it appears I was sold an incorrect bill of goods: while the rest of the description was correct, the suggested humour was entirely absent. With that result, I found the book to be a fairly bog-standard fantasy novel, ultimately forgettable in all regards, whose prose never rose above workmanlike.
kuatoquaid on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
Classic tale of "triumph if only you believe in yourself." I enjoyed how the "house of cards" he built for himself ended up working out. Predictable, but fun.
melydia on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
This was my introduction to Terry Brooks (not counting the novelization of The Phantom Menace, which I am embarrassed to admit to purchasing), and it was pretty good. The premise was straightforward: depressed lawyer Ben Holiday sees a magic kingdom for sale in a department store catalog, purchases it, and discovers it's not quite everything he hoped it would be. It was well-written and clever, if a bit predictable. It reminded me a lot of the books I read back in middle school, and in its own way was a pleasant trip down memory lane. In short, it's a relaxing bit of light fantasy, but nothing I would go out of my way for.
ddjiii on LibraryThing 6 hours ago
I remembered only after I downloaded the book that Terry Brooks was the author of the offensively derivative Shanarra series, so I went into the book expecting the worst. Sure enough, the writing is quite hackneyed - but the story pulled me in. Ben's character attracted me, and the struggle to make the magic kingdom work seemed a real one. Finally, this is a true fantasy story in which the main character has no fighting ability or magic powers (other than the talisman given to him, over which he has no control.) That is, Ben has to solve his problems just as you or I would. So, a reluctant but genuine recommendation.
slpenney07 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Summary: A Chicago lawyer is missing something from his life, but he can't quite put his finger on what it is, until a listing in a Christmas catalog for a magic kingdom catches his eye.The Take-Away: A very clever fantasy novel. What working adult wouldn't like to escape to a magic kingdom? To find that magic works and mystical creature live? Of course, there's a catch. After twenty-some odd years, the kingdom is in less than stellar shape. No money in the treasury, no army and enemies abound. It's not so much as a kingdom, as a living castle and a strong sense of responsibility without authority.The title was published in 1986 when third person point of view was the standard. If written today, it would benefit from a switch to first person.The series is a bit of required reading for a secret project that I'm working on. I lack a strong foundation in fantasy, and need to get some basics under my belt. I enjoyed the escapist mentality and tried not to notice the dated writing style. Since I'm researching fantastical elements, I don't have comments on the use of magic or the worldbuilding. Yet.Recommendation: A great escape and a promising start to the series.
cmbohn on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The first in the Landover series, and my favorite. Still, I felt it wasn't as good as it could have been. The idea was a really fun one, but the story didn't measure up.
JerriirreJ More than 1 year ago
I love the fairy tale/fantasy genre. Most of the novels today offer us a teenage hero/heroin. As with teenagers, they are often confused, hormonal and unclear about whom they are. This is usually as much of the storyline as the fairy tale part. It was very refreshing in Magic Kingdom for Sale to find an adult main character who knows who he is and accepts his flaws. I loved the premise of this book. It read easily and flowed well. I did wish there was a bit more emotion displayed by the characters. I wanted that attachment where I actually felt what they said that they were feeling. It was more of an action story than an emotional one and I felt it could have been both. Because the action was so well executed and the imagery so vivid, I still enjoyed the book immensely even without the additional emotional connection that I would have liked. The entire time I read Magic Kingdom, I felt as though I was watching a mini movie in my head. The characters and scenery were well depicted and easily visualized. I would love to see it shown love and brought to life on the big screen by a talented director. The movie that played in my head as I read the book was a hybrid mix of Lord of the Rings and The NeverEnding Story with a sprinkle of Harry Potter thrown in. Properly executed I think it could be a classic film. Bottom line, I found this to be a fun, modern fairy tale without the typical teenage angst and well worth the time to read. I am looking forward to the second book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you had a catalog that offered a magical land for sale, would you buy it? You get to be king! You get to be a hero! Magic, romance..its fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At times the solutions to problems call for some suspension of belief of what a normal adult would do, but fanntasy calls for a willing suspension og disbelief,
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
This is an unbelievably unforgettable premise.  I mean, could you just imagine?  If you could buy the things dreams are made of…  Combine this with a solid storyline with lots of plot twists to keep you on your toes and you have a winner.    Brooks has created a magical land full of mythical being and dangers and rewards beyond your wildest imaginings.  He brings the entire world to life, allowing you to do more than simply walk through it, you experience it. The characters definitely made this story.  They were as magical as the land they lived in.  Not only are there a myriad of humans, fairy creatures, and other being to get to know, but there were a number of personalities to fall in love with.  There were certain characters who made me laugh every time they appeared, others who made me cringe.  Above all, however, their plights all tugged at my heart.  The main character took the cake.  He was fantastic.  He is one of those rare individuals who capture your heart, embodying everything that you want to be and all the weaknesses you see in yourself. This was a magical, enjoyable novel that brings Brooks’ world to life in a big way.  I can’t wait to see what happens in Landover next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favoriite series of all time - a definite must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed story! I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GunnyJG More than 1 year ago
Fantastic, original story. This book is begging to be made into a movie. Only problem I had was all of the typos in the nook book version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago but I find myself thinking back on it a lot. I got it as a hand-me down book, but it is a good book. I have read some of the sequeals that I could find and, while they are good extentions of the story, there is something missing in them that was in this book. The one thing this book has, as all fantasies should, a great escape from our world through our imagination.
Ron1234 More than 1 year ago
Great story.  Read this on years ago and I still recommend it.  Still waiting for more books in the Landover series.  For anyone who enjoys a fantasy book with a light touch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago