Booklist Reviews

Brooks' latest entry in the long-popular Shannara saga takes place a generation after events in Talisman of Shannara (1993), in which Walker Boh reluctantly becomes a Druid. Here, Walker is the only one still alive who fought the battles in Talisman. He is also the only living Druid, an outcast, embittered by the refusal of the elf king, Allardon Elessedil, to approve the establishment of an autonomous Druid Council. Now the elf king needs Walker's help in interpreting a map found on a badly injured castaway elf, probably the king's brother who disappeared 30 years earlier on an expedition in search of magic revealed in a seer's dream. Despite the assassinations of both the castaway and the king, Walker is able to prepare for and embark on the voyage chronicled on the map. He realizes that the elven assassins, led by his nemesis, the Ilse witch, would probably make the voyage as well. Among Walker's quest companions are young Quentin Leah, possessor of the magic sword of Leah, and Quentin's adopted brother, Bek Rowe, a boy whose past, like that of the Ilse witch, is shrouded in mystery. The way is long, and danger comes from many sources, as the group first searches for the three keys needed to succeed in the quest and then makes its way to the ruins of Castledown, where the magic of the Old World lies hidden and well guarded. The Ilse witch herself is an enigma whose persona remains misty in the interspersed narratives that follow her activities. The myriad Shannara fans will relish the adventure, the mystery, the magic, and the well-developed characters, elements that hold true to the rest of the saga. The ending is a gripping cliff-hanger that will leave readers impatient for the promised sequel, Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Antrax Sky. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2000)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Library Journal Reviews

When evidence of an ancient magic surfaces in the Elven lands, a race begins between Walker Boh, the last Druid, and his implacable enemy, the young woman known as the Ilse Witch. Brooks sets his newest installment in the best-selling Shannara series a generation after the events of Talisman of Shannara (1993) and introduces a new and intriguing cast of characters along with a few familiar faces. The Shannara mythology gains a new level of history and depth in a tale that should appeal to the series' legions of fans. Libraries may consider purchasing multiple copies to meet demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/00.] Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Echoing with the themes, traditions and enchantments of Brooks's earlier Shannara novels, this lively new adventure, set a generation later, combines the familiar quest format used in The Sword of Shannara with an array of well-defined characters and malevolent beings. Rather than searching for a powerful sword, however, the Druid Walker and the Elven King Allardon Elessedil unite forces to retrieve an ambiguous prize, "a magic of spells invoked by words," that may fortify the Elven government and its people or destroy those who seek it. Guided by the knowledge of the dangers he will face beyond the Blue Divide, Walker spends a lengthy amount of time recruiting his crew members. For heroics, Walker enlists the aid of two Highland boys: Quentin, who has the power of the Leah family sword at his behest, and his foster brother Bek, an orphan of mysterious origins and unknown talents. Providing magical mobility are the Wing Riders, who fly the frequently unfriendly skies on giant Rocs. A female seer and empath, a shapeshifter with a dubious past, a dwarf, a number of Elven soldiers and several colorful, Gypsy-like Rovers who captain, navigate and repair the airship Jerle Shannara round out Walker's questing crew. Throughout, the inimical Ilse Witch, a powerful young sorceress and Walker's bitter rival, shadows the expedition as it overcomes several near fatal encounters. Although this first volume in Brooks's proposed trilogy sputters to a slow start, bogged down by necessary background information and character development, Brooks nevertheless manages to intensify and tighten the story's momentum as the Jerle Shannara reaches its final destination. Fans familiar with the Shannara series, and new readers as well, will enjoy this first Shannara tale in four years. Major ad/promo; 12-city author tour; simultaneous Random House Audio. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.