Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Series by Terry Brooks

Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Series by Terry Brooks
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Overview: Terry Brooks was born in Illinois in 1944, where he spent a great deal of his childhood and early adulthood dreaming up stories in and around Sinnissippi Park, the very same park that would eventually become the setting for his bestselling Word & Void trilogy. He went to college and received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, where he majored in English Literature, and he received his graduate degree from the School of Law at Washington & Lee University.
A writer since high school, he wrote many stories within the genres of science fiction, western, fiction, and non-fiction, until one semester early in his college years he was given The Lord of the Rings to read. That moment changed Terry’s life forever, because in Tolkien’s great work he found all the elements needed to fully explore his writing combined in one genre.
Genre: Fantasy

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1. Isle Witch
Terry Brooks’s new Shannara epic, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, kicks off its first volume, Ilse Witch, with the discovery of a mad elf drifting on wreckage miles out at sea with his tongue and eyes removed and a map secreted among his possessions. The elf is revealed to be a lost prince who set out decades earlier to find old magics on another continent. Walker Boh, the Druid we last saw in The Talismans of Shannara, persuades the Elf King that both vengeance and prudence dictate a second expedition and assembles the usual crew of talented misfits to travel by airship into unknown territory. The forces of evil are on their way as well–the shadowy figure known as the Ilse Witch and the lizard-like mercenaries forced on her by her untrustworthy ally, the Morgawr, are closing in, with acquisition and murder in their hearts.

2. Antrax
Antrax is the second book in the Voyage of Jerle Shannara trilogy, part of an epic started by famed fantasy writer Terry Brooks more than two decades ago with The Sword of Shannara. In this installment, we join the Druid Walker Boh and his companions in the search for Antrax–a powerful and malevolent technological guardian. Walker believes Antrax’s magic is potent enough to help restore the Druid council to the Four lands, a struggle that has consumed his life. But while the unlikely heroes journey in the Jerle Shannara across the Blue Divide to the city of Castledown, the Druid’s archnemesis–the Ilse Witch–and her band of Mwellrets closely follow in an airship of their own. The race is on, and the prize is the power of Antrax. Meanwhile, Bek Rowe discovers that his destiny is inextricably linked with the Ilse Witch herself.

3. Morgawr
This last installment of the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy, which chronicles the exploits of the remaining adventurers who set out in Ilse Witch (2000) and staggered through the tribulations of Antrax (2001), may not be up to the standard of bestseller Brooks’s early work (Sword of Shannara, etc.), but it proves once again that he puts out books that sell because of their quality, not just because of his name on the cover. As newfound mage Bek Ohmsford and his cousin Quentin Leah rejoin the Free Rover crew of the Jerle Shannara after destroying Antrax, tensions mount, for the Ilse Witch the Rovers’ mortal enemy has been revealed to be Bek’s sister, Grianne, and is now under his protection as she struggles to break out of the catatonic state induced by her encounter with the Sword of Shannara. Worse, the Druid Walker Boh has died, leaving behind only cryptic instructions to those who followed him into Parkasia, and the Morgawr, who trained the Ilse Witch and now seeks her destruction, has captured elven prince Ahren Elessedil and Ryer Ord Star and is using Ryer’s talents as a seer to track the Jerle Shannara and those who ride it. As usual, Brooks leaves at least as many loose ends as he ties up and drops in several surprises. Some references won’t mean much to someone unfamiliar with this trilogy or the larger Shannara time line, but otherwise the book’s neat and subtle exposition makes it quite accessible to new readers without alienating current fans. Neither groundbreaking nor recycled, this book is simply a good read.

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