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The Druid of Shannara
Author: Terry Brooks

Publisher: Orbit Books
ISBN: 9781841495521
Pages: 464
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Written as the second part of a four part series, Terry Brooks' The Druid of Shannara continues a larger series begun by the author in 1977 with the publishing of The Sword of Shannara. In its second incarnation, the world of Shannara is thrown into chaos, not by evil magic seeking to dominate, but rather by evil magic that wishes to leech the life force from the Four Lands. This departure is the first of many characteristics that ensures the longevity of Mr. Brooks' career; a career that is still growing.
The first of these features is adaptation. Brooks is able to use the same setting for all of his stories. He spaces the events of the first and second series four hundred years apart so that he can continue to use pre-existing themes in new situations. He retains the Leah and Ohmsford families as the protectors of the Four Lands, but the evil they fight is not the evil of the Warlock Lord. In addition, new players are introduced to the story. These include the Federation and the Freeborn Liberation Movement, both of whom will have lasting effects of the Four Lands for centuries to come.
Mr. Brooks' ability to expand and revise his own creation ensures that the plot of his works are never boring. It the constant change also means that readers are always in the same place. What I mean is that someone who did not read the first series could easily begin the second series and not be completely lost (I should know because I started with the third series). The evolution of the world and the characters in the world leads to increased sophistication and development as the novel progresses.
Characters in the novel also portray unique elements in Brooks' style. Readers can easily connect with the druid Walker, who studies the ways of Paranor against his own will. Quickening, the daughter of the King of the Silver River, has the gift of healing, usually expressed by her calm, soothing, words which warm and inspire the company into action. There is also the rash character of Par Ohmsford who makes decisions irrationally and then suffers the consequences of hasty plans. Then there is Par's alter-ego and brother, Coll, who supports his brother and yet adds a hint of rationalism to the story.
Readers connect to characters. Brooks understands this concept and creates for each character a soul that mirrors emotions. It is very easy to feel the grief when a character dies in and Terry Brooks novel, because the reader follows that character from the beginning of their journey, where he or she is usually young and irresponsible, to an emotional maturity that is gained only through experience, and too often, loss.
Brooks writes in a style that moves from one event to the other. He does not waste time exploring unimportant information, and if an event has not bearing on the plot, he does not include it. This quick moving adventure enthralls most readers, who want more that nothing else, to see the conclusion of the novel to learn the fates of the characters.
Finally, Brooks has created a world for modern adventurers. The possibilities of one's imagination are endless, it only needs a jump start every once and a while. Brooks' continuing evolution of the Shanarra series is proof of the power of imagination. He has created a world that the reader has no map to except in his own mind. Brooks presents characters to fill this world that readers can easily associate with either their own lives, or the lives of someone they know. A combination of all of these factors has ensured he survival of the Shanarra series, and provides the foundation for its future growth. "
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