With a hugely popular writing career reaching back more than thirty years, some fantasy readers may think they know all there is to know about the books of bestselling fantasy author Terry Brooks and his seminal world, Shannara. But think again.
To celebrate the conclusion of Terry Brooks’ most recent trilogy, the Dark Legacy of Shannara, we thought we’d unearth a few facts about the world of Shannara which may surprise fantasy readers out there . . .
1. While influenced by The Lord of the Rings, the Shannara series is more influenced by William Faulkner, who wrote generational sagas where family secrets can destroy from within. Terry Brooks wrote his college senior thesis on Faulkner.
2. The Shannara series is set in a far future after the destruction of own world. That means Elves are living in our world right now…
3. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Miles Millar & Alfred Gough (Smallville) are trying to bring THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (UK|AUS) to television à la Game of Thrones.
4. WARDS OF FAERIE (UK|AUS), BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK|AUS), and WITCH WRAITH (UK|AUS) are the three books comprising the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. They are an indirect sequel to THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (UK|AUS), widely regarded as Terry’s best novel.
5. Terry created airships in the Shannara series because he thinks there should be a natural progression in technology from a medieval setting. He also grew tired of keeping track of long treks on horseback.
The Dark Legacy of Shannara is out now in paperback. Terry Brooks’ next novel, THE HIGH DRUIDS BLADE (UK|AUS), is published in March.
Coming in March is something new and very exciting from one of the all-time greats of epic fantasy writing.
THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE is a brand new title from Terry Brooks. It’s the first Defenders of Shannara novel – one of three new stand-alone novels set in his thrilling world of Shannara.
Here for the first time is our UK version of the cover in all its glory, using the stunning artwork from illustrator Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. We feel this new look is just right for Terry’s books – it’s fresh and dynamic and really reflects how Terry’s writing is as breath-taking as ever.
THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE features a brand new hero Paxon Leah – a young man who believes himself to be ordinary, but fate will prove him to be very different indeed . . . It’s one of the most exciting fantasy stories I’ve read in a long time! Secrets are revealed, powers are unleashed, and you’ll see a whole new side to Shannara you never knew existed. Read on for the blurb:
Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once waged war with magical weapons. But those heroes are long gone now, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Paxon leads a quiet life – until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny. When his sister is abducted by a mysterious stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. He is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him – and within his ancestors’ ancient blade.
But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands. Paxon must master it quickly, as his near-fatal clash with a dark sorcerer won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector . . .
Also, don’t forget that the paperback edition of the last book in Terry’s Dark Legacy of Shannara series, WITCH WRAITH, is released on the last day of this year. It’s a perfect end to the series, and a great way to round off 2013!
With publication of WITCH WRAITH (UK | ANZ), the final installment of The Dark Legacy of Shannara, today, we thought we’d take a look back at this incredible series. You already know Terry has fans in his peers, with authors such as Brent Weeks, Christopher Paolini and Peter V. Brett all singing his praises, but readers have also flocked to this series. If you’re a fantasy fan yet to experience the fast-paced adventure, incredible magic and complete epicness of the world of Shannara, this series is the perfect place to start.
The critics on The Dark Legacy of Shannara series
The design of the Shannara books spreads the story line across centuries, yet also makes it easy for new readers to jump in at any point . . . a grand example of the best of the best in the genre‘ – The Washington Post
“This may be the best Shannara novel in years. Highly recommended” – SFRevu
“Explodes from the first page . . . and the action doesn’t stop until the novel’s cliffhanger ending. . . . Intense and exhilarating . . . The author balances character development with intense action, and he has a gift for creating characters the reader cares about. Brooks is one of the best fantasy writers in the business, and Bloodfire Quest is better than its predecessor – Associated Press
“Wards of Faerie is the best novel Brooks has written in years . . . It’s full of hair-raising escapes, twists to established traditions and set pieces familiar to Shannara fans and characters, interesting magic and monsters and diverse relationships - A Dribble Of Ink
“Shannara fans will delight in Brooks’s sorcerous action, skilled characterizations, and rapid-fire storytelling twists” – Publisher’s Weekly
“From the first pages to the harrowing ending, Bloodfire Quest . . . is a thrill ride that will leave readers wanting more. . . . This volume, paired with the first, might be just the right place to introduce new readers to this fine writer” - Booklist
Watch Terry Brooks read the first chapter of WITCH WRAITH
Today we release the paperback of BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK|ANZ) – book two in Terry Brooks’s Dark Legacy of Shannara series following WARDS OF FAERIE (UK|ANZ). It’s a new epic fantasy set in the author’s core Shannara world, and it’s been knocking people’s socks off:
‘Explodes from the first page…the action doesn’t stop until the novel’s cliffhanger ending…Intense and exhilarating…Brooks is one of the best fantasy writers in the business’ ASSOCIATED PRESS
‘[Brooks] brings his distinct talent, giving a true grandeur to clashes involving terrifying creatures and powerful magic’ KIRKUS REVIEWS
‘A thrill ride that will leave readers wanting more…This volume, paired with the first, might be just the right place to introduce new readers to this fine writer’ BOOKLIST
The third book, WITCH WRAITH (UK|ANZ), is released very soon on 16th July.
Back in April, Terry did a very rare signing in the UK for the hardback release of BLOODFIRE QUEST. The queues at Forbidden Planet were phenomenal, and the signing went on for hours! See some pics of the event here.
For those who were unable to make it, we asked readers to send in their questions for this fantasy legend from afar. Now, we release Terry’s answers in the video below:
ps. Is it just me or is Terry awesome? No – the signs say it’s not just me . . .
Terry Brooks‘s latest epic fantasy book BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK | ANZ) has been released this month. It’s the second book in The Dark Legacy of Shannara series and is delighting fans everywhere:
‘Nearly every page is filled with tension and passionate storytelling . . . Bloodfire Quest is a fine follow-up to Wards of Faerie and continues to prove that The Dark Legacy of Shannara is one of the most exciting and satisfying trilogies that Brooks has written in years’ A DRIBBLE OF INK
‘Shannara fans will delight in Brooks’s twists, sorcerous action, skilled characterizations, and rapid-fire storytelling ‘ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
‘Shannara continues to deepen, and Brooks continues to color his world with new hues . . . BLOODFIRE QUEST is an epic adventure packed into 350 pages, delivering more of a punch than many trilogies provide in three books’ BOOK REPORTER
Don’t forget that if you live in the UK, there’s just under a week until Terry visits for the first time in over 5 years. There’s a facebook group here for his signing on 3rd April at 6pm at Forbidden Planet London.
And don’t fear if you can’t make it – UK fans still have time to submit questions and will receive an awesome dragon skull badge at the same time…
Airships have somehow ended up becoming the ultimate symbol of steampunk fiction. But as much as we love their appearance in established steampunk classics such as Gail Carriger’s fantastic Parasol Protectorate novels, Cherie Priest’s BONESHAKER and Stephen Hunt’s COURT OF THE AIR, I’m making a plea that we remember the humble airship does not have to remain in the domain of steam – and the punkification thereof!
I think it’s really time to claim back the airship for epic fantasy. What got me thinking about this was Terry Brooks’s new Dark Legacy of Shannara series, starting with WARDS OF FAERIE (UK / ANZ) and continuing with the recently released BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK / ANZ).
Airships have been in Terry Brooks’ novels for a while, ever since ILSE WITCH I believe, but it’s in his brand new series The Dark Legacy of Shannara that they’re really coming into their own. I couldn’t help thinking – I really, really want to own one of these airships.
Terry Brooks’ airships are like the suped-up, turbo charged versions of the common airship we’re all so familiar with. They’re powered by the sun – using ambient-light sails, something called diapson crystals and radian draws. Light gets converted into energy, and then this energy is expelled through what’s called the parse tubes. They’ve also got sails to gather extra power from the wind. They can easily fly at 1000 feet, and they’re kickass.
In WARDS OF FAERIE, things only get more exciting on the airship front. You don’t have to have read any previous Terry Brooks novels to enjoy this brand new novel, and you don’t have to know a lot about what’s gone before in airship automobile history to appreciate just how cool Terry’s speed-demon designs are.
To set the scene, there are two twins, Redden and Railing Ohmsford, who are thrill-seekers, risking life and limb racing special modified airships of their own design called Sprints.
Now I’m not into fancy cars, superbikes or private jets, but there’s something about these airships that really gets me salivating . . .
Sprints were one wicked pair of machines . . . Painted black from mast to keel, light sheaths black as well to better absorb the power of the sun, they had long, narrow hulls stripped of everything that might slow them down . . .
The controls were set to either side of a shallow depression that served as a cockpit, all within easy reach of the pilot. The pilot lay on his back with his head slightly elevated, facing forward down the length of his body toward the bow . . . Inside the cockpit, the thrusters and steering levers were manipulated by a combination of hands and feet, the cords that ran from the levers to the sheaths, rudder, and fins drawn so tightly that even the smallest amount of pressure would produce a response in the vessel’s handling . . .
These slender black monsters weren’t designed as transports; they were built to race.
*HUMANA, HUMANA* . . . It would be pretty cool to pull up outside Orbit Towers in one of those.
Now Terry Brooks certainly isn’t the only author to be using airships in a fantasy setting. A number of other authors doing this in books that are just as much fantasy as pure steampunk (Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt books, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and Neil Gailman’s STARDUST come to mind…).
But I think that Terry Brooks really is one of the pioneers making airships truly sexy. If anyone can think of sexier airships then I’d be open to opinions!
But all I’m going to say for now is, to quote an Amazon reviewer, “Hold onto your diapson crystals – Shannara is back!”
Mine was back in the mid-1990s. A close friend excitedly showed me a book called THE SWORD OF SHANNARA (UK | ANZ) that his jetsetting pilot father had picked up for him from a bookstore in America. I remember being impressed at its sheer size and being immediately drawn to both the cover (a glowing magic sword, what more could a thirteen-year-old boy want?) and the gorgeous interior illustrations by the brothers Hildebrandt. I forget what gushing eulogy my friend gave about the book, yet it was positive enough for the novel to stick in my mind. Faced with the horrors of a two-week family holiday a short time later, I purchased a copy of THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, thinking it might prove a decent distraction for a fortnight.
It didn’t – because I burned through the novel in two days. I was already a fan of fantasy, having devoured Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and the late Brian Jacques’s much-loved Redwall series, but this was the first time I’d read an adult book – and I was hopelessly smitten. I loved every page, every word. For hours at a time I lost myself in this mythical world, enthralled by the plucky heroes’ dangerous adventure to save the land from darkness. I may not have realised it at the time, but that reading experience was a watershed moment in not just my reading tastes, but my entire life. Read the rest of this entry »
Orbit is so excited to announce that Terry Brooks will be visiting the UK for the first time in over 5 years! He will be in London on holiday but has spared an evening to schedule an event at Forbidden Planet – on Wednesday 3rd April at 6pm. He will be signing copies of the first in his new series, Wards of Faerie (now available in paperback) and his new hardback Bloodfire Quest(out 12th March). Like our Orbit UK Facebook page for full details and updates.
And for all Terry’s UK fans who can’t make it to London, never fear… whether you can attend the signing or not, every person who emails a question for Terry to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a Bloodfire Quest badge! We will film his answers so everyone gets to ‘meet’ him. Plus the top three questions will win a signed and dedicated book. (UK entrants only).
Join us to celebrate a great year for a legend of the fantasy genre! 2013 is an especially exciting year for Terry as his full Dark Legacy of Shannara series will available, with the last novel in the trilogy, Witch Wraith, publishing this July.
Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara, Book One
Bloodfire Quest: The Dark Legacy of Shannara, Book Two
Witch Wraith: The Dark Legacy of Shannara, Book Three
Presenting the brand new cover for WITCH WRAITH (UK | ANZ), the third and final volume in the Dark Legacy of Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
Shannara fans are getting a real treat this year, since they’ll be able to get hold of all three books in this new series by mid-summer. (Thanks Terry!)
Book 1 in this series WARDS OF FAERIE (UK | ANZ) is already out in hardback, but the paperback releases next week on 26th February.
Book 2, BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK | ANZ), releases hot on its heels in a few short weeks on 12th March, and volume 3, WITCH WRAITH, on 16th July this year.
It’s a far faster publication schedule than usual, because we know just how hard it is to have to wait for the next Terry Brooks!
For anyone who’s new to the entrancing world of Shannara, the Dark Legacy trilogy is a fantastic place to start. Find out just why Christopher Paolini says: “If you haven’t read Terry Brooks, you haven’t read fantasy“.
Do you ever wonder what goes into producing the cover artwork for some of the biggest fantasy books out there?
We asked the highly talented illustrator Stephen Youll about how he created the cover artwork for WARDS OF FAERIE (UK |ANZ), the first book in Terry Brooks’s brand new Dark Legacy of Shannara series – out next week on 23rd August.
We wanted a fresh new look for this series – both to appeal to Terry’s die-hard fans and to show that it’s a great point for new readers to get on board with the Terry Brooks phenomenon.
We were delighted with this artwork Stephen produced, so here, in his words, is how it came together:
For Terry Brooks’s first book in the new Dark Legacy series I was asked to create a dragon skull, hanging in a stone alcove with interesting lighting that gave the cover a rich and bold look to it that was different to everything else that was out there. Not much of a challenge?
Step 1: This involves the creation of the alcove shape in the wall. I quickly established the arched alcove with light and shadows on top of a stone textured background.