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First King of Shannara Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 1997


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First King of Shannara + The Elfstones of Shannara (Shannara, Book 2) + The Wishsong of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara)
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Product Details

  • Series: Shannara
  • Mass Market Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Mass Market Edition edition (January 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345396537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345396532
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dark forces are on the move from the Northlands, and Bremen, an outcast Druid, learns of the huge Troll armies on the march and the Skull Bearers who act as their spies. To save the Druids, Bremen must convince the people of the Four Lands that their only hope lies in uniting -- and in using the magic they fear above all else. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

You can't find the Four Lands on any map of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth; but, given all the elves, dwarves, warlocks, trolls and gnomes that run rampant in the setting of Brooks's many Shannara novels (The Talismans of Shannara, etc.), readers can be forgiven for trying. Tolkien's influence is so strong in this prequel to The Sword of Shannara (1977), which launched the series, that many of the events here seem predictable or repetitive. Set 500 years before the events of Sword, the novel chronicles the destruction of ivory-towered Paranor and its Druid scholars, tracing the subsequent adventures of the outcast Druid-magician Bremen. With a handful of companions, he must find and hide the Black Elfstone from the Warlock Lord and forge a magic sword for Elven King Jerle Shannara to wield against the warlock. Brooks's prose generates a breakneck pace, but it lacks depth of characterization and also the wealth of linguistic invention that the most satisfying high fantasy offers. As an allegory of the eternal struggle between good and evil, the vital basis of fantasy, Brooks's mythical universe also suffers from a crucial dearth of those magical moments of heart-stopping revelation when, against all hope, against all reason, against all the forces of evil, salvation comes at last. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels Armageddon's Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars(R): Episode I The Phantom Menace.(tm) His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

Customer Reviews

For others, this book can stand on its own, but I recommend reading the original Shannara series first.
AntiochAndy
The characters are very well developed and rich, without the droning on and on with descriptions that some authors fault.
M Carlton
Over the years I have read every one of Terry Brooks books and (The sword of Shannara ) series is my favorite.
Richard Kemp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Once again, Terry Brooks masterfully weaves his
storytelling magic in The First King of Shannara, the
eighth installment in the popular Shannara series. A
prequel to the series, this book embodies the classic
fantasy world in which the battle between good and evil
predominates in the story. Brooks, master of his art,
allows these "Tolkein-esque" elements to form only the
backdrop of a solidly forged epic, powerful and moving,
allowing readers to embrace characters as only Brooks can
create and develop them.
In great detail, The First King of Shannara answers
many of the questions raised in previous books: the fall of
Paranor and the Druids, the forging of the Sword of Shannara
, the discovery of the Black Elfstone, the origin of Allanon
, and more. Hundreds of years after the First War of the
Races, the outcast Bremen, the last of the Druids, is the
only force that convince the people of the Four Lands that
their only hope to prevent subjugation lies in uniting --
and in using the magic they fear above all else.
Whether dedicated fan or first time reader, this novel
will enthrall you, capturing your full attention and binding
you to the web woven by Terry Brooks. This book in the
least deserves the highest recommendation, and connot be
done justice by any summary, however massive. Only by
personally experiencing the latest work of Brooks can one
understand the wonder and proportion of it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was (as usual) pleasantly surprised to see Terry Brooks attempt to give us a prequel to his enormously successful and fantastic debut, 'Sword of Shannara'. As I started to read 'First King' I began to think that a few facts brought into evidence seemed out of whack with what had been written before in the original first book ('Sword'). After I finished the book, I went and re-read 'Sword of Shannara' and sure enough, there are just a few places where the facts originally set forth by Allanon were re-written a bit different in 'First King'. Now this is just a small annoyance, but for some reason it really got to me. Other than this, I had to say that it was an exceptional fantasy novel. I also have to say that even though the events pre-date the 'Sword of Shannara' you don't have to read it before beginning the series (although if you haven't read any of them, I would recommend going in order if you can). What Brooks does best is develop characters you can identify with, ones with flaws and problems, sometimes impossibly difficult problems...but that is why we root for them and feel like we can understand with them, they are like US. The bad guys are really bad (in this case, I don't think ANY evil creature in ALL the Shannara books is as bad as the Warlock Lord) and the good guys are good, and there are a few who are questionable...he gets you to wondering whether or not they will step up to the plate when necessary or will they fold and cause a tragedy...well without ruining the story (which should be familiar if you have read 'Sword') some do and some do not (I'll let you find out who they are on your own--it's much more fun that way). Let me just say this: IF you are a Terry Brooks fan, you will probably LOVE this book. If you are NOT a fan of Brooks, you should STILL LOVE this book.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By trollocq on October 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I highly recommend to read the sword of shannara and the heritage of shannara series first, for two reasons first you will understand this book a lot better, and second because is really amazing to read the history of the world and of the characters that you knew in the first seven books and understand what is happening not by what they told you on the first books but by actually reading every part of it.

now, if you already have done that, this is an excelent book, an amzing book and it relates the story of Breman, Allanon`s father, and of the war that caused everything that will happen in the forst seven books and in the later six.

Read it, you will enjoy it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AbeStreet on January 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having read the other 10 Shannara books first I put off reading this prequel to the original SWORD OF SHANNARA. While I like Brooks writing it seems that the 7 Shannara books that followed the original triology are less and less original in plot and weak on character development. However I felt that I had to read this book if for no other reason so that I can claim to have read all 11 Shannara books.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I thought the background history on Breman and the castle at Paranor was insightful and actually fills in the gaps for things mentioned in other Shannara books. I also enjoyed reading about the other druids and the different walks of life they came from and returned to. There is various background information on various places and people that will have direct or indirect roles in other books. Finally fans of Shannara are treated to the origin of Allanon.
The only complaint I have is the ending of the book. The final hundred pages of the book devotes to much time to detailing battle scenes and not enough to the confrontation of the Warlock Lord and King Jerele. Anyway, this book is a good read. It would be a good stand alone read but for those who have read other Shannara books they will find it very interesting. Out of the 11 Shannara books I would place this fourth in my line of favorites. Right after the first triolgy; THE SWORD, ELFSTONES and WHISHSHONG OF SHANNARA.
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