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

853 customer reviews

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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.

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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: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (853 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many of these reviews have really bashed Goodkind's book, so I would like to say my piece. I have not read Robert Jordan, but I have read David Eddings and many other such fantasy quest writers. I have enjoyed them all. I would like to point out that "there is nothing new under the sun." So everyone complaining about how Goodkind borrows such and such needs to shut-up. Most of the fantasies I've read have been very similar in plot and character, but each is very good according to how the author goes about it.
I must say that I find Goodkind unique. I do feel that the story could use less violence because some of it is gratuitous. But I find his characters very real and touching. They are very easy to empathize with. I found myself actually crying with the characters.
Many fantasy authors I have read are fun to read but I have no trouble putting down most of their books (with the exception of Tolkien and Brooks) when I have to. Goodkind, on the other hand, keeps enough mystery in his series to keep you hooked. It's got lots of action and even romance, albeit a troubled one.
I see many of you complaining because the characters are flawed--some of them are really flawed.I really like this because if we're honest with ourselves, we don't always go around pure as the driven snow. Everyone has a really bad side to them even if they do have to dig deep to find it.
Goodkind has presented characters who are struggling to do what's right against powerful odds. Yes the Confessors are a strange group to belong with the good guys. But I don't think Goodkind is trying to present the 'good guys' as being perfect. He's saying, 'OK, here's somebody willing to compromise. Let's get a wedge in there and maybe we can change the whole system.' Kahlan is that wedge.
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127 of 152 people found the following review helpful By C. Young VINE VOICE on January 26, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
First of all, I don't understand all the harsh reviews of Terry Goodkind's SoT series. Perhaps the themes in his books have appeared in other stories, but that's true of every author. Any fantasy author who has written about magic, wizards, beautiful women, elves, dwarves, dragons, swords, quests, traveling, a great evil foe, etc. has copied that theme from someone else. Many reviewers compare these stories to Robert Jordan's. They may have similarities, but the biggest difference is that Goodkind's books are INTERESTING. If Robert Jordan came up with these themes first (which he didn't), he sure didn't know what to do with them. I'm glad that Goodkind did. It takes Jordan a whole book just to get his characters to finish breakfast.
Others have recommended Terry Brooks over Terry Goodkind while in the same breath complaining that Goodkind copied the themes in his books. Did any of you ever read the Sword of Shannara? The first 100+ pages were a rip-off of The Fellowship of the Ring.
One reviewer, who ranked this book with ONE STAR wrote, "The evil emperor simply wants to control the world, wow...that's so amazing. We have no idea why he wants to control the world or how he got in a position to do that". If this reader had actually bothered to read the words INSIDE the book, he/she would know that why Jagang wanted to rule and also why he has the power he does. If you're going to rank a book as ONE at least read it. If you can't understand it, that's your problem, not the book's.
My last tirade is concerning the repetition others have complained about. He does fill you in on things you might have forgotten from previous books, but it is not overdone in the least.
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40 of 46 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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