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Straken (High Druid of Shannara, Book 3) Hardcover – September 6, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: High Druid of Shannara
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345451120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345451125
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Brooks's satisfactory conclusion to his High Druid of Shannara trilogy (after 2004's Tanequil), young Pen Ohmsford retrieves the "darkwand," whose magic will allow him to enter the Forbidding and find his aunt Grianne Ohmsford, the Ard Rhys of the lawful Druids and the Straken queen. Meanwhile, though the elven army has been defeated, Pied Sanderling leads a desperate (and well-depicted) commando-style operation to destroy a secret superweapon of the Federation. Pen's parents are simply trying to find their son. While the author may not equal the wit of his earlier Magic Kingdom of Landover series, his characterization has grown substantially more sophisticated over the years, and both his optimism about the triumph of virtue and his avoidance of graphic sex and slaughter make this series an excellent starting place for younger readers wishing to explore high fantasy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Brooks concludes the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, which begins with Jarka Ruus (2003) and continues with Tanequil (2004), in an equally rich and riveting high-fantasy style. Young Pen Ohmsford, now armed with the darkwand he obtained from the ancient sentient tree Tanequil, is taken to Parador by Druids who have been pursuing him, is imprisoned, and is deprived of the darkwand, his only means of crossing over into the Forbidding to rescue his aunt Grianne, held captive by a demon. Can Khyber Edessedil, wielder of the Elf Stones, rescue him? The demon that passed through to the Four Lands when Grianne was taken is still working to destroy the barrier between the two worlds. Shadea, the false leader of the Druids, and Federation prime minister Sen Dunsidan continue their machinations aimed at destroying the elf and dwarf populations and expanding their sovereignty. All characters remain true to their already established identities, and Brooks unerringly weaves the many threads of his complex saga into an intricate and colorful tapestry that, taken with the previous books, casts the expected magical spell over the reader. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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

A good story, great characters and a lot of action.
Christian H.
The problem is that this approach feels like fluff, as the first few chapters of the book really don't feel that compelling.
Tempting Reviews
This was the best in this Shannara trilogy, it's also book #14 in the overall series.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on September 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
And so, another Terry Brooks trilogy has come to an end. With Straken, Brooks has now ended his High Druid of Shannara series, and he does it on a pretty good note. This has certainly been his strongest series for quite a while now, but even so, the last book has some major faults that keep it from being wonderful. According to his web site, he is writing a "Pre-Shannara" trilogy next, which is supposedly about the fall of the civilization that led to the way the Four Lands are today. It seems different enough, and I hope that it stays that way, as Straken (not to mention this entire series) shows that he really needs a break from it. Maybe completely changing the focus will help.

When we last left our heroes, Grianne Ohmsford, the High Druid (or "Ard Rhys") had been captured in the Forbidding (an alternate plane where the druids had imprisoned all of the demons of the world) by a demon with ambitions beyond the Forbidding. In fact, they were plans to destroy it and unleash the imprisoned demonic hordes on Shannara itself. Grianne's rival druids had imprisoned her there, ostensibly because of her evil past, but mostly because they are hungry for the power she wields. But they don't know about the demon's plans, and they are unwittingly helping him. Meanwhile, Pen Ohmsford, Grianne's nephew, has sacrificed the woman he loves and a part of his body in order to forge the Darkwand, a way into the Forbidding so he can rescue his aunt. Pen's parents have been captured by the druids and must escape themselves, while Pen's friends fight desperately to come to his aid. But even if Pen succeeds in freeing his aunt, he finds he must still face the demon that has escaped the Forbidding, before it destroys the only thing that stands in the way of waves of demonic invaders.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ethan on October 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The past six years have brought us six new Shannara novels from Terry Brooks. (You realize that it took him four years to write Elfstones?) Each has disappointed in its own fashion, and Straken is no different.

Perhaps my rating is due to nostalgia; the original trilogy and Heritage (a four-book series) were so good that it's probably impossible to sustain that sort of excellence. Maybe with a different author, I would've rated this book a three of five.

But this is Terry Brooks, an author I once celebrated as among the best, who has of late fallen into the trap of over-using themes and characters. He has rewritten the same book several times, trading his ingenuity and characterization for tired storylines and cliched plots.

Straken bothers me for several reasons, but principally I think that it is because Mr Brooks has uncovered one of the mysteries that made his former books so engaging. Like peering into the Druid's mind in Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, we are once again admitted to a previously closed wardrobe: the Forbidding. Imagination surely made it more terrifying than what is portrayed in the 400 or so pages of Straken. Its landscapes, like those of Parkasia, are drab and boring; this is a new world--it should have a bit more verve, even if it is inhabited by demons.

Other concerns are wooden characters, boring villians (the Moric seems surprisingly similar to the Changeling of Elfstones), predictable plot, lack of intrigue, and few plot twists. Almost all of the elements that made his first two series so good are absent from the last two. It saddens me to read one of his books in a night and find myself wishing to finish it rather than savor it. Good books are meant to be read past your bedtime for more than one night.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Erin T. Gibson on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I recommend to Shanara fans that you wait for the cheaper paperback copy-you already know what is going to happen anyway.

I have been a Shanara fan for years (and years and years...) but the High Druid series has really made my turn away. Brooks has gone Dan Brown on his fans, leaving his books well written, but disparingly predictable. There are no more 4:00am finishings- you can put this down until tomorrow with no problem (or the next day, or next week...). I think Brooks need to take some time and stop writing for the contract, and start writing for the story again.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What was shaping up to be the best Shannara-based serial since "The Heritage of Shannara" stumbles on the finish line. Despite a promising start and a strong middle, "The High Druid of Shannara" goes out more with a whimper than a bang, due to several pointless chapters, unbelievable coincidences, the undermining of previously established plot-points and too much stupid behaviour on the part of its antagonists.

Grianne Ohmsford was banished into the world of the Forbidding by her treacherous fellow Druids, under the leadership of Shadea a'Ru. What they failed to understand is that they themselves were being played, as by sending Grianne into the Forbidding, they unknowingly released a demon into their own world who has since been manipulating events in order to secure the destruction of the Ellcrys - the magical tree that stands as a barrier between this world and the demons of the Forbidding.

The only thing that could stop such a thing from happening was Grianne's young nephew Penderrin "Pen" Ohmsford, who was sent by the King of the Silver River to fetch a talisman that could send him into the Forbidding and return with his aunt, before using it again to send back the demon. Gaining possession of the talisman (called a darkwand) cost Pen something he loved dearly, but before he's even had a chance to grieve properly, he finds himself surrounded by an airship fleet of Druids. Discovering that his parents Bek and Rue are held captive at the Druid Keep of Paranor, (and knowing he has to get there anyway if he's to use the darkwand correctly), Pen agrees to accompany them.
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