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The Sword of Shannara Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1983

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Frequently Bought Together

The Sword of Shannara + The Elfstones of Shannara (Shannara, Book 2) + The Wishsong of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara)
Price for all three: $22.37

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Product Details

  • Series: The Sword of Shannara
  • Mass Market Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (July 12, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345314255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345314253
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (697 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A marvellous fantasy trip Frank Herbert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....

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Customer Reviews

I rated this 2 stars because it isn't the worst book of all time.
Here is why I think you should spend your time and money on something else: o Brooks use of language in this book is just irritatingly bad.
Matias Bjarland
This book is just an imitation of the lord of the rings, and Brooks is just an imitator of Tolkien.
Dionysios Mertyris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Kylopod on November 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading one of the later Shannara books several years ago, and after recently reading Brooks's stale rendering of the new Star Wars movie, I was not expecting to warm up to his first novel. Boy, was I surprised. I couldn't put it down, for all 726 pages. The book is just one adventure after another, all involving the search for a special sword needed to defeat the evil Warlock Lord who seeks to rule the world. The only man capable of using the sword must embark on a quest to find it, with only a few magic stones as protection against the dreaded Skull Bearers who are after him. If you think this doesn't very original, you're right. But there's one interesting twist: this story takes place in the future.
At least that's what I understood. My friend, who read the book years ago, disagrees. Sure, it appears to be the standard quasi-medieval setting with its kings, its dungeons, and its primitive technology. But one character describes a time in the distant past when humans mastered "a science of machines and power" but ended up unleashing technology in a series of wars that altered the planet and destroyed most of the life on it. Doesn't this sound an awful lot like nuclear holocaust? Society was in ruins, but humans eventually reeemerged along with other "races" they dubbed as gnomes, trolls, dwarves, elves, and the like, all adapted to different lifestyles. They also discovered magic by harnessing the power of the dead.
Other than this curious rationale for a world populated by mythical kinds of creatures, the book rarely strays from the conventions of the genre.
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200 of 262 people found the following review helpful By Ian Fortey on June 10, 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
I finally forced myself to finish this book. I purchased the trilogy and, despite grimacing at nearly every turn of the page, here I am.
I like Terry Brooks in the present. Terry Brooks in the 70's, when he wrote this, was frightening. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is rehashed Tolkien by a less skilled hand. In fact, the last time I wrote on this book, I hadn't even finished it yet. The similarities became even more blatant and, yes, pathetic, as I read on. The reason for it being pathetic, of course, is that Brooks tries to cram into 400 pages what Tolkien did in over 1000.
Witness Shea, our token Frodo with his Sam, now known as Flick, loyal to a fault. Shea/Frodo is no hero, but he's got strength of character and will see this thing through to the end.
Withness Allanon/Gandalf, the wise and ominous figure who knows so much and is a friend to all throughout the lands for he is so wise and blah blah.
Witness Aragorn/Balinor, the heroic man of royalty who..suddenly because Faramir/Boromir near the end of the book when we see that his brother, under the influence of the villanois Stenmin/Grima has ventured to take the throne from the king who is slowly being poisoned to death by Stenmin/Grima. Gasp.
Never forget Gimli/Hendle and then poor Legolas who gets turned into two generic elves who are utterly and totally pointless to the story in its entirety and serve only to remind you that yes, Elves exist here.
And then Menion Leah, who really has no parallel in Tolkien. That must mean he's original, right?
Marvel as they journey through the creepy mountain that is not Moria. Witness Allanon fight a Skull Bearer that is not a Balrog, only to smite the beast but have it grab him at the last second and pull him to a fiery doom.
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43 of 57 people found the following review helpful By T. Diller on December 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I read this book as a 12 yr old, it was my second fantasy book after LOTR, and to a 12 yr old geek, this book was awesome, with all the great elements: wizard, reluctant hero thrust into greatness, a self-contained magical world, and for me, a second dose of epic fantasy to feed the hunger stoked initially by the truly great Tolkien.
So, 18 yrs later, I saw this book sitting on a used bookstore shelf for 25 cents, and I thought, what the heck, I enjoyed it so much the first time through; it might be fun to reread the Sword of Shannara. I was just starting to enjoy the trip down into the Vale (1st paragraph) when I noticed something that totally escaped me the first time through: the writing is terrible! With a slightly more refined appreciation for good literature, I have had a lot of difficulty actually bringing myself to finish the book.
I think the reason it appeals so much to the 12-15 crew is that its level of emotional maturity exactly matches an adolescent boy. The interaction between Flick and Shea and Allanon (with his mocking smile and impenetrable mein) is clearly reflective a strained father-son relationship. Flick and Menion especially seem to be motivated by a strong desire to prove their elders wrong, and otherwise, the characters have completely unrealistic responses to the events that happen to them. They seem not to experience any terror or sorrow after facing hideous creatures, mostly just exhaustion. The flow of events reads very much like the author is transcribing the moves as he and a dungeon-master roll dice over a well used set of D&D manuals. The characters seem to jump instantly into battle mode whenever an enemy shows up, trading blows in turn. Their items come with little modification from the standard RPG inventory lists I used to pore over.
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