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Jarka Ruus (High Druid of Shannara, Book 1) Hardcover – August 26, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews
Book 20 of 12 in the Sword of Shannara Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With Jarka Ruus Terry Brooks embarks on yet another journey with the legendary Ohmsford family. Beginning 20 years after the conclusion of the The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, the High Druid of Paranor Grianne Ohmsford finds herself struggling to unite the druids amid political morass risen from her prior history as the dreaded Ilse Witch. Her enemies' schemes come to fruition quickly and she is banished behind the wall of the Forbidding, the anti-demon security feature that collapsed so spectacularly in the magnificent Elfstones of Shannara. Her fate falls in the lap of the youngest Ohmsford, Penderrin, who unlike his Aunt Grianne and his parents is without the gift of magic. Pen along with Khyber and her uncle, the Elven Prince Ahren Elessedil, learn they must jump through the usual Brooks' hoops to unlock the door of the Forbidding and free Grianne.

Brooks is right at home in this formulaic addition to the Shannara franchise. All the furniture is here: the Druid Keep of Paranor, dark creatures in pursuit of reluctant young heroes and, of course, the Elfstones. The good news is that Brooks remains a master of description and the book hums along with comfortable ease. Devout Shannara fans will find their favorite magical realm exactly as they left it and no doubt anticipate this cliffhanger's sequel. --Jeremy Pugh

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Brooks's first book in a new trilogy treads complacently along the well-worn path of its predecessors. Set 20 years after the conclusion (in 2002's Morgawr) of the three-volume Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, it introduces the next generation of Ohmsfords and Elessedils: Penderrin, airship-flying nephew of former Ilse Witch and now High Druid (or Ard Rhys) Grianne Ohmsford; and Khyber, the Elven Prince Ahren Elessedil's headstrong niece. Teenaged protagonists can be annoyingly clumsy, and these two are no exception. As they set out to rescue Grianne from her politically motivated imprisonment in a bleak parallel plane known only as the Forbidding, they manage to repeatedly draw the attention of their pursuers, fall inopportunely in love and even kill a member of their own party. That neither Pen nor Khyber has the mitigating talents or charm of earlier Shannara heroes leads to the inevitable question of why exactly Fate has decreed that they should be the ones to take on this quest in the first place; a hope of learning the answer, ironically, may be the most compelling reason to anticipate the sequels. While Pen's fear that his family's magic is "thinning out" may parallel real-world criticisms of the most recent Shannara tales, Brooks does know a lot about the proper care and feeding of golden geese. Jaded readers are likely to seek their thrills elsewhere, but fans of formula fantasy will be quite content with the smooth prose, vivid descriptions and comfortable pacing.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: High Druid of Shannara
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey / Ballantine Books; 1st edition (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345435737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345435736
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Terry Brooks and the various Shannara books for 20 years, anxiously awaiting each new series in the ongoing tale. However, I must admit the last trilogy, The Voyage of the Jerele Shannara (TVotJS), was not up to par with the high expectations I have for Terry Brooks writings. While the trilogy did have new settings and characters I thought that many of the story plots and themes had been written about before and just redressed for this trilogy. I awaited the release of the High Druid of Shannara (THDoS) series with caution.
Just a few days ago my wife purchased the first book on THDoS series for me JARKA RUUS (JR) and I found that Brooks had recaptured what I originally so liked about the Shannara series. In this book Brooks brings back some familiar people and places. Several characters from the TVotJS have returned. Most importantly Grianne Ohmsford, the former Ilse Witch, in her current role as Ard Rhys the current leader of the third druid council. Grianne Ohmsford was one of my favorite characters from the TVotJS and I think she makes a great druid, much better than Walker Boh.
Aside from the characters and magic that marks all his books this series has a great story, just as good as THE FIRST KING OF SHANNARA (TFKoS) and right behind THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (TEoS). I have always like TEoS and there are strong links to TEoS in JR. If you have read TEoS and enjoyed reading about the different demons and wondered just what the Forbidding that held them back was about then this story will answer a lot of those questions. Also, the Warlock Lord makes a cameo appearance of sorts in this book. The only thing I did not care for in this book was the abrupt ending.
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Format: Hardcover
Grianne Ohmsford, struggling with the inner demons of her former evil life as the Ilse Witch, also wrestles with the politics of her new role as Ard Rhys, High Druid of Paranor, responsible for the unification of the third Druid Council. Peace and harmony among the races of the four lands seems a distant, faint hope as her enemies on the council, the dissenting druids led by Shadea a'Rhu, refuse to accept the reality of Grianne's redemption and plot to bring her down, each striving to achieve their own ends and bring their own agenda to completion. When Grianne vanishes, seemingly defeated by the circle of treasonous plotters surrounding her and locked behind impenetrable magic walls in the land of the Forbidding, her trusted servant and aide, Tagwen, realizes that his own life hangs in the balance and narrowly escapes Paranor himself. Relentlessly pursued by Terek Molt, another rebellious Druid on the Council and Aphasia Wye, a deadly assassin, Tagwen seeks help from the only people he can think of - Pen Ohmsford, Grianne's resourceful, young nephew and Ahren Ellesdil, a self-exiled elf Druid and master of no small amount of magic himself!

The thrilling chase is on as the Druid Council seeks to eliminate the only loose ends that can spoil their nefarious plans and Pen and Ahren seek to release Grianne from her hellish prison in The Forbidding and seal what appears to be a hole in the magic wall that might well see the re-appearance of the evil warlock in the Four Lands!

With The High Druid of Shannara, Brooks has once again burst onto the fantasy scene and re-established himself as a master of the genre!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think I'm done with Terry Brooks. When I finished this book, I realized nothing much happened. It was all setup. Not to mention there's a lot of repetition, and the main character falls in love with another character immediately. I hate that crap. I refuse to read any more series. Terry could've easily wrapped this story up in one book. There were some imaginative bits in the book, which is the only reason I'm giving it three stars.
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Format: Hardcover
High Druid of Shannara: Book 1
Jarka Ruus is set 20 years after the conclusion of Morgawr (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy). Grianne Ohmsford, formerly the Ilse Witch is now the High Druid (Ard Rhys) of the Third Druid Council at Paranor. Grianne faces the problem of how to make the Druid Council relevant and effective in the Four Lands. She faces skepticism from the Elves and some men, and worse, she faces schemes from some of the Druids who still do not trust her because of her past. These schemes get the best of Grianne early in the book as she is trapped in some alternate realm similar to her own world (I refuse to name it because it is a massive spoiler and there is some joy in discovering where exactly Grianne ended up).
This sets up the main thrust of the novel which is the beginning of the quest to rescue Grianne. We are introduced to the hero of the novel, Pen Ohmsford. Brooks follows the formula of the Shannara series in that a new scion of the Ohmsford clan is tapped to undertake a quest of some sort. While Pen's father, Bek Ohmsford (from the Voyage trilogy) is alive and able, The King of the Silver River maintains that it is young Pen who must venture out to rescue his aunt (Grianne is Bek's sister). While Bek and Grianne have the magic of the Wishsong, Pen is a generation that has been skipped (though he wonders if the magic is just dying out). He does have his own magic, one that he does not think is as important or powerful as the Wishsong. He can empathetically understand animals. Helping Pen out in this quest are Ahren Elessedil (an elf Prince and Druid), his niece and apprentice Khyber Elessedil, and Grianne's dwarf assistant.
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