John Ross, the tortured, conflicted Knight of the Word from Terry Brooks's Running with the Demon
, finally gets a good night's sleep in the sequel. He buys this moment's peace at the cost of his sacred oath to be a champion of the Word, renouncing that pledge after failing to prevent the slaughter of a group of schoolchildren. Duty and destiny are difficult to elude, though, and soon his former charge Nest Freemark, now a college student and Olympic hopeful, arrives to warn him of his imminent destruction, or, worse, his unwitting fall into the service of the Void.
The story winds lazily through sleepy, wet Seattle like a tour bus, steadily building. Everything eventually converges on the homeless shelter where John works with his new sweetie Stefanie Winslow for über-activist Simon Lawrence, a man his dreams tell him he is fated to kill. A thin mystery clouds the identity of the demon conspiring to deliver John unto evil, but the book's real focus is John's fitful, foot-dragging attempts to fulfill his destiny. Knight doesn't provide the suspenseful energy of Running, a book that followed Nest through the dramatic loss of her childhood, but it rejoins her as she assumes the responsibilities of young adulthood and--like that period in life--still manages to deliver satisfying, if more subtle, rewards. --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
Brooks continues his vacation from his trademark Tolkienesque adventures (the Shannara and Magic Kingdom novels) with this urban dark fantasy, a sharp and satisfying follow-up to last year's Running with the Demon. It has been five years since mortal John Ross was anointed a Knight of the Word, and in that time he has suffered a serious crisis of faith. Unable to prevent the death of innocents in senseless acts of violence engineered by demons of the Void, he has fallen from his calling and drifted to Seattle to work with saintly Simon Lawrence and the Fresh Start program for homeless women and children. Nagged by recurring nightmares of a possible future in which he murders his mentor and dismantles the program, John is guilt-ridden, uncertain and vulnerable to a shape-shifting demon who has infiltrated his circle of associates. His only hope is Nest Freemark, the teenage heroine of his previous adventure, who applies her own grasp of the Word to smoke out the demon before John's dreams?which include her death?can come true. The identity of John's demonic manipulator and the meaning of his dreams are carefully crafted mysteries that build to a climax filled with surprising twists and turns. Brooks's real achievement, however, is his orchestration of the tale's social issues and personal dramas into a scenario with the resonance of myth. Both a sprightly entertainment and a thoughtful allegory of the forces of Good and Evil at large in the modern world, this novel is sure to increase its author's already vast readership. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.