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  • Jan 29, 2011
In Jarka Ruus (Book 1), Grianne Ohmsford, struggled with the inner demons of her former evil life as the Ilse Witch and the politics of her new role as Ard Rhys, High Druid of Paranor. A faction of dissenting druids on the Council led by Shadea a'Rhu, succeeded in a Machiavellian plot to lock her behind impenetrable magic walls in the land of the Forbidding. Her trusted servant and aide, Tagwen, narrowly escaped Paranor, relentlessly pursued by Terek Molt, another rebellious Druid on the Council and Aphasia Wye, a deadly assassin. Tagwen sought help from the only people he could 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 Trolls, led by Kermadec, a faithful long-time friend of Grianne's, have been blamed for her disappearance and have retreated for now to the safety of their fortified mountain homeland.

The story continues in Tanequil (Book 2), as the small company of stalwarts - Pen Ohmsford; his blind, young love, Cinnaminson; Ahren Ellesdil, druid-in-exile and his apprentice neice, Khyber Ellesdil; Tagwen; and Cinnaminson's father, the Rover Captain, Gar Hatch - follow the cryptic instructions of the King of the Silver River. With the assistance of the banished trolls, they seek the Tanequil, a magic darkwand made from the branches of an ancient sentient tree in Stridegate who must be persuaded to willingly part with a piece of itself. They also strive to avoid certain cruel death at the hands of Terek Molt and Aphasia Wye who relentlessly track them using the residual trail of magic they leave behind them. The Tanequil is the only magic that will somehow open the doors of the Forbidding and allow Pen to enter in an attempt to rescue Grianne from the clutches of the banished Warlock Lord. In the meantime, a rather slimy Sen Dunsidan, Prime Minister of the Federation, fully revealed as a conspirator in the Druid's plot to eliminate Grianne, wages open war against the Freeborn elves to control the four lands and struggles for his political life with Shadea a'Rhu, now sitting as Ard Rhys of the Druid Council.

If Jarka Ruus announced Terry Brooks' re-emergence as a master of the fantasy genre, then Tanequil pushes that envelope further and showcases his skills as a writer that can add realism, extended character development and thoughtful, probing philosophical discussion to an exciting, perfectly-paced action filled plot! For example - not being female myself, I couldn't swear that he got it right - but Brooks provided a thought-provoking discussion on a female's perception of violence and rape! His compelling portrayal of the sibling rivalry between Kermadec, the leader of the Trolls, and his younger brother, Atalan, added high drama and real life characterization to the Trolls' flight from their mountain hideout to Stridegate. When Shadea a'Rhu murders a co-conspirator, the evil that was psychopathic is made even more frightening by its presentation as stunningly banal. Grianne's imprisonment and torture is convincing, to say the least, and demonstrates the depths of despair to which someone in her position can plummet! The exciting climax to Cinnaminson's and Pen's search for the Tanequil in Stridegate provides an inspiring example of how love, of necessity, often means sacrifice. His physical descriptions of the ephemeral, fluid magical landscape of Stridegate are ... well, magical ... I don't think any other word does it justice! Sheer poetry.

This time, he also got the ending right! The second novel ends at a precise turning in the plot and provides a natural starting point to leap into the third installment Straken - which I will be eagerly looking for! He's set the bar mighty high this time but, if he can clear the standard he's set for himself with the final part of The High Druid of Shannara, this will be a trilogy for the ages!

Paul Weiss

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Quick Tip by . January 29, 2011
If Jarka Ruus announced Terry Brooks' re-emergence as a master of the fantasy genre, then Tanequil pushes that envelope further and showcases his skills as a writer that can add realism, extended character development and thoughtful, probing philosophical discussion to an exciting, perfectly-paced action filled plot!
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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War threatens the Four Lands, and Shannara's only hope lies in Penderrin Ohmsford, but it's a dreadfully slim hope. To save his world, Pen must restore his aunt, the former Ilse Witch, to her rightful position as High Druid of Shannara. But first Pen must free his aunt Grianne from the Forbidding: the world of the demons. To have the slightest chance of freeing her, he must find the mystical tree called the Tanequil, and somehow craft a talisman from its wood. But Shadea a'Ru, the treacherous usurper of his aunt's position, will do anything to stop Pen--and she has already captured Pen's parents and forced them to reveal their son's whereabouts. Sen Dunsidan, the monstrous Prime Minister of the Federation, has armed his greatest airship with a horrible new weapon. And Pen is just a boy, accompanied on his dangerous quest by only a Dwarf, a young Elf, and a blind Rover girl.

Filled with action, treachery, and sacrifice, Tanequil will enthrall Terry Brooks's millions of fans as it roars to a shocking conclusion. However, newcomers to the Shannara series should not begin with Tanequil. It's the middle book of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, and the thirteenth novel of a complicated high-fantasy series with numerous characters and sentient races. Newcomers should start with Jarka Ruus, the first book of the High Druid trilogy--or, better yet, with The Sword of Shannara, the first book of the series. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Books, Book, Fantasy, Series, Elves, Shannara, High Druid Trilogy


ISBN-10: 034543577X
ISBN-13: 978-0345435774
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
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