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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifBallantine Publishing Group (Hardback), ISBN 0-345-39654-5
Talk about your basic unhappy camper…er, druid. After a few hundred years, a war or two -- and don't forget the loss of an arm -- Walker Boh decides to retire to the druids' ancient fortress of Paranor and lick his wounds. Specifically one wound -- the unanimous rejection by all the nations of Shannara of Walter's latest plan.

Book: Terry Brooks, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara I mean, he just wants to reinstate the universally hated and feared guild of druids using representatives from each of the countries. Gee, what's all the fuss about, guys?

So when a Wingrider named Hunter Predd arrives at his doorstep with a message from Allardon Elessedil, the king of the Elves and strongest opponent to Walker's dream of a Druid Council, Walker greets the elven messenger with great caution.

Yet Hunter Predd brings hope in the form of an ancient map with tantalizing clues to a lost artifact of great power. Enough power to subtly (or blatantly) coerce grudging leaders to agree to Walker's plans.

Despite Allardon's death at the hands of an assassin, his eldest son, now king of the elves, still sanctions the expedition. Walker collects a band of adventurers -- including the Rovers, Redden Alt Mer and his sister Rue Meridan (two of the best airship pilots in Shannara), Quentin Leah (a descendant of Morgan Leah) and the orphan Bek Rowe. After outfitting the airship, Jerle Shannara, they begin their race to find the treasure.

Book: Terry Brooks, Angel Fire EastRace?

Oh, didn't I mention that someone else knows about the map and treasure? One of Walker's bitterest enemies, the Ilse Witch, sets out with her own small expedition.

At first the story moves slowly, introducing the various characters as Walker Boh draws the group together. The pace gathers a little speed with the assassination of the elven king and the attempted assassination of Walker. I felt that the time spent building the group left too little time for the travelers' journey. In my opinion, this resulted in a somewhat sketchy account of the discovery of a few of the "keys" needed to find the treasure.

In the end though, the climax satisfied and surprised, displaying Brooks' wonderful trademark style. However, I must say I wasn't too keen on the cliffhanger finale. Call it one of my pet peeves, but I prefer a book to end with a good, solid ending.

Still, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara provides a tense, character driven and thoroughly enjoyable read. Definitely a novel that any Terry Brooks fan -- indeed, any fantasy fan -- should read.

Stephen Smith

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I have to admit that The Voyage of Jerle Shannara: Ilse Witch has not been my favourite Shannara tale, as, although it shows the formation of a true Brooks epic, it also seems rushed, and the characters too hazily sketched, considering it is the strength of his characters that I find most appealing about his books. But, it has hooked me and I was wondering if your web site would show if there was any idea when the next novel could be expected -- it's a very frustrating wait. Thanks.

Anna

Unfortunately, Crescent Blues boasts no special sources for information on upcoming books. My best suggestion would be to keep checking the Terry Brooks/Shannara listings at the big book sites, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. These sites frequently insert placeholders for upcoming books that show an estimated release date.

Jean Marie