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The Sword of Shannara [Hardcover]

Terry Brooks , The Brothers Hildebrandt
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (429 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 31 1977
Living in the remote hamlet of Shady Vale, the young half-elf Shea Ohmsford knows little of the outside world. And yet, in the desolate, ruined lands of the far north, a dark-hearted sorcerer is plotting his death. The ancient warlock has dispatched a band of deadly Skull Bearers to track Shea down and murder him. For Shea is the last descendant of an ancient Elvin king, and the only person living who can wield the fabled Sword of Shannara - a weapon with the power to thwart the Warlock Lord's terrifying plans. Only the druid Allanon knows where the sword is hidden and even now he rides to Shady Vale to offer his aid. But the Skull Bearers are swift and ruthless, and Shea Ohmsford's destiny may be over before it has begun! And so begins the incredible legend of The Sword of Shannara - a classic story of magic, adventure and epic conflict, from one of the world's greatest living storytellers. Part Two, THE DRUIDS' KEEP and Part Three, THE SECRET OF THE SWORD will be published in successive months.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Review

A marvellous fantasy trip Frank Herbert --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Terry Brooks was a practising attorney for many years, but now writes full time. His first novel, THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 5 months, and this was followed by 13 consecutive bestselling novels. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
The sun was already sinking into the deep green of the hills to the west of the valley, the red and gray-pink of its shadows touching the corners of the land, when Flick Ohmsford began his descent. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Everyone's Piece of Cake Feb. 27 2012
Format:Hardcover
Terry Brooks' first novel, "The Sword of Shannara," fulfills most of the tenets of an old-fashioned fantasy story and the structure of Western classical mythology. In many ways, the adventures of Shea Ohmsfold and the company from Culhaven is analogous to Frodo Baggins' adventure with the Fellowship out of Rivendale. That Tolkien heavily influenced Brook's narrative is without question; but that doesn't detract from my assessment that Brooks is an excellent writer.

Brooks is a master world-builder and his greatest talent is capturing the right words to paint a canvas in the reader's mind, illustrating every scene with powerful and distinguished clarity. We enter the Four Lands of Brooks' debut novel, immersed in every excruciatingly detailed scene, as would characters that have never left their own backyard. Yet as with many first-time writers, Brooks is still finding his groove and his descriptions are often long, often uneconomical. Streams of paragraphs seem to flow down the page before any action or dialogue even takes place. But his ability to paint scenes serves him well in depicting the climactic Battle of Tyrsis. Brooks weaves story threads gracefully, building up dramatic tension, and culminating in a battle that his writing portrays as both epic in scope and tragic for those involved.

In his later novels, over time, Brooks becomes more adept at characterizations and diversifying their point-of-views. In "Sword", some characters, though not all, suffer from a lack of inner complexities and unstrained development. My favourite characters are arguably the most original and well-developed. Panamon Creel is the brave, if morally ambiguous, rogue who despite being a thief, is anchored to the side of good by his code of honor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A sword you just can't hate Feb. 20 2012
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Intellectually, I should hate "The Sword of Shannara." Authors like Dennis McKiernan, Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini throw me into a white-hot rage.

But for some reason, I simply can't bring myself to dislike Terry Brooks and his debut novel, "The Sword of Shannara." Perhaps it's because he's worked so hard SINCE this book to create a distinct fantasy world, or perhaps it's because of the novel's wide-eyed earnestness. But as Tolkien knockoffs go, this is one of the more innocuous ones.

In a future medieval/postapocalyptic time, the mysterious druid Allanon comes to the town of Shady Vale, and warns young half-elven Shea Ohmsford that Sauron... I mean, the Warlock Lord will soon be trying to find him. Shea is the last descendent of Jerle Shannara, and as such is the only person in the whole world who can use the Sword of Shannara. He also gives Shea some magic Elfstones.

Faster than you can say "Shire... Baggins," minions of evil arrive at Shady Vale. Shea and his adoptive brother Flick escape their town, and meet up with Shea's friend Menion and a little gang of the expected tropes (a prince, a dwarf, and two elves). Now they must save a kingdom, wage war against the Warlock Lord, and recover the Sword before it's too late.

"The Sword of Shannara" is pretty shameless in knocking off "Lord of the Rings" -- the basic plot, the giant mutant robot spider, the characters, even the "death" of the wizardly mentor all reek of J.R.R. Tolkien. It reads like the first fantasy that a 15-year-old Tolkien fanboy would write while he's still working out the kinks of how to actually make a story.

And yet... it isn't that bad.

There's something very simple and earnest about the book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Complete Crap, but Entertaining Crap Nonetheless Feb. 16 2013
By Theo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'll make this one short and to the point.

This book is quite simply a complete load of crap. And yes, as you've probably heard before (for example, from just about every other reviewer here), it is incredibly, unbelievably derivative of Lord of The Rings; even more so than most "epic fantasy" books of the same vintage.

That said, it is also quite entertaining. So if you like swords and sorcery epics, and aren't above reading total crap now and then, you might actually enjoy this novel. I know I did. Yes, I admit it! It's true that with every single word I was fully (indeed, unavoidably) aware that I was reading complete and total crap. But it was entertaining crap all the same.

References to fecal matter aside, this book really is garbage. So if you're looking for anything with any depth, originality, wit, style, or substance to it at all, look elsewhere. Otherwise... feel free to go ahead and enjoy some garbage. The literary equivalent of a bag of cheetos.

Hey, it's okay. We all do it from time to time.

Theo.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Garbage - could not find rhythm Oct. 15 2012
By Misery
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book on my kindle and expected a good, fun read. What I found were characters with about as much personality as cardboard and a plot with no direction.

The characters had no motivation and seemed to wander aimlessly...which explains the plot.

I tried several times to "get into" this book but it literally would put me to sleep. I usually read before bed, so this is highly unusual.

The writing is so bland and basic that it ends up being "and x moved there, with y following, thumping z out of the way with a Big Bang".

I really, really do not like this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An unpretentious enjoyable fantasy quest
Some critics have accused Terry Brooks of plagiarizing JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" with the epic fantasy tome "The Sword of Shannara. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2012 by S Svendsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Shannara Review
Terry Brooks is a master of the literary world. His stories are well thought out, as well as written. I enjoyed this book from the first page. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2009 by Nikolai Krimp
4.0 out of 5 stars Terry Brooks - The Sword of Shannara
Brooks introduced me to the world of fantasy. I have read many things since that introduction, and I look back fondly on the time spent reading the Shannara books and series. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2009 by Martin Chayer
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Read
I very much enjoyed this book. several friends and family all read and enjoyed the adventure, the magic, and the journey that Terry Brooks portrayed. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2007 by Fearlesscanadian
1.0 out of 5 stars Please don't attempt to read this book!
Oh my god! How, in what multi-verse, did this book get on and stay on the NY Times best seller list? Were drugs legalized during that time? Read more
Published on July 13 2007 by sail2u
4.0 out of 5 stars Ho Hum.. Plagiarism can be fun.
Well... what fun it has been reading some of the reviews of this book. When I first read it, back in the late 80's, there was no internet - no one to talk to about it. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2006 by David Mccormick
5.0 out of 5 stars all the lonely people, where do they all come from?
So, this is a rip off of tolkien-while tolkien can and has been called a rip off of, oh let me think-Beowulf, Arthurian legend,
Greek mythology, the Bible, etc etc etc.... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2006 by anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars The best books ever!!!!!!
The Shannara books are my all time favorite! The whole series is packed with suspension and adventure. It keeps you turning pages late into the night! Read more
Published on July 18 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a major Tolkien ripoff.
After hearing much praise of the Shannara series at my school, I picked up this book with high expectations. Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Ross Pazzol
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