This lengthy fantasy quest does drag its feet here and there but Brooks can’t be accused of failing to entertain. The heroic characters are creatively different, their adversaries are inventively sinister and diverse, and the imaginative geographical features provide vivid settings to portray the tense life and death confrontations between forces of good and evil.
Continuing from the second book, ‘The Elfstones’, the storyline jumps ahead about twenty years, to follow Brin and Jair, the daughter and son of that book’s hero Wil Ohmsford. These youngsters possess their own type of magic ‘The Wishsong’; by imagining wished-for phenomena to occur while singing or humming, they will manifest in reality or be perceived to manifest. This can be as innocuous as making the bud of a flower come into bloom or having hundreds of spiders crawl all over an adversary to his maddening distraction.
The goal of the heroic quest is to reach the location of the Ildatch, an ancient volume of formulae for practicing and controlling evil powers. The book must be destroyed. Doing so will accomplish the destruction of all its evil creatures and creations. This assignment is given to Brin Ohmsford who takes it on with brave determination. Setting out on a separate supportive quest (unbeknownst to Brin) is her brother Jair. The narrative shifts back and forth between the two different but parallel quests which culminate in the final chapters. The only character to reappear from the previous books is the Druid Allanon who plays a major and often mysterious role in attempting to achieve the Ohmsfords’ objectives and their very survival. Although there are a number of strange characters, the strangest is an enormous cat, Whisper, who can read minds and turn invisible! Although it is the third book of the trilogy, this book can be enjoyed independent of the others.