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Tanequil: High Druid of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Review by Antony Wagman
Simon & Shuster Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0743256743
Date: September 6, 2004 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Terry Brooks needs zero introduction to even the most casual of genre readers ? but for the sake of good form , I will attempt a brief word or two in adoration. Since 1977 Mr Brooks has been presenting his doting public with three very different types of novel. His original route and indeed the one we will deal with later in this review is the Shannara marathon, followed by a comedic fantasy production in The Magic Kingdom of Landover (incidentally not this reviewer?s ?cup of tea? at all!) and then there?s a more serious trilogy of The Word and the Void (now this is excellent reading for those of you unaware!). Such small time productions as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Hook contribute to the all round top drawer talent of one of the best authors in print

Brooks tends to methodically ensure all of his characters are well manicured and thus his story lines flow beautifully. He always writes well for his audience with whom he is clearly well acquainted, though sometimes giving the impression he is slightly talking down to us. Now Shannara isn?t the literary equivalent of brain surgery by any means - one doesn?t finish these book in awe and wonderment, but rather with a sense of mild satisfaction of a job well done. It is his consistent ability to install this feeling in his readers that has built his faithful army of fans up over the years.

This latest Brooks effort is the thirteenth tome in the epic Shannara series and follows on from Jarka Ruus, the first of the High Druid of Shannara books. An immediate gripe is that Brooks? jump into Tanequil from Jarka Ruus is more of a continuation of that first book than a novel in its own right. Let me explain what I mean by this. I read a lot. I?m sure others read more than I, but I find there is nothing worse than picking up a sequel some months after the first book has been finished and several thousand pages of other matter digested in between, to find an author assumes that one has done nothing since volume one other than revising the content ready for the next instalment. It took me some time to clearly focus on the whos , the whys and the wherefores ? where some simple reminders along the way would have been of great assistance.

Anyway ? once one has done a brief refresher course on the major characters and how we left them, Tanequil is unsurprisingly a very good read! Our select band of heroes (What? You don?t remember who they are? Well neither did I sunshine!) continue in their search to arrange the release of Ard Rhys the High Druid, Grianne Ohmsford. She is being detained by a demon Lord of the Forbidding, whilst one of his minions has slipped through the other way to cause havoc in the world of Shannara. Grianne?s nephew Pen is using his fledgling magical ability to fight the Druid enemies of Grianne and in this volume, to find the magical Tanequil. No more on plot to be said - just read and enjoy!.

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