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Straken (High Druid of Shannara, Book 3) by Terry Brooks
Review by Adele Tyhurst
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0345451120
Date: 06 September, 2005 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK /

Grianne Ohmsford lies weak and helpless in a dungeon cell in the demon infested world of the Forbidding. Her nephew, Pen Ohmsford, on whom her rescue depends, now has the darkwand he needs to free her. Shadea a'Ru, who sent Grianne into the Forbidding, set Druids to find Pen and destroy him before he can bring her home to the Four Lands.

This third book of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy begins with Pen?s immanent capture by Traunt Rowen and PysonWence, coconspirators in Shadea a?Rue?s plot to usurp the leadership of the Druids by eliminating Grianne Olmsford, the Ard Rhys. Pen has sacrificed two fingers and the girl he loves to acquire the darkwand from the sentient Tanequil tree. Now, his losses may be in vain if the Druids kill him and take the darkwand. Khyber Elessidil, the elven princess who possesses the magical Elfstones, sees what is about to happen. Believing that Paranor is the place they will most likely take Pen, she stows away on a Druid airship bound for the Druid keep. They must find his aunt?s chamber in Paranor so Pen can cross over into the Forbidding and return Grianne to the Four Lands.

Grianne Ohmsford fears for her life and her sanity. The Straken Lord is holding her prisoner and plans to mate with her to bear his monster offspring. Weka Dark, a demon who has been her companion in the Forbidding, has found his way to her cell. She promises to try to take him back to the Four Lands if he helps her escape from Tael Riverine?s keep and get back to the place she entered the Forbidding.

Back in the Four Lands, Sen Dunisen, Prime Minister of the Federation, plans to use a powerful new weapon to destroy the Free-born army and retake the Prekkendorran and the Borderlands beyond. The Moric, a demon from the Forbidding disguised as the Elven sorceress Iridia Eleri, tries to convince Sen that he should first use his weapon in Arborlon, the home of the Elves. This would demoralize the elves and their allies and make it easier to regain the Borderlands. Moric?s real purpose is to destroy the Elves and the sacred Ellcrys, thus freeing the exiled demons from the Forbidding to wreak havoc in the Four Lands.

Straken is the third book in Terry Brooks? latest trilogy, The High Druid of Shannara. This is Brooks? best Shannara book yet. It is fast paced and has multiple interrelated plots. The characters are well developed and you are allowed into their minds to better understand their motivations and struggles. I would definitely recommend this book. However, you must read the first two books of the trilogy, Jarka Ruus and Tanequil, to fully understand and appreciate this book.

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