The Elfstones of Shannara

Terry Brooks
The Elfstones of Shannara Cover

The Elfstones of Shannara


As we begin the Elfstones of Shannara, we soon realize that this is not "Book 2" of your typical fantasy trilogy. Rather than a continuation of Shea's story from the Sword of Shannara, we pick up two generations later, with Shea's grandson, Wil. We get a glimpse of grumpy old Flick, but then we are quickly swept away into a new story, in a new land, with... mostly new people. We have Allanon and the Elven king Eventine Elessedil as holdovers from the previous story. (Eventine Elessedil, by the way, is maybe my favorite example of the route many authors take when naming Elven characters, of shoving as many e's into the name as possible.)

Wil is charged with the protection of Eventine's granddaughter, Amberle, the last of the Chosen. Her order was charged with the protection of the Ellcrys, the sacred tree of the elves. The Ellcrys was created to hold their ancient enemy, the demons, within a dimensional purgatory, and they've waited thousands of years to escape and exact their revenge on the Elves. Well, the Ellcrys is dying, and the wall holding back the demons is weakening. Already the strongest demons have broken through and are hunting Amberle. See, she (now, get ready for this)... she is the only one now who can carry the seed of the Ellcrys to the Bloodfire, at Safehold, within the valley of the Wilderun, and carry out a rebirth of the magic tree, all while being hunted by the Reaper, under the direction of the Dagda Mor. And that rustling wind you just heard was the sound of a million non-nerds shaking their heads in confusion and exasperation. But that's fine: it's a great plot.

You'll notice that in my quick synopsis of The Elfstones of Shannara, you heard no mention of... The Elfstones of Shannara. They're there, and they do play a role in the shaping of Wil's character, but honestly, they don't figure much into the plot itself. Keep an eye on them, though, as they will, indirectly, be very important to the third book.