It’s confrontation time in the world of Shannara, and things are not looking pretty for the good guys.
After getting off to a slightly ho-hum start with the first in this trilogy (Jarka Ruus, 2003), and introducing more conflicts and ominous danger in the follow-up, Tanequil (2004, not reviewed), the ever-prolific Brooks brings things to a satisfying conclusion in the trilogy’s climax. For a good part of the story, the action moves along multiple vectors, all of them fraught with peril, as the battle between the Federation and the Free-born for control of the Four Lands rises to a critical pitch. The resourceful young Penderrin Ohmsford is captured by a pair of evil Druids after finally crafting the powerful darkwand, which he’ll need to rescue his aunt Grianne, the former Ilse Witch, banished by Druid traitors to the gloaming netherworld of the Forbidding. For a time it seems that everyone in the book is either in prison or being rescued, as with Pen’s parents, captured by the villainous Shadea a’Ru and rescued in a daring escape, and Elfstone-carrier Khyber Elessedil, who follows Pen after his ensnarement but who is herself sentenced to death by Shadea. Then there’s the matter of the war—Federation forces under the direction of Sen Dunsidan (allied with Shadea) are beating the tar out of the Elvish armies. Add to all this a bloodthirsty demon set loose in the world from the Forbidding, some nicely detailed battle scenes and a fistful of daring rescues, and you have a fine, though hardly groundbreaking, finish to this trilogy.
Best for lovers of conventional fantasy.