Ilse Witch (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Book 1)

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9780345396549: Ilse Witch (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Book 1)

New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks returns to the fantasy that launched his career--the fantasy that remains closest to his heart, and to the hearts of millions of fans around the world. More than twenty years have passed since Brooks set the new standard for the genre with his astonishing first novel, The Sword of Shannara, the now-classic commencement of a centuries-spanning epic of good and evil. Now Brooks embarks on what promises to be his masterpiece--Ilse Witch: Book One of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara.

When the mutilated body of a half-drowned elf is found floating in the seas of the Blue Divide, an old mystery resurfaces. Thirty years ago, the elven prince Kael Elessedil--brother to the current king--led an expedition in search of a legendary magic said to be more ancient, more powerful, than any in the world. Of all those who set out on that ill-fated voyage, not one has ever returned . . .

Until now. For the rescued elf carries a map covered with mysterious symbols only one man has the skill to decipher. That man is Walker Boh, the last of the Druids. But someone else understands the map's significance, someone dark and ruthless: the Ilse Witch, a beautiful but twisted young woman who wields a magic as potent as his own. She will stop at nothing to possess the map--and the magic it leads to. To stop her, Walker must find the magic first.

So begins the voyage of the Jerle Shannara. Aboard the sleek, swift airship are an elven prince; a Rover girl; a monstrous creature part man, part enigma; and a young man named Bek Rowe, who may unknowingly hold the key to the success of the mission--or to its cataclysmic failure. Now, as old secrets come to light, sowing seeds of mistrust and suspicion among the crew, the Jerle Shannara flies into the face of unknown terrors, while the Ilse Witch and her dark allies follow, waiting to strike . . .

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Review:

Terry Brooks's new Shannara epic, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, kicks off its first volume, Ilse Witch, with the discovery of a mad elf drifting on wreckage miles out at sea with his tongue and eyes removed and a map secreted among his possessions. The elf is revealed to be a lost prince who set out decades earlier to find old magics on another continent. Walker Boh, the Druid we last saw in The Talismans of Shannara, persuades the Elf King that both vengeance and prudence dictate a second expedition and assembles the usual crew of talented misfits to travel by airship into unknown territory. The forces of evil are on their way as well--the shadowy figure known as the Ilse Witch and the lizard-like mercenaries forced on her by her untrustworthy ally, the Morgawr, are closing in, with acquisition and murder in their hearts.

Fans of Terry Brooks will know precisely what to expect from him: undemanding sword-and-sorcery adventure with touches of the gloomily mysterious and of more complex emotions. This is Brooks at his best and this novel is the least dependent on earlier models as it becomes clear that in this sequence the relationship between good and evil is more complicated than usual. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher:

The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Ilse Witch is Terry Brooks' first new Shannara novel since The First King of Shannara (1996), and chronologically it takes place a generation after The Talisman of Shannara (1993). It is book one of a planned trilogy, book two will be published in Sep. 2001. A special note on the jacket: it's done digitally by noted British artist Steve Stone - very cool stuff. Steve Stone also created brand-new art for 4 of Terry Brooks' earlier novels (Sword of Shananra, Elfstone of Shannara, Wishsong of Shannara, and First King of Shannara). I hope you will enjoy this book. - Kuo-Yu Liang, Associate Publisher, Ballantine Books.

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