A Knight of the Word (Word and the Void)

ISBN 10: 0345379632 / ISBN 13: 9780345379634
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Synopsis: An unbroken string of fourteen national bestsellers has established Terry Brooks as today's leading voice in fantasy fiction, a writer whose magical creations and characters are beloved the world over. Now, in this no-holds-barred battle between good and evil, the dazzling sequel to his bestselling Running with the Demon, Brooks surpasses even himself.

In the eleventh century the Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr was chosen to combat the demonic evil of the Void and disappeared from history to fulfill that mission. Armed with powerful magic, Glyndwr became a Knight of the Word--a draining and demanding legacy passed on eight centuries later to John Ross, a professor of English literature on tour in Wales.

In accepting the black runestaff that channeled the magic of the Word, John Ross accepted a solemn trust--and an awful burden. Each night he dreams of hellish futures wrought upon the world by the Void. And each dream is of a future that will come to pass unless Ross prevents it in the present. Crippled in body and soul by the searing magic he wields and the horrors he dreams, sustained only by his faith in the goodness of the Word, Ross drifts across America, a modern-day knight errant in search of the agents of the Void.

Then an unspeakable act of violence shatters his weary beliefs. Haunted by guilt, John Ross turns his back on the Word. With the help of beautiful Stefanie Winslow, Ross slowly builds a new life--a life whose only magic lies in Stefanie's healing love.

But a fallen Knight makes a tempting prize for the Void, and merciless demons soon stalk Ross and all close to him. His only hope is young Nest Freemark, who wields a powerful magic all her own. Five years earlier, Ross had aided Nest when the future of humanity rested upon the choice she would make between Word and Void. Now Nest must return the favor. She must restore Ross's faith, or his life--and her own--will be forfeit . . .

Review: John Ross, the tortured, conflicted Knight of the Word from Terry Brooks's Running with the Demon, finally gets a good night's sleep in the sequel. He buys this moment's peace at the cost of his sacred oath to be a champion of the Word, renouncing that pledge after failing to prevent the slaughter of a group of schoolchildren. Duty and destiny are difficult to elude, though, and soon his former charge Nest Freemark, now a college student and Olympic hopeful, arrives to warn him of his imminent destruction, or, worse, his unwitting fall into the service of the Void.

The story winds lazily through sleepy, wet Seattle like a tour bus, steadily building. Everything eventually converges on the homeless shelter where John works with his new sweetie Stefanie Winslow for über-activist Simon Lawrence, a man his dreams tell him he is fated to kill. A thin mystery clouds the identity of the demon conspiring to deliver John unto evil, but the book's real focus is John's fitful, foot-dragging attempts to fulfill his destiny. Knight doesn't provide the suspenseful energy of Running, a book that followed Nest through the dramatic loss of her childhood, but it rejoins her as she assumes the responsibilities of young adulthood and--like that period in life--still manages to deliver satisfying, if more subtle, rewards. --Paul Hughes

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Title: A Knight of the Word (Word and the Void)
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