The Sword of Shannara: In the Shadow of the Warlock Lord : In the Shadow of the Warlock Lord
The fate of a world rests on an unlikely hero. . . .
Tucked away in peaceful Shady Vale, the young half-elf Shea Ohmsford gives little thought to the outside world. Yet far to the north, the evil Warlock Lord has dispatched shadowy Skull Bearers, creatures twisted by dark sorcery, to hunt him down. At the same time, a black-cloaked giant of a man appears in Shady Vale. He claims to be the mysterious Druid known as Allanon, a wizardly wanderer of vast knowledge and power-and he has come to see Shea. For Shea, he says, is the last descendant of an ancient Elven king. Only he, in all the world, can wield the fabled Sword of Shannara. And only the Sword can stop the Warlock Lord from destroying all that lives.
The Sword lies far from Shady Vale, in the Druid castle of Paranor. And Paranor has fallen under the shadow of the Warlock Lord. Yet all is not lost. Shea will rise to the challenge. Together with Allanon and a handful of brave companions, he begins a desperate quest into the very heart of evil. . . .
The Sword of Shannara Part 1: In the Shadow of the Warlock Lord is the newest addition to the Del Rey Imagine program, which offers the best in classic fantasy and science fiction for readers 12 and up.
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April 27, 2003
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Excerpt from The Sword of Shannara: In the Shadow of the Warlock Lord by Terry Brooks
ONE The sun was already sinking into the deep green of the hills to the west of the valley, the red and gray-pink of its shadows touching the corners of the land, when Flick Ohmsford began his descent. The trail stretched out unevenly down the northern slope, winding through the huge boulders which studded the rugged terrain in massive clumps, disappearing into the thick forests of the lowlands to reappear in brief glimpses in small clearings and thinning spaces of woodland. Flick followed the familiar trail with his eyes as he trudged wearily along, his light pack slung loosely over one shoulder. His broad, windburned face bore a set, placid look, and only the wide gray eyes revealed the restless energy that burned beneath the calm exterior. He was a young man, though his stocky build and the grizzled brown hair and shaggy eyebrows made him look much older. He wore the loose-fitting work clothes of the Vale people and in the pack he carried were several metal implements that rolled and clanked loosely against one another. There was a slight chill in the evening air, and Flick clutched the collar of his open wool shirt closer to his neck. His journey ahead lay through forests and rolling flatlands, the latter not yet visible to him as he passed into the forests, and the darkness of the tall oaks and somber hickories reached upward to overlap and blot out the cloudless night sky. The sun had set, leaving only the deep blue of the heavens pinpointed by thousands of friendly stars. The huge trees shut out even these, and Flick was left alone in the silent darkness as he moved slowly along the beaten path. Because he had traveled this same route a hundred times, the young man noticed immediately the unusual stillness that seemed to have captivated the entire valley this evening. The familiar buzzing and chirping of insects normally present in the quiet of the night, the cries of the birds that awoke with the setting of the sun to fly in search of food--all were missing. Flick listened intently for some sound of life, but his keen ears could detect nothing. He shook his head uneasily. The deep silence was unsettling, particularly in view of the rumors of a frightening black-winged creature sighted in the night skies north of the valley only days earlier. He forced himself to whistle and turned his thoughts back to his day's work in the country just to the north of the Vale, where outlying families farmed and tended domestic livestock. He traveled to their homes every week, supplying various items that they required and bringing bits of news on the happenings of the Vale and occasionally the distant cities of the deep Southland. Few people knew the surrounding countryside as well as he did, and fewer still cared to travel beyond the comparative safety of their homes in the valley. Men were more inclined to remain in isolated communities these days and let the rest of the world get along as best it could. But Flick liked to travel outside the valley from time to time, and the outlying homesteads were in need of his services and were willing to pay him for the trouble. Flick's father was not one to let an opportunity pass him by where there was money to be made, and the arrangement seemed to work out well for all concerned. A low-hanging branch brushing against his head caused Flick to start suddenly and leap to one side. In chagrin, he straightened himself and glared back at the leafy obstacle before continuing his journey at a slightly quicker pace. He was deep in the lowland forests now and only slivers of moonlight were able to find their way through the thick boughs overhead to light the winding path dimly. It was so dark that Flick was having trouble finding the trail, and as he studied the lay of the land ahead, he again found himself conscious of the heavy silence. It was as if all life had been suddenly extinguished, and he alone remained to find his way out of this forest tomb. Again he recalled t