The High Druid's Blade: The Defenders of Shannara

The High Druid's Blade: The Defenders of Shannara

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F March 26, 2016
 
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The High Druid's Blade: The Defenders of Shannara

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Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life—until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.
  
 When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him—and within his ancestors’ ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector.
  
 But treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. And the blackest of sorcery is twisting a helpless innocent into a murderous agent of evil. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.

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Love me some druid action
(Updated: March 27, 2016)
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5.0

The High Druid's Blade: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks is a great fantasy novel. Paxon Leah is a young man living a non-eventful life until his younger sister gets kidnapped by a man and he must take his family sword and save her. This book immediately made me think that this is what a good fantasy book should be. Paxon starts out as a 20 year old man that is uncertain of where is life should lead. He is running the family air delivery service (yes, the airplanes run by magic in his world) and feels there could be more to his life. Suddenly he is told his 15 year old sister has been kidnapped and he runs to save her. He is told he can have his sister back if he gives up his family sword. Luckily he and his sister both escape but what is so important about his sword?  A young druid shows up at his house and asks him to come with him to speak with his master.  Why does the druid master want to see a common young man?

This story has a little bit of everything but it is all based on excellent pacing, action, and great characters.  One of the characters I found myself appreciating the most was the dark sorcerer, Arcannen.  He is not a good man by any sense of the word as kidnaps girls, runs a brothel, practices illegal magic, and will do anything to keep people from turning on him.  Yet he lives in a world of shades of gray and not just black and white.  He has some positive attributes that will read about in the book too.  Relationships and alliances change in this book and not all druids are noble and good while not all those associated with Arcannen are evil.

This more mature writing style of Terry Brooks is why I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for all fantasy genre lovers.  Those that wonder what the fantasy genre is about or may watch Game of Thrones should also give this book a try.  I liked this book enough that I am realizing it is time to look for more books by Terry Brooks.  Perhaps I have rekindled my love of fantasy novels like in my youth when I read Streams of Silver by R.A. Salvatore.  High praise indeed!

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