Thursday, April 13, 2006

Book 25: A Knight of the Word

Thursday, April 13, 2006
When I was a young lad I would read every Shanarra novel I could find, and several times.  I read all of Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom of Landover novels.  But for some reason I never picked up Running With the Demon or any of the Word/Void novels.  It really makes no sense because of how much I enjoyed Brooks' work.  A couple of months ago I finally read the first Word/Void novel and was stunned.  Running With the Demon was quite possibly the best thing Terry Brooks has written with an argument to be made about Elfstones.  What's more, it felt fresh.  It was the story of John Ross, a normal man picked by the Word to be its Champion in trying to hold the balance against the Void.  When the novel started, Ross had been a Knight for some twenty or so years and made his way to Hopewell, Illinois to try to stop something from happening.  He wasn't sure what because his dreams only give him a location and a taste of the horrors that would be unleashed on our world if he fails.  He finds a teenaged girl, Nest Freemark and her magic. 
Five years later Nest is a college student and John Ross has given up being a Knight of the Word.  He once had a vision of an event that he needed to stop and he failed.  He couldn't continue to serve, the burden was too hard.  But being a Knight is not a burden one can lay down.  The Void wants to turn John Ross to its side.  The Word needs John Ross to resume the fight.  An agent for the Word contacts Nest to try to convince Ross to rejoin the fight for the Word.  In just a couple of days Ross will take a step that will put him solidly on the path to the Void and he won't know it.  A Knight of the Word is a novel of the continuing fight for balance between the Word and the Void, the fight for John Ross's soul, the future of Nest Freemark and ultimately the future of our world. You see, the world of the Word/Void novels is out own, just with a twist.  Most people have no idea. 
By this point in my life and having read nearly everything Terry Brooks has published (there are a couple of Landover novels I haven't read now) I would have said it was impossible for Brooks to surprise me.  But he has.  I am nearly shocked by just how good his Word/Void novels are.  A Knight of the Word is the second book in the trilogy and it is just as good as Running With the Demon, possibly better.  Even if a reader does not like the typical fantasy novel, I would suggest giving the Word/Void novels a chance.  This is more of an urban fantasy where there is some magic, but it is in a modern setting.  It's worth a look.  This trilogy is the best work that Brooks has produced. 


Wizz. said...

Excitingly enough Brooks new project is a continuation of the Word/Void novels, which will also connect with his Shannara universe. The first book in the new trilogy is called Armageddon's Children!

Look for it this coming August 29th! :)

Amanda said...

I am glad to hear this, because I was just going to ask you for some book reccomendations. Especially fantasy. I have lots of unread books on the shelf ( I am collecting) but I haven't read any of that stuff in awhile. I've meant to read these, but never have! Oh, and Elfstones was your fave?! That's the one that got me started!! My friend Chris forced me to read it. lol! Great book.
Oooh, and I am FINALLY reading the Bell Jar!

Chris said...

I agree about the Word novels, I have always been a hug Brooks fan and I love the departures he takes from his own styles with his different series.

Reading a book from Landover, Shannara, and The Word, it is hard to tell that they are all written by the same person. This variety is what keeps me coming back to Terry Brooks. Even the different Shannara sub-series all have their own vibes.

I always figured that The Word books were tied to the Shannara series in some way, like the Knights being an early version of Shannara's druids. I have missed the last couple of Shannara books, I need to get back on the ball to get ready for the crossover!

Elfstones is still my favorite Brooks novel though.

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