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On Sale: August 28, 2007
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-345-50216-2
Published by : Del Rey Ballantine Group
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

With his groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Sword of Shannara and its acclaimed sequels, Terry Brooks brought a new audience to epic fantasy. Then he gave the genre a darkly compelling contemporary twist in his trilogy of the Word and the Void. Last year, in Armageddon’s Children, Brooks undertook the stunning chronicle that united two unique worlds. Now that story of clashing forces of darkness and light, of Shannara’s beginnings and the human race’s possible end, marches forward into an unforgettable second volume full of mystery, magic, and momentous events.

Across the ruined landscape that is America–hopelessly poisoned, plague-ridden, burned, and besieged by demon armies bent on exterminating all mortal life–two pilgrims have been summoned to serve the embattled cause of good. Logan Tom has journeyed to desolate Seattle to protect a ragged band of street urchins and the being known as “the gypsy morph,” who is both mortal and magical, and destined to save mankind unless he is destroyed. Likewise, Angel Perez has her own quest, one that will take her from the wreckage of Los Angeles to a distant, secret place untouched by the horrors of the nationwide blight–a place where the race of Elves has dwelled since before man existed. But close behind these lone Knights of the Word swarm the ravening forces of the Void.

As the menacing thunder of war drums heralds the arrival of the demons and their brutal minions in Seattle, the young survivors who call themselves the Ghosts are forced to brave the dangerous world of gangs, mutants, and worse to escape the invasion. And Logan Tom must infiltrate a refugee compound to rescue Hawk, the leader of the street urchins, who has yet to learn the truth about who and what he is. Meanwhile, Angel Perez has joined an equally urgent mission: to find the Ellcrys, a fabled talisman crucial to protecting the Elven realm against an influx of unspeakable evil from the dread dimension known as the Forbidding. But Angel and her Elf allies must beware–for a demon spy, with a monstrous creature at its command, walks among them.

As the legions of darkness draw the noose tighter, and the time of confrontation draws near, those chosen to defend the soul of the world must draw their battle lines and prepare to fight with, and for, their lives. If they fail, humanity falls.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

ONE

Logan Tom had climbed out of the lower levels of the compound and was starting up the steps to the walls when he heard the cries. They were sudden and sharp and signaled shock and excitement. He was still inside and could not tell what was happening, but he redoubled his efforts instantly, charging ahead, abandoning stealth, throwing caution to the winds.

If he was too late . . .

If they had already thrown Hawk and Tessa from the walls . . .

If, if, if!

The words burned in his mind like live coals. He couldn’t be too late. Not after coming so far and getting so close. He should never have left Hawk in the compound. He should have found a way to take him out when he had the chance. Relying on breaking him free now was a fool’s game, and anyone with an ounce of common sense would have known it!

He was running hard, his black staff held ready in front of him, his concentration complete. He passed dozens of the compound’s inhabitants on the way up, but while a few turned to look, no one tried to stop him. Maybe they could see in his eyes that getting in his way for any reason was a bad idea. If what he was thinking was reflected there, mirrored in eyes that were hard-edged and enraged, they couldn’t miss it.

He was up the steps all the way now and outside, the sports field spread away below him. The spectator seats in this section had been ripped out long ago to provide space for makeshift housing, and he found himself in a cluster of small one-level cottages built out of bricks and wood that were cobbled together to form rooms and stacked from one level to the next. They registered in his mind as he tore through them, following the lanes purposely left clear for passage, charging upward toward the top.

But something unexpected was happening. Those gathered on the walls to watch the death sentence on Hawk and Tessa being carried out were rushing back down almost as fast as he was rushing up. He stopped where he was, bracing himself against the swarm, trying to pick out something that made sense from the babble of words being exchanged.

“. . . nothing ever like it before this, a demon’s work if ever there was one—did you see that light . . .”

“. . . bright as a flare or maybe a . . .”

“. . . wasn’t a trace of them on the ground, and then it got dark again and you could see down . . .”

Logan moved into the shelter of a narrow aisle made over into a walkway between huts, waiting for the way to clear. Whatever had happened, it was all over now. But what had happened?

He grabbed a young man who got close enough and pulled him out of the swarm of bodies. He put his face close. “Tell me what’s going on. Why is everyone running?”

The young man stared at him a moment, seeing something that might have scared him even more than what he had witnessed on the wall. He tried to speak and couldn’t, then yanked his arm free from Logan’s grip and threw himself back into the surging mass of the crowd.

Logan shifted his approach from the common lanes and began making his way upward between the huts in a less direct fashion. He went as quickly as passage would allow, dodging or knocking obstacles aside. Buckets, brooms, pots, and other cooking implements went flying, and shouts of anger from their owners followed after him. In another time and under different circumstances, he would have drawn more attention. But the majority of the compound population was either coming down off the walls or fighting to get to the front gates, anxious to see whatever was out there.

Not the boy, he prayed. Not the girl.

He reached the upper levels where the housing grew sparse and scattered, a concession to the winds and the chill that made living higher up less desirable. The smells of the population gave way to the odors of fish and seaweed floating off the water, and the darkness deepened as the fires and generator lights were left below. Up here, what few lights there were pointed outward toward the gates and the approach to the walls. He passed out of the tangle of huts and walkways, the bulk of the crowd gone past now, and moved along the high wall toward an opening that led out onto what was once the concession area.

He found more buildings here, the same makeshift huts, these mostly for storage, not living. A scattering of the compound’s residents still remained on the wall, looking down over the rim. He chose a young girl standing with her back to him, her attention on whatever lay outside below the walls.

“Where are the boy and girl?” he asked, walking up to her.

She turned and stared at him. She was no more than fourteen or fifteen, her freckled face squinched up as if she had swallowed something unpleasant. “What?”

“The boy and girl?” he repeated. “What happened to them?”

She hesitated. “Didn’t you see?”

“I wasn’t here. Tell me.”

“Well, wow, what didn’t happen! It was so amazing! They threw them— the guards threw them off, together, you know. They flew right out into space like—like scarecrows or sacks of sand. Then a light appeared all at once, a brilliant light. It came right out of nowhere and swallowed them up. When the light disappeared, they were gone, too.”

She glanced over her shoulder and looked down at the rubble-strewn pavement as if to make certain. “I’ve never seen anything like it. No one knows what happened.” She turned back. “I heard one man say it was demon magic! Do you think?”

Logan didn’t know what he thought. “No,” he said. “Did the light seem to come from one of them—from the boy, maybe?”

She shook her head. Her long, sandy hair rippled in the dim light, and she brushed strands of it from her eyes. “No, it didn’t come from anywhere. It just flared up out of thin air and surrounded them. You couldn’t see them at all after that. Everyone just went crazy! It was wonderful!”

He took a moment to consider what this meant. The most logical explanation was that Hawk’s magic—the wild magic of the gypsy morph— had surfaced in an unexpected way. But if the girl was right, if it wasn’t Hawk’s own magic manifesting itself in some unknown way, then it had to have been an intervening magic. Yet where would such magic have come from? Had Hawk and Tessa been saved or tossed from the frying pan into the fire? He knew he wouldn’t find the answer here.

“Hey, mister, do I know you?” the girl asked him suddenly.

He shook his head. “No.”

“You look familiar.”

He peered down over the walls to the rubble below. Nothing, not even the feeders, was there now. Whatever had happened, it had disrupted their plans to absorb the combination of magic and life force expended by Hawk’s death. All those feeders, he thought, gone in the blink of an eye.

The girl was leaning on the railing next to him, studying his face. She must have seen him when he’d come to the compound earlier in the day. She would remember soon enough. It was time to go.

Suddenly her gaze shifted. “Look at that. See all the lights out on the water? Like a million little fires or something.”

He looked to where she was pointing, but what he saw that she couldn’t were the feeders massed along the waterfront, a surging horde of smooth dark bodies writhing and twisting in an effort to get closer to whatever was approaching on the water. He looked beyond to the lights, hundreds of them, couldn’t make any sense of it at first, and then heard the drums and went cold.

At almost the same moment a horn blew from somewhere farther down the walls of the compound, high up in a watchtower, a mournful wail that signaled danger in any language. Someone else had spotted the lights and, like Logan, knew what they meant.

He turned away from the girl. “I have to go. Thanks for helping me.”

“Sure. Weren’t you here . . . ?”

He wheeled back, cutting short the rest of what she was going to say. It was an impulsive act, one born of frustration and despair. He was tired of people dying. “Go find your parents and your brothers and sisters and anyone else you care about and get everyone out of here. Tell anyone you meet. Those lights come from boats carrying an army that will besiege this compound and eventually destroy it.”

She started to speak, but he grabbed her shoulders and held her. “No, just listen to me. I know what I am talking about. I know about this army. I have seen what it can do. Get out of here, right away, even if no one else will go with you. I know you don’t want to, but do it. Remember what I said. If you stay, you will die.”

He left her staring after him, her eyes wide, her face rigid with shock and disbelief. He had no further time for her, nothing more he could do for her. She would believe him or not. Probably not. They seldom did, any of them. They thought it was as safe as it could get inside the compounds. They thought it was so much more dangerous out in the open. None of them understood. Not until it was too late. It was why they were being wiped out. It was the reason the human race was being annihilated.

To his surprise, she came after him, grabbed his arm, and pulled him around. “You’re not serious, are you? About what will happen? None of that’s true, is it?”

He studied her a moment. “What’s your name?”

“Meike,” she answered uncertainly.

“Well, listen closely to me, Meike. Everything I said is true. There are madmen on those boats. They were human once, men and women like those in this compound. But they’ve shed their humanity to serve demons that intend to destroy us all. They kill humans or put them in slave camps. They’ve done it everywhere, all across the country. They will do it here, too. The compound leaders think they can stand against them, think they are safe enough here behind their walls. But other compounds thought the same, and they all fell in the end. This one will fall, too.”

“I don’t have any parents or brothers or sisters,” she said. She brushed at her long hair, her eyes filled with fear. “I don’t have anyone. I don’t know what to do. Where should I go?”

He wished suddenly he hadn’t told her. All he had done was scare her half to death. Besides, it was one life. What difference did saving one life make to what was going to happen here? Even if telling her got her out of here, what did it matter? She would end up dying in the countryside instead of in the city, nothing more. He was suddenly furious with himself. That was his problem, trying to save people like her. He was wasting his time when what he needed to do was what he had come to do in the first place—find the gypsy morph.

He gave her a quick glance and shook his head. “Go anywhere away from the city. Go into the country. Look for others who might want to go with you. There’s safety in numbers.”

He turned away abruptly and started down the walkway for the stairs, intent on getting out of there before anyone realized who he was. Once he was identified, things would become considerably more complicated.

“Mister!” she called after him.

He ignored her, moving faster now, hurrying deliberately to get away, reaching the stairs and descending them two at a time. The crowds had dissipated. He could hear them at the gates below, milling about in confusion as the watchtower horn continued to sound its warning. Already, squads of defenders were forming up in the parade grounds at one end of the field, soldiers carrying weapons, buckling on light armor and belts of ammunition. Well trained and organized, they would go out to meet the threat. They would try to stop the invaders at the docks, to prevent them from landing. They would fail, and then retreat through the streets to the compound, where they would feel safe. They would not be safe; they would be doomed. But it had nothing to do with him. The fighting at the docks and in the streets would last through the night. By tomorrow, he would be far away.

He glanced ahead at the clusters of compound inhabitants, choosing his path. He would go back down to the lower levels and out through the underground passageway. Panther would be waiting, and together they would find the other Ghosts and decide where to go to get away from what was about to happen.

But how in the world, he wondered, was he going to find out what had become of Hawk?

He turned down out of the arena and into the building interior and ran right up against a squad of compound defenders coming out.

“Hold it right there,” one said, and he pointed his weapon at Logan.

Panther hunkered down in the rubble at the edge of Pioneer Square, waiting impatiently. An awful lot had happened since Logan Tom had gone into the compound, and most of it was a mystery to him. He had carried out his assignment, going to the front gates and providing the diversion that Logan needed. He had done a good job of it, yelling up at the guards, demanding that Hawk be freed, that he be allowed to talk to him, that they give him food. He had made it look like he was a half-crazed street kid, and he must have succeeded because the guards on the walls laughed at him. After he’d shouted at them for what he thought was twice as long as necessary for Logan to sneak past them to where the old transportation shelter would give him access to the compound, he had backed off and returned

to the spot where he’d been told to wait, finding a place to hide and settling in.

For a long time, nothing had happened. Then he had seen the flash of light at the gates and heard the cries of those gathered on the walls, but he didn’t know what it meant. He thought about moving to a better position, one closer to the gates, in an effort to find out. But he was worried that if Logan Tom returned with Hawk and couldn’t find him, he might leave him behind. So he stayed where he was, frustrated and edgy. Night deepened until only a pale gray light remained in the western sky and the lights of the compound began to switch on. More time passed, and he found himself increasingly unsettled.


From the Hardcover edition.
Terry Brooks|Author Q&A

About Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks - The Elves of Cintra

Photo © Judine Brooks

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels Armageddon’s Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars®: Episode I The Phantom Menace.™ His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

Author Q&A

Interview with Terry Brooks author of The Elves of Cintra

Question: Publication of this novel, the second in the Genesis of Shannara trilogy, marks the 30th year of your writing career. Congratulations!

Terry Brooks: Many thanks. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone still reads me after this much time. I always said that what I wanted most out of a writing career was longevity.

Q: You still seem to stretch, to challenge yourself as a writer, with each new novel. A lot of writers in your situation would be content to coast along. How do you keep your passion for writing alive?

TB: It’s tempting to coast now and then. Easier to just cut a few corners. But the problem is that it’s nowhere as interesting as trying new things. I think I am lucky enough to be able to work in the worlds I’ve already created. No one is telling me not to go back for another visit. But writing requires passion, and passion requires involvement. So I look for stories about which I feel strongly enough that I am not going to lose interest three quarters of the way through. Readers have a right to expect your best each time out, and I’m not going to disappoint them.

Q: In the acknowledgments to The Elves of Cintra, you write about your friends and family giving you “the space and time to be as strange and disconnected from reality as I needed to be.” I was struck by that phrase . . . Why is it important to you as a fantasy writer to have this freedom, and what does it mean exactly to be “strange and disconnected from reality”?

TB: That’s a little misleading, I suppose. It makes me sound mental. But what I meant was that in order to write in the realm of the fantastic, you have to be able to let go of the real world. Not entirely, of course, but enough so that you can imagine things that transcend what we know. You have to get into the imaginary and then explore what having the imaginary become real means. For example, if the world really were ending, as it is in Armageddon’s Children and Elves of Cintra, how would that happen? How would it affect the population? What if demons were real and driving this cataclysm? You get the point. Readers of fantasy expect you to take them to new places. In order to do that, you have to go there first.

Q: Genesis of Shannara joins the Shannara universe to that of your Knight of the Word series and shows how the world of the Shannara books came to be, born out of the ruins of our world, in a near future where technology has run amuck to produce the cataclysmic social and environmental conditions that allow magic to return to prominence. It seems there is a cyclical process at work in your fictional universe, where magic gives way to science, which then gives way to magic again. Is this vision based on the naturally recurring cycles of our world and the ways in which technology has put the environment at risk?

TB: It is. In part, at least. Everything we know comes and goes in cycles. From the mundane to the extraordinary, this is the nature of our world and of the human condition. But my examination of science as a force for good and evil is one grounded in the present, where it is clear that our choices in the uses of science may well affect the way the world turns out. Certainly concern for the environment is high on my list of issues. But science pervades our lives in so many ways, and we are often incautious with its uses and dismissive of its affects. Who we are and how we live in the present is directly connected to the past, and you have to take a close look at the lessons we once thought we would never forget, but somehow have.

Q: Is the human threat to the environment, through global warming, pollution, and so on, overblown in your opinion?

TB: Not in my opinion. If anything, we aren’t paying enough attention. We aren’t doing enough as individuals to help protect our world and our lives. These issues seem so overwhelming to us. What can we do, we who are just trying to get by ourselves? But we need to do something. If we all do just a little, it can make a difference. Being a part of some effort to help make the world better is a good start.

Q: Is this trilogy more difficult to write than those preceding it? In many ways, it’s your most ambitious work so far. Not only are you juggling multiple storylines, but you’ve got to be faithful to the whole “future history” of your already published Shannara books . . .

TB: Sure, it’s tough. I’m looking at the three books contained in the current series, but beyond that I have a thousand years of pre-history in the Shannara world to span before reaching the First Council of Druids and the beginning of the new world in which magic is dominant. How am I going to cover all that? Beats me, but I’m working on it. In part, the trick is to concentrate on taking small steps so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Q: I can’t understand why Hollywood has never adopted the Shannara books, or indeed the Knight of the Word books. Have your books been optioned? Is there any chance of a movie?

TB: I have sold options to various movie studios on both Shannara and Magic Kingdom over the years, as early as the late seventies. But the experiences were not pleasant, and after awhile, I withdrew the invitation to even talk about it. That changed with the production of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, both of which demonstrated in no uncertain terms how far special effects had advanced and how good movies could be made based on solid story telling. So earlier this year I optioned the Shannara series to Warner Brothers. There is reason to think that they intend to do something important with it. But, as usual, it’s wait and see time.

Q: The King of the Silver River, who was present in the very first Shannara book, plays an important role in this novel too. Who–or what–is this enigmatic figure? What is his connection to the Word?

TB: Now you’re putting me on the spot. The history of the King of the Silver River is covered extensively in several other Shannara books, in particular Druid of Shannara. We don’t know everything about him, as readers. We know he is a faerie creature, that he is almost as old as the Word and something of a contemporary. But we never see the Word, and only a few ever see the King of the Silver River. Does he act at the behest of the Word? Possibly, but also he appears to act on his own. Readers will have to draw their own conclusions.

Q: Is the Word related to the Christian concept of the logos? “In the beginning was the word . . .”

TB: The Word and the Void are meant to be polar opposites–personifications of good and evil that lack a substantive identity and take many different forms. They are meant to be all encompassing, much like good and evil in our own world. It was never my intention to be too specific about origins. That’s territory that belongs to the readers. I have a strong commitment to engaging readers in the storytelling process.

Q: Knights of the word like Logan Tom and Angel Perez serve a mystical woman known as the Lady. Is there a relationship between the Lady and the King of the Silver River?

TB: Not that we know of. Both have a connection to the Word. The Lady is the Voice of the Word. Beyond that, we don’t know a whole lot about her. She never interacts with the King of the Silver River. At least, not yet.

Q: In mainstream novels, writers choose the names of characters and places from already existing sources. As a fantasy writer, you have to make up your own. Do the names just come to you, or do you have a way of generating them?

TB: I take my names, quite literally, from all over. I keep a running list of interesting names, ones I gather in my travels and from my readings. Sometimes I just make them up, but often they have another source. When I put a novel together, I work out the names from my list. Some of them I use as I find them. Some are hybrids. All are chosen to suggest something about the character, creature, or place. I work hard to make my names fit because readers need that grounding.

Q: With the next volume, the Genesis trilogy concludes. Do you have a title yet? And will that book be the final novel that you write about the world of Shannara?

TB: I don’t have a title, even though I am almost three-quarters of the way done with the book. I have a working title, but I probably won’t keep it. It will not be the last book I write in the Shannara world, but it will be the last for a while. Next up is a book from Magic Kingdom.

Q: After thirty years, do you have any unmet goals as a writer?

TB: Oh, sure. If I didn’t have fresh goals, I would find it pretty hard to keep going. But I always have new ideas to work with. I have been writing now through four decades. It think I will try for five. How about that?


From the Hardcover edition.

Praise

Praise

Praise for Terry Brooks

“A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters. If you haven’t read Terry Brooks, you haven’t read fantasy.”
–Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon and Eldest

“Terry’s place is at the head of the fantasy world.”
–Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass

Armageddon’s Children

“In this exciting first of a new fantasy trilogy, bestseller Brooks effortlessly connects the Tolkien-infused magic of his Shannara books with the urban, postapocalyptic world of his Word and the Void series. . . . Longtime Brooks fans and newcomers will be riveted.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Dynamic . . . compelling . . . mesmerizing . . . [with] a cliff-hanger that leaves readers salivating for the sequel.”
–Booklist (starred review)


From the Hardcover edition.

  • The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks
  • July 29, 2008
  • Fiction - Fantasy
  • Del Rey
  • $7.99
  • 9780345484130

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