Review of THE VOYAGE OF THE JERLE SHANNARA: ANTRAX by Terry Brooks
Del Rey, September, 2001
Deep under an ancient city, an artificial intelligence survives--its mission, programmed into it thousands of years earlier, to survive and protect its information from anyone who would take it. But to survive, it needs power and in the new world which has followed the world of science which created it, power comes from magic. Antrax, that artificial intelligence, scours the world for magic.
In THE VOYAGE OF THE JERLE SHANNARA: ANTRAX, the machine has almost succeeded in its goals. It has captured the Druid Walker and is draining his magic. Now its tools are closing in on the other sources of magic which the Druid brought with him. Bad as this is for Walker's company, the Ilse Witch who hates Walker for the his (supposed) murder of her parents and brother, has captured his ship and holds most of his crew captive. Only a few scattered elves, dwarves, shape changers, and humans remain uncaptured and but hunted.
Author Terry Brooks (see all BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by this author) traces the paths of Walker, the boys Quentin Leah and Bek Ohmsford, the Ilse Witch, Rue Meridian the rover, and the Elf-prince Ahren Elessedil. At the beginning, all except the Ilse witch, are trapped and hunted by enemies far more powerful than themselves. To succeed, they need to strip away their understandings of their limitations and literally transform themselves.
In this sequel to THE VOYAGE OF THE JERL SHANNARA: ILSE WITCH (see our review), Brooks wisely turns the attention away from the cryptic Walker and focusses on the more emotionally approachable boys and prince. With the long preparation for adventure out of the way, ANTRAX throws the reader directly into adventure, letting up the violence only to turn up the intensity of the emotional attachments between his characters. Readers who found ILSE WITCH something of a disappointment should definitely give the series a second chance with ANTRAX.
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