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    THE VOYAGE OF THE JERLE SHANNARA by Terry Brooks

    ILSE WITCH BOOK ONE

    Del Rey, September 2000

    A badly injured elf, a map, and a lost bracelet send Walker Boh, the last Druid, into action. The elf and bracelet can only be reminders of an expedition sent out thirty years ago--an expedition that lost the magic Elfstones and that sought even more powerful magics. If Walker can solve this riddle and find the magic, he will finally be able to achieve his long-time goal of re-establishing a Druid council. Unfortunately for Walker, the Ilse Witch has also learned of the mystery and vows to follow and destroy the druid.

    Walker assembles a small band of elves, mercenary rovers, and young heros in the making, and sets off by airship. Following the map, he must discover the three keys that will open the doors to the ultimate mystery. But if the keys were found by the first expedition, how could they have been returned? The entire adventure smells like a trap and Walker and his group are caught between the ancient forces that lay waiting at the end of their voyage and the vengeful witch who pursues them.

    THE VOYAGE OF THE JERLE SHANNARA is the first book in a new Shannara series and spends a fair amount of time introducing the characters--Walker the druid; the Ilse Witch, Bek, the boy who isnít what he appears to be; Redden Alt Mer, the render air-ship captain; and Truls Rohk, half shapeshifter and half human. Each wrestles with their own demons. Walker finds himself falling into the role of manipulative druid; Bek questions everything; the Ilse Witch herself is saddled with allies who donít trust her and a hatred that controls her. Terry Brooks (see all BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by this author) is a talented author who makes the entire structure hang together.

    Walker keeps his secrets from both the other characters in the novel and from the reader. He claims that they are facing magics that may forever transform their world, but this claim lacks the emotional impact it would have if we saw the threat from Walkerís own mind. Indeed, this emotional distancing is too common in THE VOYAGE OF THE JERLE SHANNARA. Brooks has written a fascinating novel that could have been greater still.

    Two Stars

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