Terry Brooks is enough of a well-established author that you know there will be a certain level of quality to his books. Consistently, since 1977, he’s produced thrilling adventure tales, starting with his Shannara series and later with his dark, brooding Word And Void trilogy. The Genesis Of Shannara books linked the two, and the story is continued in The Bearers Of The Black Staff, which has shaped up to be a short, but vintage Brooks novel.
Hundreds of years after the survivors of the Great Wars were sealed in the valley, the magical barriers have begun to fall. The last bearer of the black staff, a mark of office for the old Knights Of The Word, takes it upon himself to unite the disparate elements of the valley in opposition to a massive Troll army that threatens their safety. It’s fair to say that Brooks’ characters often follow a certain pattern. Panterra Qu can be likened to the Shea and Par Ohmsfords of the earlier books, while Sider Ament is part Walker Boh, part Allanon and part Logan Tom. The novel’s structure also follows a basic pattern; the discovery, the disbelief, the exile, and the return to unite forces against an implacable enemy.
Somehow, however, Brooks keeps his novels feeling fresh and exciting. The Elfstones make an appearance as always, and this does lend a tired sense of repetition, but overall the pace and continuing imagination of his writing feels inspiring and addictive. If you’ve read other books by Brooks then you know what you’re in for, and it will be a good ride. If you haven’t, this is probably one of the shortest novels he’s written, and might well be a good place to start. The second and final part of the Legends series, The Measure Of The Magic, is due out next year.
[isbn name=”Bearers Of The Black Staff”]978-1841495835[/isbn]