In Running with the Demon, Terry Brooks does nothing less than revitalize fantasy fiction, inventing the complex and powerful new mythos of the Word and the Void, good versus evil still, but played out in the theater-in-the-round of the “real world” of our present.
On the hottest Fourth of July weekend in decades, two men have come to Hopewell, Illinois, site of a lengthy, bitter steel strike. One is a demon, dark servant of the Void, who will use the anger and frustration of the community to attain a terrible secret goal. The other is John Ross, a Knight of the Word, a man who, while he sleeps, lives in the hell the world will become if he fails to change its course on waking. Ross has been given the ability to see the future. But does he have the power to change it?
At stake is the soul of a fourteen-year-old girl mysteriously linked to both men. And the lives of the people of Hopewell. And the future of the country. This Fourth of July, while friends and families picnic in Sinnissippi Park and fireworks explode in celebration of freedom and independence, the fate of Humanity will be decided . . .
A novel that weaves together family drama, fading innocence, cataclysm, and enlightenment, Running with the Demon will forever change the way you think about the fantasy novel. As believable as it is imaginative, as wondrous as it is frightening, it is a rich, exquisitely-written tale to be savored long after the last page is turned.
The genius of Brooks lies in his inspired joining of different worlds in one intricate tale. Here, for instance, are teen romance, satanic horror, elfin fantasy and Native American mythology, among other elements. Nest Freemark, a 14-year-old in an Illinois factory town, possesses magic powers whose precise nature is a mystery, as is the reason for her mother's suicide. Nest's grandmother, a dreary alcoholic since her daughter's death, guides Nest in using the magic but keeps many secrets, including the origin of the strange spirit-beast "Wraith," who protects Nest from the "feeders"--spirits who live on fear and hatred. Nest has a charmingly grouchy elfin partner, "Pick," with whom she tends the spiritual balance of the land. In the midst of Nest's adolescent awakening, a demon comes to town. He is an insidious presence who incites deadly violence and unleashes terrible malevolences from the land itself. John Ross, a "Knight of the Word," arrives to stop him, to protect Nest and to prevent the grim future he sees in his dreams. Dramatically, Ross's character is a confusion: his much-touted presence ends up making no difference at all--Nest herself turns the last trick. Still, Brooks's pacing is fabulous, and he manages to surprise and yet to maintain a feeling of inevitability. The last third of the book is a breathtaking run of near-catastrophes and revelations. As his first novel to be set in the modern world, this volume represents a significant development for Brooks; but his fans should embrace it as eagerly as they have The Sword of Shannara and his many other bestsellers. 250,000 first printing.