“Superior to anything being written in the genre . . . Terry Brooks is one of a handful of fantasy writers whose work consistently meets the highest literary standards.”—Rocky Mountain News
Eight centuries ago the first Knight of the Word was commissioned to combat the demonic evil of the Void. Now that daunting legacy has passed to John Ross—along with powerful magic and the knowledge that his actions are all that stand between a living hell and humanity's future.
Then, after decades of service to the Word, an unspeakable act of violence shatters John Ross's weary faith. Haunted by guilt, he turns his back on his dread gift, settling down to build a normal life, untroubled by demons and nightmares.
But a fallen Knight makes a tempting prize for the Void, which could bend the Knight's magic to its own evil ends. And once the demons on Ross's trail track him to Seattle, neither he nor anyone close to him will be safe. His only hope is Nest Freemark, a college student who wields an extraordinary magic all her own. Five years earlier, Ross had aided Nest when the future of humanity rested upon her choice between Word and Void. Now Nest must return the favor. She must restore Ross's faith, or his life—and hers—will be forfeit . . .
“[An] urban dark fantasy . . . Sharp and satisfying.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Brooks continues his vacation from his trademark Tolkienesque adventures (the Shannara and Magic Kingdom novels) with this urban dark fantasy, a sharp and satisfying follow-up to last year's Running with the Demon. It has been five years since mortal John Ross was anointed a Knight of the Word, and in that time he has suffered a serious crisis of faith. Unable to prevent the death of innocents in senseless acts of violence engineered by demons of the Void, he has fallen from his calling and drifted to Seattle to work with saintly Simon Lawrence and the Fresh Start program for homeless women and children. Nagged by recurring nightmares of a possible future in which he murders his mentor and dismantles the program, John is guilt-ridden, uncertain and vulnerable to a shape-shifting demon who has infiltrated his circle of associates. His only hope is Nest Freemark, the teenage heroine of his previous adventure, who applies her own grasp of the Word to smoke out the demon before John's dreams--which include her death--can come true. The identity of John's demonic manipulator and the meaning of his dreams are carefully crafted mysteries that build to a climax filled with surprising twists and turns. Brooks's real achievement, however, is his orchestration of the tale's social issues and personal dramas into a scenario with the resonance of myth. Both a sprightly entertainment and a thoughtful allegory of the forces of Good and Evil at large in the modern world, this novel is sure to increase its author's already vast readership. Author tour.
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A Knight of the Word
The second story of John Ross (I feel like I have to call him by his whole name) and Nest is a turning of the tables. This time, John Ross is in trouble and Nest is being sent to help him save himself. John Ross has forsaken the Word and the demons are on the hunt. The biggest downfall of this one? I figured out the demon quite early on, and it really ruined the atmosphere for a lot of the story. I didn't get that OMG "surprise, it's me!" moment I was looking for.
While there are some very exciting moments, overall it seemed to move quite slowly with a lot of random sidetracks. I think they were there to confuse you a little so you couldn't guess who the demon was, but they just seemed a little too obvious. Nest was not decisive enough for my taste. I wanted her to go in and take charge, demanding that John Ross listen to her, but she just wasn't like that.
I can see how this world become the world of Shannara, but I sort of want to get to the point already. These are good, just not something that will ever become a favorite. Maybe I just want my Shannara back already!