“The action is fast and furious . . . A fitting conclusion to one trilogy and a promising taking-off point for another.”—Booklist
Harrowing confrontations with the merciless Ilse Witch and the monstrous Antrax have taken their toll on the intrepid heroes aboard the airship Jerle Shannara. But their darkest adversary now snaps at their heels, in the form of the Morgawr—feeder upon the souls of his enemies and centuries-old sorcerer of unimaginable might with a fleet of airships and a crew of walking dead men at his command. The Morgawr’s goal is twofold: find and control the fabled ancient books of magic and destroy the dark disciple who betrayed him—the Ilse Witch. Now at the mercy of those who seek vengeance against her, the Ilse Witch’s only protector is her long-lost brother, Bek Ohmsford, who is determined to redeem his beloved sister . . . and to fulfill her destiny.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Terry Brooks's The Measure of the Magic.
“If you love Terry Brooks, you must have this book.”—Statesman Journal
“Excellent. . . . It lives up to its predecessors, both within this trilogy and outside it.”—Contra Costa Times
This last installment of the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy, which chronicles the exploits of the remaining adventurers who set out in Ilse Witch (2000) and staggered through the tribulations of Antrax (2001), may not be up to the standard of bestseller Brooks's early work (Sword of Shannara, etc.), but it proves once again that he puts out books that sell because of their quality, not just because of his name on the cover. As newfound mage Bek Ohmsford and his cousin Quentin Leah rejoin the Free Rover crew of the Jerle Shannara after destroying Antrax, tensions mount, for the Ilse Witch the Rovers' mortal enemy has been revealed to be Bek's sister, Grianne, and is now under his protection as she struggles to break out of the catatonic state induced by her encounter with the Sword of Shannara. Worse, the Druid Walker Boh has died, leaving behind only cryptic instructions to those who followed him into Parkasia, and the Morgawr, who trained the Ilse Witch and now seeks her destruction, has captured elven prince Ahren Elessedil and Ryer Ord Star and is using Ryer's talents as a seer to track the Jerle Shannara and those who ride it. As usual, Brooks leaves at least as many loose ends as he ties up and drops in several surprises. Some references won't mean much to someone unfamiliar with this trilogy or the larger Shannara time line, but otherwise the book's neat and subtle exposition makes it quite accessible to new readers without alienating current fans. Neither groundbreaking nor recycled, this book is simply a good read.
An interesting ending to the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Morgawr is full of some unusual twists and turns. While the actual journey seems to have been gotten them nowhere, there are some good things to come about from the voyage. But it isn't over yet. The crew still needs to find their way back home.
Bek really comes into his own in the book. He has learned to stand his ground for what he believes in and fully commits to "fixing" his sister. I found the Ohmsford siblings to be a great pair. Many times they resembled yin and yang. As one was thriving, the other was not. As one did good, the other supported evil. Finally, they both seem to be on the same page and I was very excited to see what they would be able to accomplish together.
The voyage home seems to have a couple different meanings in Morgawr. While the crew of the Jerle Shannara struggle to stay ahead of their pursuers and return to more familiar land, the Ilse Witch is also experiencing the same journey and running from the same pursuer - but for different reasons. When the time comes and everyone is forced to face the Morgawr, the battle is epic in meaning, but not necessarily in scale.
The Morwawr is one of the few books that has left me with the feeling of reading more than one story at once. The themes and journeys were overlaid in such a great way that they all flowed naturally together and the symbolism and metaphor, while very apparent, didn't get in the way. It was a great ending to a series, but there's still some work for the characters to do. I hope to see them again as I continue the overall series of Shannara books.