cover image The Elf Queen of Shannara: #3

The Elf Queen of Shannara: #3

Terry Brooks. Del Rey, $22 (403pp) ISBN 978-0-345-36299-5

Finely tuned and occasionally elegiac, this third volume of Brooks's projected Heritage of Shannara tetralogy follows Wren Ohmsford in her search for the last of the Elves, part of the quest set for her by the shade of the Druid Allanon as her role in saving the world from destruction by the mysterious Shadowen. Wren and her nonspeaking, telepathic Rover mentor Garth find the Elves in their city of Arborlon threatened by monsters they created themselves in an attempt to revive their ancient magic. After Wren's true lineage is revealed--she is a granddaughter of the queen of the Elves--the girl agrees to lead a small band of companions in a desperate gamble to save her people and fulfill her mission. Wren must overcome her fear of the famous Shannara Elfstones and then learn to manipulate their powers if she is to succeed. Meanwhile, her cousin Walker Boh succumbs to his destiny in the ancient Druid city of Paranor, while Par Ohmsford, with Walker and Wren the third of the ``children of Shannara,'' is further endangered by the sinister Rimmer Dall. Brooks's prose becomes more fluid and his world becomes more complex, ambiguous and credible with each volume. (Mar.)