cover image Bloodfire Quest

Bloodfire Quest

Terry Brooks. Del Rey, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-52350-1

Brooks, continuing his long-running Shannara high fantasy series, picks up the story begun in The Wards of Faerie just as anguish strikes Arlingfant Elessedil, the sister of doughty young Druid Aphenglow. Arlingfant is Chosen by the dying sacred tree Ellcrys to become its new avatar, and asked to sacrifice her earthly life to resurrect Ellcrys and reseal the magical Forbidden realm where fearsome demons threaten to escape their centuries-long confinement. Arling will have to carry the Ellcrys's seed to the mysterious Bloodfire, but neither she nor Aphen knows its location, leading inevitably to a quest. Brooks splits his questors into several groups, each with its own grisly trials and often horrid fates, the better to reveal several aspects of his fictional universe. Each sister continually declares she "is there" for the other, a somewhat jarring intrusion of contemporary idiom into the otherwise convincingly colorful fictional world. Shannara fans will delight in Brooks's sorcerous action, skilled characterizations, and rapid-fire storytelling twists, but readers new to the series may yearn for a glossary to tell the heroines and monsters apart. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Mar.)