cover image The Last Druid

The Last Druid

Terry Brooks. Del Rey, $28.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-399178-54-2

Brooks returns to the epic fantasy world he debuted in 1977’s The Sword of Shannara for a final, by-the-numbers adventure that picks up the story from 2019’s The Stiehl Assassin as the residents of the Four Lands continue to confront the invasion of the Skaar, who flee the permanent winter that has fallen across their lands. Meanwhile Tarsha Kaynin works to rescue her mentor, druid Drisker Arc, from the perilous realm he’s been banished to by the evil witch Clizia Porse. The noble Tarsha and villainous Clizia are thinly developed genre clichés and similar laziness in world-building too often makes this a slog. The story’s bare bones will strike many readers as too close to the framework of the Star Wars movies for comfort: a young woman with mystical powers, who has been mentored by an older wizard, must confront another magic user who has turned to the dark side and so betrayed her mystical order. Even longtime fans will likely be happy that Brooks is moving on to a completely new imagined world. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.)