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WesternSFA
The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition
by Terry Brooks
Del Rey, $35, 544pp
Release Date: November 13, 2012

The inside flap covers the synopsis best: “Long ago, wars ravaged the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon reveals that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.

Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of a mighty evil, flies into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save his home, Shea must flee, drawing the Skull Bearer after him in menacing pursuit.

Thus begins the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth.”

The Shannara series is one of the most popular fantasy series of all time, with a total of 20 books in the series. In our family, the Shannara series has introduced three generations (my mother, me and my nephews) to the wonders of fantasy. The insights do add some background but many of them are information any hard-core Shannara fan already knows. The reproduction of the original sketches of the Brothers Hildebrandt black&white drawings are somewhat disappointing in their quality though the full color reproduction of their original color plate that appears on the backside of the cover is well done.

That said, this annotated edition is a must-have edition to any fantasy fan’s collection. And it is a good way to introduce yet another generation to this wonderful series. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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