BrooksBlog: The High Druid’s Blade
On March 11, 2014, Del Rey will publish the first of several stand-alone Shannara books.
It is titled The High Druid’s Blade. I’ve been talking about doing this for awhile, and I feel the time is right for it. I’ve been writing in sets for so long I’ve practically forgotten how to do anything else. Everything I have written in the past fifteen years – save for Princess of Landover and Sometimes the Magic Works – has been in sets of two, three or four. Readers have been patient with me, only asking now and then if I ever intended to write stand-alone books again. Many say they have to wait until an entire set is published to enjoy it. They want to read the story all at once.
So here I am, doing what they have asked me to do, keeping my promise. Only it hasn’t worked out quite like I thought it would. Yes, the books are complete unto themselves. Yes, the stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, and the central story in each is wrapped up by the last page. A few of the characters spill over into subsequent books, and there is a thread there that can be traced through the set of 3 or 4 that I have planned. But so what – each book can still be read by itself? Here’s the thing I didn’t expect.
The antagonist from the first book has become a central figure in all of the others, too. Like one of the Druids, he resurfaces as the main foil of the various protagonists at different time periods during the telling of the stories. I hadn’t intended for this to happen, but somehow he wormed his way into each one. Since writers travel on their instincts in the way armies travel on their stomachs, I’ve had to go with it. It’s a little weird, I admit. But I love the character enough that I want to keep him around awhile.
And it changes out the usual format for a Brooks book. Weird it is, but weird we are, us writers.
Or didn’t you notice?