- Paperback: 375 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey Books
- Series: Book 2 of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara
- Published: (September 18, 2001)
A new novel by Terry Brooks is always a cause for celebration. For more than twenty years, the New York Times bestselling author of the classic Shannara epic has proven himself one of the modern masters of fantasy, winning the hearts and minds of devoted readers around the world. In his last acclaimed novel, Ilse Witch, a brave company of explorers led by the last Druid, Walker Boh, traveled across unknown seas in search of an elusive magic. Yet perhaps Boh and his team were lured there for sinister, unforeseen purposes . . .
Now in Antrax, as the crew aboard the airship Jerle Shannara is attacked by evil forces, the Druid’s protégé Bek Rowe and his companions are pursued by the mysterious Ilse Witch. Meanwhile, Boh is alone, caught in a dark maze beneath the ruined city of Castledown, stalked by a hungry, unseen enemy.
For there is something alive in Castledown. Something not human. Something old beyond reckoning that covets the magic of Druids, elves, even the Ilse Witch. Something that hunts men for its own designs: Antrax. It is a spirit that commands ancient technologies and mechanical monsters, feeds off enchantment, and traps the souls of men.
With the Jerle Shannara under siege and Antrax threatening the bold and unwary, the Ilse Witch finds herself face-to-face with a boy who claims to be the brother she last saw as an infant. Now a young man, Bek wields the magic of the wishsong and carries the Sword of Shannara upon his back. Unsure whether to trust Bek or to slay him, the Ilse Witch takes him prisoner. One has come pursuing truth, the other revenge. Yet both seek Walker Boh–with the fate of the Four Lands hanging in the balance.
Return to the world of beloved novelist Terry Brooks, where creatures drift up from the earth like mist, a hypnotic song can kill, a sword can cut through a veil of lies–and one man, the true heir of an ancient magic, must choose between betrayal and redemption.
“Continuing the saga begun in The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Ilse Witch (2000), bestseller Brooks opens this slick, lightweight fantasy with our band of heroes (Druids, elves, shape-shifters, Rovers, etc.) trapped on an island ruled by the evil artificial intelligence Antrax. Antrax has lured this disparate crew to its underground lair in order to use their assorted magics to expand its influence across the world of Shannara. The expedition’s leader, the Druid Walker, wants to steal Antrax’s ancient technology, but to gain it, he must engage in deadly combat with the machine. The treacherous seer, Ryer Ord Star, and the young, frightened elven prince, Ahren Elessedil, join the fight. Meanwhile, Bek Ohmsford, a prot‚g‚ of Walker’s who’s been left mostly in the dark about his own magical potential, must try to convince his sister, the dangerous Ilse Witch, that his version of their shared past is true, as he struggles to keep her from killing him or his friends. Also complicating the plot are the battles of the Rovers to reclaim the group’s airship the only means for the adventurers to return home. Some emotionally painful encounters occur with former friends who have been enslaved by Antrax, turned into cyborgs and forced to do the nasty AI’s bidding. Brooks’s fans are sure to be pleased with this action-packed yarn, which neatly weaves the many plots and characters into a coherent whole. Those readers looking for more depth or less predictability are unlikely to have started on this series in the first place.” — Publishers Weekly