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The Darkling Child

Cover of The Darkling Child

The Darkling Child

Defenders of Shannara Series, Book 2
From New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks comes a thrilling stand-alone novel in his legendary Shannara series—the perfect place for new readers to begin.
After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source—and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.

But danger is already afoot in the village of Portlow. Gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch possesses the uncanny gift, and curse, of the wishsong. And now his coveted abilities have captured the malevolent interest of none other than Arcannen—whose quest for power is exceeded only by his thirst for vengeance. The lone survivor of a brutal assault on a notorious pirate city, the sorcerer is determined to retaliate against the Federation's elite military guard—and use the devastating power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon.
Praise for The Darkling Child

"Brimming with magic . . . a bubbling cauldron of fantasy and intrigue. This novel shines best through a full-bodied embrace of its most wildly imaginative magic and artifice, which is careful not to overshadow the story's greater half, fueled by a complex but well-constructed manifold of motives. The intrigue, grounded in a world that strays just enough from a traditional fantasy universe to elicit delighted curiosity, guarantees a solid fantasy read, especially for those already drawn into Brooks's vast world of Shannara."Booklist

"Brooks's fans and those who prefer their fantasy on a smaller scale will appreciate the more personal but still high-stakes turn in this famous world."Publishers Weekly

Praise for Terry Brooks

"The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks's cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy."—Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!

"If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle."—Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear

"I can't even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks's books I've read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood."—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

"Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading."—Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy

"The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks."—Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series
From the Hardcover edition.
From New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks comes a thrilling stand-alone novel in his legendary Shannara series—the perfect place for new readers to begin.
After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source—and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.

But danger is already afoot in the village of Portlow. Gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch possesses the uncanny gift, and curse, of the wishsong. And now his coveted abilities have captured the malevolent interest of none other than Arcannen—whose quest for power is exceeded only by his thirst for vengeance. The lone survivor of a brutal assault on a notorious pirate city, the sorcerer is determined to retaliate against the Federation's elite military guard—and use the devastating power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon.
Praise for The Darkling Child

"Brimming with magic . . . a bubbling cauldron of fantasy and intrigue. This novel shines best through a full-bodied embrace of its most wildly imaginative magic and artifice, which is careful not to overshadow the story's greater half, fueled by a complex but well-constructed manifold of motives. The intrigue, grounded in a world that strays just enough from a traditional fantasy universe to elicit delighted curiosity, guarantees a solid fantasy read, especially for those already drawn into Brooks's vast world of Shannara."Booklist

"Brooks's fans and those who prefer their fantasy on a smaller scale will appreciate the more personal but still high-stakes turn in this famous world."Publishers Weekly

Praise for Terry Brooks

"The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks's cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy."—Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!

"If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle."—Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear

"I can't even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks's books I've read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood."—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

"Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading."—Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy

"The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks."—Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Paxon Leah was sitting on a bench in the courtyard gardens of Paranor, paging through documents written more than five hundred years earlier that recorded the events in the life of the Elf King Eventine Elessedil, when Keratrix came for him. He could tell immediately from the scribe's solemn face that something was wrong.

    "She's asking for you," the other said without preamble. His eyes seemed tired and haunted. "She says it's time."

    Paxon stared. On a beautiful, sunny day like this one? On a day when everything felt right, and it seemed that the world was at peace and life could go on indefinitely? How could this be?

    That was what he thought as he measured the scribe's words and let their meaning sink in. He didn't have to ask what Keratrix meant. He knew. He had known this was coming. She had told him so herself.

    Aphenglow Elessedil, Ard Rhys of the Fourth Druid Order, was dying.

    He rose at once, wordless and shaken, and followed Keratrix from the gardens into the tower that housed her private chambers. The Ard Rhys kept to herself these days, weakened by age and worn down by both the demands of her office and the passage of time. She was housed on the lower floors, no longer able to handle the stairs and the climb that going to her former chambers and to the upper reaches of the main tower required. She had not been in the cold room in over a year. She had not used the scrye waters once in all that time, relying instead on her chosen successor, Isaturin, to carry out her duties. She was in stasis, waiting for the inevitable. If the truth were told, Paxon believed, she was anxious for it to arrive.

    And now, apparently, it had.

    "Is she sure?" he asked Keratrix as they walked. When he looked at the young Druid, he was reminded of Sebec. Five years earlier, Sebec--­then scribe of the Druid Order--­had been his closest friend at Paranor, and the betrayal of that friendship was a wound that still burned in his memory.

    Keratrix--­slight and small, scarcely a presence as he wafted ahead of Paxon like a wraith in the shadowed hallways--­barely turned. "She insists she is quite sure. I asked this, as well."

    Of course he would. Keratrix was efficient and thorough; he would not leave something like this undone.

    "I can't believe it," Paxon whispered, almost to himself, though he knew Keratrix must have heard.

    And he could not. Five years he had spent as the personal paladin of the Ard Rhys, as the High Druid's Blade. She had brought him to Paranor at a time when he was drifting. She had offered him the position in large part because of his heritage as a bearer of the magical Sword of Leah. She had given him over to training and had kept watch from a distance as he struggled to find his place. When his sister Chrysallin had been taken by the sorcerer Arcannen, Aphenglow was the one who had helped him to get Chrys back and then found a home for her at Paranor--­even though Chrysallin had been sent to kill her and had almost succeeded. And all the while, she had been beset by Sebec's betrayal and Arcannen's scheming to gain control of the order.

    But perhaps even more important than that, she had taken Chrysallin into the order as a student in training, aware of the importance of the gift she possessed and the need to find a way to manage it. For like her brother, Chrysallin Leah bore a legacy of magic. Paxon's was the ability to unlock the power of the Sword of Leah. Chrysallin's was the presence of the wishsong, which she had inherited as a direct descendant of Railing Ohmsford. However, Chrys remained unaware of her powers. Arcannen had kidnapped her in an attempt to use her as a...

About the Author-
  • Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 4, 2015
    The second book in the Defenders of Shannara segment of Brooks’s legendary Shannara series (following The High Druid’s Blade) continues telling a story in which failure could cascade into catastrophe, though the main arc is far less grandiose than Brooks’s previous works. For five years, Paxon Leah has wielded his legendary ancestral blade, the Sword of Leah, as the defender of the Druids of Paranor—defending their leader, Aphenglow Elessedil, in particular. But now Aphenglow is dying. The sorcerer Arcannen Rai, who once kidnapped and traumatized Paxon’s sister to exploit her Wishsong magic, has survived an atrocity and vowed to take revenge by using the young singer Reyn Frosch’s Wishsong. Paxon and a Druid, Avelene, investigate Reyn and confront Arcannen, knowing that the two together would be all but unstoppable. Brooks’s fans and those who prefer their fantasy on a smaller scale will appreciate the more personal but still high-stakes turn in this famous world. Agent: Anne Sibald, Janklow & Nesbit.

  • Publishers Weekly Praise for The Darkling Child "Brimming with magic . . . a bubbling cauldron of fantasy and intrigue. This novel shines best through a full-bodied embrace of its most wildly imaginative magic and artifice, which is careful not to overshadow the story's greater half, fueled by a complex but well-constructed manifold of motives. The intrigue, grounded in a world that strays just enough from a traditional fantasy universe to elicit delighted curiosity, guarantees a solid fantasy read, especially for those already drawn into [Terry] Brooks's vast world of Shannara."--Booklist "Brooks's fans and those who prefer their fantasy on a smaller scale will appreciate the more personal but still high-stakes turn in this famous world."
  • Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series Praise for Terry Brooks "The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks's cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy."--Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia! "If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle."--Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear "I can't even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks's books I've read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood."--Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind "Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading."--Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy "The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks."
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Defenders of Shannara Series, Book 2
Terry Brooks
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