This book was one of the first fantasy novels I ever read when I was a kid. Listening to it now I find it to be as fun as I remember. Although now that I'm older and wiser, I can't help but notice the blatant Tolkien themes. I'm not talking about stuff found in every fantasy novel but actual parallel story lines. Those who didn't like the book because of this are missing the point that this is simply a great entertaining tale. On another note: Although I thought Scott Brick was an excellent narrator for Robert Littell's "The Company"; he didn't get into the characters for the Sword of Shannara. Roy Dotrice from George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series would have been better. If you haven't read that series your missing out on the best the genre has to offer.
I loved the Otori Series, but I was some what sceptical that this story would live up to the first three (I was slightly let down by book 4). Sometimes prequels released after a succesful trilogy seem to be an attempt by the other and publisher to make some extra cash off the series' popularity (i.e. Starwars etc). Not so here. This book was a great story about Otori Shigeru and the events leading up to his discovery of Otori Takeo. Shigeru makes for a fantastic main subject and he deserved to be the focus of his own story. I have been inspired to continue listening to the stories all over again.
This series is amazing. This is praise I do not often give. Although a little confusing at first due to the extreme depth and the vast number of characters, once you have 4 or 5 hours invested in the story you will be hooked. George RR Martin has created a tale unlike any of his fantasy genre predessesors. I'm now on the third book and after about 100 hours of listening to Roy Dotrice's storytelling, I can think of nothing else but Westeros. You will not be dissappointed.
In every sence of the word. Although slow at first it quickly became an addiction. Entertaining beyand measure, it kept me riveted till the 40th hour was complete. Having never read or listened to a spy novel, I am now hooked. I also found myself becoming facinated by the cold war struggle and the politics involved with the last 60 years.
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