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Publisher's Summary

Book One in the Magic Kingdom of Landover Series

Landover was a genuine magic kingdom, with fairy folk and wizardry, just as the advertisement promised. But after he purchased it, Ben Holiday learned that there were a few details the ad had failed to mention.

The kingdom was in ruin. The Barons refused to recognize the king, and the peasants were without hope. A dragon was laying waste the countryside, while an evil witch plotted to destroy everything.

Ben's only followers were the incompetent Court Magician; Abernathy, the talking dog who served as Court Scribe; and the lovely Willow - but she had a habit of putting down roots in the moonlight and turning into a tree. The Paladin, legendary champion of the Kings of Landover, seemed to be only a myth and an empty suit of armor.

To put a final touch on the whole affair, Ben soon learned that the Iron Mark, terrible lord of the demons, had challenged all prospective Kings of Landover to a duel to the death - a duel which no human could hope to win.

The task of proving his right to be King seemed hopeless. But Ben Holiday was stubborn.

Pay another visit to The Magic Kingdom of Landover.
©1986 Terry Brooks (P)2007 Brilliance Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    501
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    247
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    60
  • 1 Stars
    37

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    308
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    161
  • 2 Stars
    36
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    21

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    33
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    18
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Al
  • East Windsor, NJ, USA
  • 12-05-09

If you're looking for Tolkein....

This is not it! This is light hearted, easy to follow, and will still suck you in.... if you let it. I wanted something that wasn't mired in so much detail it would put me to sleep (Tolkein) while I drove! I got exactly what I wanted with this book.

I listen in a car and occasionally get distracted, this did not impact the enjoyment I had listening to this book. I will continue to listen to the rest of the series.

At first listen, I wasn't sure I was going to like the narrator, but now... surprisingly, I am a fan as others have also written.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great start to a great series.

I read the first two books of this series back in Junior High and picked the rest up over the next few years. Then I discovered the Brilliance Audio versions, though at the time they only had abridged versions available. Fortunately they had and still have an excellent narrator. Dick Hill narrates both the abridged and unabridged versions and does an excellent job on both. His deep, rich baritone lends itself well to narration, although I agree with those who say his characterization of Abernathy sounds disturbingly like the Geico Gecko. One thing I do wish he'd kept up with from the abridged versions was how when a character was talking on the telephone, the enginneers would add an appropriate effect to one side of the conversation so that it sounded as though it were in fact coming through a phone receiver.
The story opens as Ben Holiday, a trial lawyer from Chicago, receives a Christmas catalog from a New York department store where his wife Annie, dead two years, loved to shop. While thumbing through the catalog, Ben discovers that a fantasy kingdom called Landover is being offered for sale, and that the byer will rule the realm as king. Having become disillusioned with his life since the death of Annie, Ben takes a leap of faith and makes the purchase. Upon arrival in Landover however,Ben discovers the kingdom in shambles. Taxes have not been collected in years, the monarchy has fallen apart and the people refuse to recognize him as king, and a dragon, Strabo, has been ravaging the countryside unchecked for twenty years. There is also the threat of the evil sorceress Nightshade to contend with. Also, the lack of a permanent king has caused the magic to fade from the land, taking with it its life. On top of all this, Ben learns he must soon do battle with the Iron Mark, a demon lord from the netherworld of Abaddon, who himself has claimed the kingship. Only time will tell whether or not Ben will be able to pull through and save the land from ruin.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Constance
  • Milford, CT, United States
  • 01-23-10

Dick Hill does it again!

This kind of fantasy story is not really my cup of tea-or so I thought~ Sometimes I select books to listen to on the basis of the narrator. Same thing here.

When I saw that Dick Hill was narrating I decided to give it a shot. After all, if he can make mysteries and thrillers come to life, why not dragons, fairies, and other creatures of the like? The book met all my expectations. It was great fun. A wonderful grown up fairy tale with some good messages for all human kind creatures. There were so many interesting characters and Dick Hill made them all come alive. When he talks about a dragon "hissing", you really feel like a dragon is hissing. Neat!

It was good for me to take a little escape from reality. I just didn't realize how much fun I would have. I really hated to see it end. I want to see what happens to these characters in the future. Who would have thought? You just never know!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dave
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 09-19-08

Great series.

This is just a fantastic series.

While I had read the series as a trilogy (there is now a forth book I was not even aware existed until searching today), the narration given by Dick Hill just is amazing. At this point he is one of my favorite narrators. I had first heard him on Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper, and his voice moving to the science fiction genre was a little hard for me to get used too. That being said, I did and his narrative of Terry Brooks work is amazing.

The series itself is a tale that will allow you to step into the shoes of Ben Holiday, the main character. I felt at times that the character was speaking about life in general in our times. Fast paced, full of life stresses, etc. Leaving to the land of Landover leaves us all with something to dream of.

Hope you like it as much as I.

Dave...

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

enjoyed it very much second time around

I've read the series before a few years ago was addicted to it then and I'm addicted to it now very entertaining well-read held my interest from beginning to end

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Satisfying and Fun

It isn't the best of the best (strangely I haven't found a single book that I absolutely thought was the "best" yet) however, if you want a book that is fun, is narated in a multifaceted way with strong depth, and will leave you pleased with your purchase, this IS one of those books. You'll be glad you bought it and you won't hate the abysmal performance or hate that the story drags on, and on, and on with unnecessarily long winded discriptions, or hate that there is no discriptions at all (feels empty). Good balance of pace and flow, strong naration, and a pleasant ending make this book a top 20% book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Add capitalism to Narnia, and...

Buy a magic kingdom, save it from losing its magic, and defeat the evil Chicago lawyer!

What else is a millionaire going to do with his mid-life crisis?

This book is a wickedly entertaining twist on the classic fantasy tropes, from wizards to elves to dragons to water gods. They all exist - and they're all not what you think.

The moral of the story? Never trust what you buy in a catalog.

Read it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not Serious Fantasy

Would you be willing to try another book from Terry Brooks? Why or why not?

Let me preface this review with the fact that I love Terry Brooks and that I am a big fan of many of his books. People should just know if they are fans of his Shannara books, or the Word and Void books, or any of his other series that these are not like those books. I have read this book a number of times because I like the set up that leads to Ben Holliday becoming the king of Landover. But the adventures in Landover are not serious fantasy. They are more on the sillier side ie inept mages suddenly shower the enemy with flowers instead of something deadly. So know that going in and read it if you like that sort of thing. Like any book where someone basically ends up in another world there is that frustrating part of the book where our main character doesn't believe in the situation - the "this can't be real" part. I always hate that but plotwise I suppose there is no way around it. Narrator was good too.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

fun listen

fairly vanilla as fantasy goes, though there are some nice twists and the characters are intresting. i just wish the narrator would use shorter___________________dramatic_____________________pauses. the first coupe of times he did it i thought my mp3 player had died on me. but the story is good enough to save the narrator, so 4 stars.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story, decent reading, terrible mix.

This is not a critique of the book, or of the reading, but of the mixing that's been done on the recording. The story is great: quirky, fun, funny, and fantastical. The reader was good, no major complaints on his work. However, there are two glaring problems with the finished product.
1. Chapter breaks do not correspond to track breaks. The book chapter will change mid-track, and sentences will be cut off to move to the next track. There are a number of times when I noticed an awkward pause in the middle of a sentence. This is where you can see no planning went in to putting this audio book together because each time, that would be where it would go to the next track. It also makes it difficult to know where a good point is to pause it. No "let me just finish this chapter really quick" because there is no way to tell when the chapter will end.
2. Musical break correspond to...the middle of a conversation? I'm pretty sure the powers that be intended to have a little musical break between each chapter. This would be fine. The music was nice, and is a common feature of many audio books. However, at random points throughout (I'm pretty sure it was at least once per chapter, though don't quote me on that), while the reader was speaking (sometimes mid-dialog), music would start. It would play over the speaking, until eventually the speaking would end and there would be (maybe 10-20 seconds of) just music. Like clockwork, the reader would then repeat the last sentence he read, at which point the music would fade.
This would be an excellent book if it gets fixed. No repeated sentences, no music mid-chapter, no weird pauses because the tracks change completely at random.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful