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Publisher's Summary

The High Druid of Shannara trilogy draws to a thrilling close as a young hero nears completion of his trial by fire, a banished ruler fights for her life in a wilderness of dread, and forces of darkness and light square off in a battle unto death for the right to absolute rule. Prepare to be spellbound by the masterly hand of best-selling legend weaver Terry Brooks, conjuring at the peak of his skills.

For reasons known only to himself, the King of the Silver River has charged young Penderrin Ohmsford, barely more than a boy, with the daunting task of rescuing his aunt, Grianne, Ard Rhys of the Druid order, from her forced exile in the terrifying dimension of all things damned: the Forbidding. With the noble dwarf Tagwen and the prodigal elven princess Khyber Elessedil by his side, and with the outcome of the bloody war between the Federation and the Free-born at stake, Pen has accepted his mission without question. But not without risk, or sacrifice.

Shadea a'Ru, the ruthless Druid responsible for imprisoning the true Ard Rhys and usurping leadership at Paranor, has sent her agents and assassins in relentless pursuit of Pen and his comrades. In securing the talisman he needs to breach the Forbidding, Pen has paid a devastating price. Now if the Free-born forces, already decimated by the Federation's death-dealing new weapon, should fall, Shadea's domination of the Four Lands will be assured. Nothing short of Pen's success can turn the tide.

But Pen's challenge grows greater when he learns that his parents, Bek Ohmsford and Rue Meridian, have fallen into Shadea's hands. He must try to help them, but once within the walls of Druid's Keep, where Shadea's minions and dark magic lurk at every turn, Pen's survival is far from assured. Yet it will all pale in comparison to the horrors that wait inside the Forbidding, horrors poised to break free upon the Four Lands when the time is right.

©2005 Terry Brooks; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters. If you haven't read Terry Brooks, you haven't read fantasy." (Christopher Paolini)
"Terry's place is at the head of the fantasy world." (Philip Pullman)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall

Finally!

Lately I've been listening mostly to the works of Robert Stanek (The Kingdoms and the Elves, his recent story collection) - books that reminded me how much I love the fantasy genre. I must say, and I could be the only one to not like where Terry has been going with the Shannara books, but I just didn't like Jarka Ruus, the first book of the High Druid trilogy. Tanequil was more of the same, and it suffered lots from "middle book syndrome", but unlike Morgawr, the last book from the previous trilogy which was disappointing to say the least, Terry catches stride, returns to form with Straken. Straken was thoroughly enjoyable, a cut above the norm.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

narrator, not so much.

The story was good. Good turns and twists. true to Terry Brooks style. good strong characters, even the evil ones.
The narrator butchered the pronunciation of characters' names, to the point of confusing the the tale.
I still give this book a 5 star, despite the narrators blunders. And if I recommend this book for Shannara fans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Wrong narrator

Would you try another book from Terry Brooks and/or Paul Boehmer?

Love his books, but favor Scott Brick narration.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Probably Penn, preserverance against all odds.

What didn’t you like about Paul Boehmer’s performance?

His inability to match emotion with the scene he is reading or the voices of the characters.

Could you see Straken being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Maybe, if if the screen writer has vision

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Roy, UT, USA
  • 04-05-10

Horrid Narrator

Terry Brooks story seems to follow much of the same plot as the rest of the Shannara series, which of itself is a little tiresome. What makes this particular series absolutely horrid is the narrator, and his lack of talent to pronounce words the same way throughout the story. He constantly alters the way he'll pronounce one name or refers to something in the story then pronounces it completely different a bit later. All male voices are the same...whiney and gruff when doing all characters that are not of the "human race". Scott Brick was the narrator in the first book of this series, and he was tolerable...Paul Boehmer has no talent for making the books enjoyable. I wish they wouldv'e paid an extra $50.00 dollars to get someone else...anyone else. Save your credits. *the narrator on the abriged version is much better, and does a wonderful job, however, it is also much shorter and doesn't delve into the story as deep.*

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

greatness again

The story was again an awesome adventure, without giving to much away, that's all I'm willing to say. The reader is good, but I did not like how he changed voices from book two then to book three. example Kermedec was a perfect voice in tanequil. Then in Straken, same reader, voice completely different. Sounding like a little annoying troll, rather than massive wise troll. Small complaint anyway, still a good performance.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Terry Brooks turning me into a crack addict...

.... my crack is Shannara!
My husband and I started a book club that includes just ourselves, haha! We compete to see who can get to the next chapter and discuss the findings.
Brooks makes great series to read. He always is inventive in his stories. Looking forward to the next! My only complaint would be the consistency of the readers. I would like it if one reader would stay on for the full trilogy of that series. They paint a picture in my mind of what the character sound like, when they switch readers on the next book, to me, they messed up all the sounds of the voices. Get so used to a voice and then when it changed to something scratchy doesn't sound right when it should be like a papa bear. Other than that, enjoy!

  • Overall
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  • Story

Awesome

The whole series have me sitting on the edge of my seat, Terry Brooks is so awesome

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  • Story

Reader kills it

I went into this book pessimistic regarding the reader as I was underwhelmed by his work with the previous book. For the first part, I was feeling really good, but then reality set in. The voices changed - not just from the previous books - the voices for individual characters changed so much and even overlapped with other characters so you didn't know who was speaking. I hope he doesn't read for the future books.

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  • T. Seck
  • Grain Valley, FL
  • 09-21-16

Overacting is painful

Primary characters who supposedly had years of experience in politics & intrigue made inexplicably poor choices.
For some reason, Boehmer feels the need to change pronunciation of key words in equally inexplicable ways.
How does Skatelow become Skaytil-oh? The overacting is equally painful. Overly pregnant pauses, misplaced emphasis, and whiny troll voices are just a few of the multitude of unpleasantries.
I've heard Boehmer do Shannara before & didn't notice some of these things, but the narrator of one of the other books in this trilogy was phenomenal, which made Boehmer's performance obnoxious by comparison.

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  • Performance
  • Story

boehmer is terrible

Over reaching, mispronunciations, poor narrator boehmer caused me many times to stop listening. He is terrible. I can't believe a producer wasn't correcting him, simple words, not just those specific to Shannara.