• The Scions of Shannara

  • The Heritage of Shannara, Book 1
  • By: Terry Brooks
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 17 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,437 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller 

Since the death of the Druid Allanon, the Four Lands have changed profoundly, with magic strictly forbidden in the Southland, now under totalitarian rule. Yet Par still has some power of the Wishsong. When he accidently brings a mythic horror to life, a man calling himself Cogline drives it away. Cogline brings a message from Allanon: venture to the dread Hadeshorn, along with the other Scions of Shannara. For in the future, all life in the Four Lands will be destroyed. To prevent this terrible fate, Allanon commands Par to recover the long-lost Sword of Shannara, a task that is next to impossible. 

Thus continues the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth....

©2000 Terry Brooks (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"If Harry Potter has given you a thirst for fantasy and you have not discovered the magic of Terry Brooks, you are in for a treat." (Rocky Mountain News)

"If you were delighted and entranced by Michael Ende's The Never Ending Story, you will definitely want to sample one of more of Terry Brooks' books." (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

What listeners say about The Scions of Shannara

Average Customer Ratings
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The best of Shannara.

I've been a Brooks fan since I read Sword of Shannara at age 12 in 1991 on vacation. I didn't put the book down the entire drive. I love the world and the characters.

Some years later I discovered books on tape and my audio book life began. Since I discovered Audible, I've been hoping this four book Heritage of Shannara series would receive the full, unabridged treatment (an abridged book is an appalling blasphemy).

I couldn't be more pleased with the results. If you wish to pick apart some oft-used or too-familiar fantasy tropes in this series, you can certainly do so. Good on you and I hope it makes you feel smugly pleased with yourself. But, if you genuinely love Brooks's Shannara world with all its rich life and wonderfully familiar groups like the Leahs, Ohmsfords, Druids, Elves, Rock Trolls, Dwarves and all the familiar landscapes, lineages and a beautiful and reliable narrative with enough changes to stand apart from past series, then you owe it to yourself to listen to these books and immerse yourself in the stories.

The narration is just right, neither dominating the tone nor detracting from the story. It is inviting and at no point forces you out of the Four Lands.

I always loved this series for the separate but equal storylines followed in the four books. I can't wait to begin The Druid and follow it immediately with The Elf Queen. This is a must-listen for Brooks fans.

27 people found this helpful

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Narrator is sometimes annoying.

I love these books - the story is amazing. However, this narrator has an annoying tempo where he rushes part of the sentence and doesn’t enunciate the last words very well. I think he’s trying to inject some sort of suspenseful drama? I don’t know but it’s not necessary and is distracting. Also, all the characters speak with this same tempo...
Alas, this is the only recording available on audible that isn’t abridged so have to deal with it.

9 people found this helpful

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Great book.

Marvelous story. Narration not so much. His inflections were all wrong. Bring back Scott Brick!

8 people found this helpful

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Scions of Shannara

I first read this book when I was a teenager. I grabbed a book off my grandparents shelf (it could have been anything) and it was this. I was so pleased to see this finally unabridged. I stayed up all night when I discovered Shannara and did it again with this. John Lee is a great narrator, each character is brought to life and had a unique voice. 10/10.

5 people found this helpful

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Exiting, very well paced epic story

Definitely a bit dark but a wonderfully written story that is very well read by John Lee. The story is clearly a setup for the reminder of the books in this series but sets up the characters and the storyline nicely. Unlike a lot of YA books in this genre, these characters have depth and are very vulnerable at times. The author's world building is pretty good and continues to develop as the story and series continues. It is the classic good versus evil but a very good story with interesting plot twists and main characters struggling with their own doubts and whether they have the courage to do the right thing. Very well done, especially for a first book in a new series.

5 people found this helpful

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great story, audio not so much

a great story, and the speaker is great, the audio cuts off his words and makes it hard to understand sometimes, like the last syllable is super quiet.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book!

I read this book 20 years ago and it is every bit as compelling as read by John Lee as it was by myself all those years ago.

2 people found this helpful

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Self doubt is the main trait of all the characters

What disappointed you about The Scions of Shannara?

If you took out all of the self doubt, unwarranted negativity, pointless arguing and overall mistrust among supposed friends in this book it would half as long.

What was most disappointing about Terry Brooks’s story?

Every quest in the story is a let down. Even the whole goal of the book is to get the sword of Shannara and (spoiler alert) when he finally gets it instead of being the most powerful magic talisman of the lost ages it has no magic at all and does nothing.

Which scene was your favorite?

None.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None.

Any additional comments?

The author only tries to make one character, the hero, likable but even he is so full of self doubt and self blame that even he is not heroic. Instead he's just pitiful. I love fantasy and have read many, many books in this genre, but the more I read this book the more the story and characters just aggravated me to the point that I could barely finish it and when I did I was sorry that I had wasted my time.

2 people found this helpful

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Good read, but slower than his other books.

I have grown used to Brooks diving right into the story and each book being a full story on their own. This one is mostly a set-up for the rest of the series and is a lot slower to develop than his previous books. Still intriguing, but not as enthralling as the others.

2 people found this helpful

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Reader's cadence

The story was great but I didn't care for the pacing and cadence of the reader's voice. He sounds like Merlin from the old movie Excalibur when he tells the soldiers to "Be Still! Be silent!" . The reader paces the entire story that way so there is no rise and fall of the action, only a constant tension in the reader's voice that makes a general conversation in the story feel as urgent as a great battle or confrontation so the story feels muddled. I had to re-listen to several areas to catch subtle details.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter Mooney
  • 02-06-19

Listen to a sample first

I had to quit this audio book after barely 5 minutes of listening to the narrator.
Sadly to me at least, it was a jarring and stilted performance that hugely detracted from the book itself.
Listen to a sample first to decide for yourself.

3 people found this helpful

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  • C Crane
  • 06-21-20

I really realy enjoyed this! Excellent Narration!

I really enjoyed this. It was fast paced with good complex characters--the characters were very well expressed by John Lee. Thankyou!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-20

Awesome book but the narrator isn't great.

The book is as great as I remember, the series one if my favourites of all time, but the narrator isn't great. He has essentially two character voices and read the lines in a quick matter of fact way with a pause in between but no emphasise on any part of the sentence. you do get used to it after a while, or maybe he gets better over time but it still comes in way short of what other narrators on audible manage.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CeNedra Red
  • 11-10-16

Killed By Narrator.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

In printed format, Yes, I would recommend this and the other books in the series. In Audio format, NO. Not unless they re-recored them with a different, more capable narrator.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It has been decades since I read these books, and I didn't listen long enough to this audio version, to either make a decision, or remember any of the characters from the books.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of John Lee?

Andrew Wincott. Rupert Degas. Simon Vance. There are many good narrators out there. In my opinion Mr Lee isn't one of them..

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Not sure. It would depend on the cast.

Any additional comments?

This is just one more of my favorite books tortured to death by an awful narrator. Its depressing to think of all the books I would have loved to listen to, that I just can't stand to hear, thanks to the wrong people reading them. I've already tried and returned the first three books of the Shannara Series, as they too were ruined by another poor narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eth
  • 09-12-22

The voice guy 😆

I have read all of the shannara books and hold them all highly in the high fantasy genre. So I decided to listen to them this being the first one with John lee. Well wow I love his distinct short and clip sentences. It will not be for everyone but it definitely works for me. Loved every minute. Well done

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  • Kiy Lockley
  • 07-28-22

Who signs off on these narrator’s?

I’ve read the Shannara books before and really enjoyed them all, and I thought it’d be nice to revisit them on here. But this narrator has all the charisma of a week old mouldy teabag! This guy has managed to remove all danger and emotion from this book, and nearly put me to sleep in the process. There are only about three character voices, and all of them sound like parodies of captain James. T. Kirk! “You…must go…and …find….the sword….of shannara “ . Kate reading used to be my least favourite narrator ( when I first heard her in the storm light saga, I redownloaded the audio book as she sounded like the iPhone Siri, and I thought the file was corrupted 😅😂) but now this guy is, by quite some way! Unfortunately I’ve still got 6 hours to get through… happy days….

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  • boredstudent444
  • 06-25-22

A good story ruined by the narrator.

My title says it all but I will detail it a little more.

The narrator has a voice perfectly suited for reading historical works but he is not suited to this type of fiction. He speaks with a strange cadence and ends sentences in an oddly clipped way. I would absolutely love to hear him narrate the history of WW1/2 and/or numerous military campaigns. I do not however understand why he was employed to read this work of fantasy fiction.

John Banks or someone like him would have been a superior choice.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-22

Really Enjoyed The Trilogy.

Enjoyed the trilogy so much that I also listened to the prequel but this book I just couldn't get into at all. I didn't really enjoy the story and didn't really engage with any of the characters.

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  • jason chambers
  • 03-02-21

Narration is horrendous

Having read all the Shannara books, I downloaded the audio books to listen to while I drove to work etc,

Having listened to the first king of shannara etc read by Scott Brick, I loved it.

Excited to start listening to the scions of shannara, I was sorely disappointed, it wasn’t read by Scott Brick but a gentleman called John Lee.

His narrative of the book appeared horrendous , he seems to accentuate the word at the beginning end end of a sentence. It’s not free flowing. PAR spoke softly TO everyone.

I’m tempted to skip this one and move on to the next book that is read by Scott Brick.

I pray that John Lee was only given a few of the shannara to narrate.

I will check who is narrating the books before I purchase.

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  • Noor
  • 05-03-20

stunning listen

Terry Brooks has always been a firm favourite author of mine. And, like with most of his works, this was an enjoyable and exceptional book. It was also narrated beautifully.

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  • Andrew Wallace
  • 01-01-21

good, great, awesome

great story, great narration. totally enjoying this series, three more books to go, so good.