The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The seven novels that make up the Shannara series involve the inheritance of magic by several generations of descendants of the Elf-king Shannara, who first used his magic to suppress an invasion by renegade, power-hungry Druids. These Druids belonged to a council established to preserve history, science, and other arts that were lost after the destruction of the world in what is known as the Great Wars.

In the first novel, The Sword of Shannara, the Druid Allanon summons the help of Shea Ohmsford in a search for the legendary sword that was first raised by Shannara. Shea finds out that he is the only surviving descendant of Shannara and that he is half elf. He and his stepbrother Flick journey to find the talisman and destroy the evil Skull Bearers, who are the metamorphosed renegade Druids who sought to destroy the Four Lands in previous centuries.

The peace that is restored in The Sword of Shannara is disrupted in the second novel, The Elfstones of Shannara. This novel takes the reader to another segment of the Four Lands, the Westlands, where elves live. Allanon once again summons the house of Shannara and Ohms-ford through the help of Wil Ohmsford. Wil alone has the power to control the Elfstones, three magic stones that emit power and light to destroy evil. His quest is to protect an elf-girl, called Amberle. Amberle is on a quest of her own, to create a new Ellcrys that will save the lands from the ravenous demons.

The Wishsong of Shannara involves an intricate form of inherited magic, magic with which an individual is born. Jair and Brin Ohmsford, brother and sister, have inherited the magic of the Wishsong. This magic enables them to weave spells and illusions with the power of song. Brin, whose powers give her the ability to transform objects, is called by Allanon on a quest to destroy the source of evil magic known as the Ildatch. Jair travels on...

(The entire section is 788 words.)