From Brooks’ official website:

The Wards of Faerie, Book I in the Legacy of Shannara series, will be published in August 2012. It is the story set 100 years after the events of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, where the people of the Four Lands have become largely distrusting of magic after the failed Third Council of Druids. But when a Druid stumbles upon information that might lead to the re-discovery of the lost Elfstones of Faerie, Ard Rhys of Paranor Khyber Elessedil must decide to undertake the most dangerous of missions to acquire them—at all costs.

Jeez, a quest to find the Elfstones? How original. I’m a longtime Brooks fan, but in recent years, I’ve become tired of his re-using the same tools and ideas in novel-after-novel. His creativity was one of the staples of his early books (if, I suppose, you disregard The Sword of Shannara‘s purposeful similarities to The Lord of the Rings and instead look at the several novels that followed), but has been sorely lacking since Antrax. Whatever. I’ll read them, and probably make the same complaints I do every time. The most interesting news, though, comes from details about the publishing schedule:

That means fans will be able to read the entirety of the Legacy of Shannara trilogy in the span of a year—August 2012 (The Wards of Faerie), March 2013 (Book II), and August 2013 (Book III) respectively!

But that’s not all. Del Rey Books has agreed to make The Wards of Faerie a very special publication in its own right. Here are the highlights:

  • Interior color artwork for the first time since publication of The Sword of Shannara
  • A new two-page map of the Four Lands and beyond by Russ Charpentier
  • Detailed schematics of Paranor

In a world where George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch are ostracised for taking years between volumes, Brooks writes so bloody fast these days that he’s a couple of books ahead of publishing schedule. Crazy. Still, there’s a definite reflection of this on the quality of his work. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually hold true to my promise to myself and wait until the trilogy is out in its entirety and read it as one long novel (which I’ve always felt might improve my experience with Brooks’ more recent works, which are, essentially, long novels split over three volumes.)

It’ll be cool to have interior illustrations, which were a huge factor in first attracting me to The Sword of Shannara way back in the day. And, well, Charmentier’s maps are always gorgeous, so I certainly can’t complain about that.

What do you think, Shannara fans?

  • Bets Davies September 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Shannara. Is it just me who always thought this word sounded like back up in a motown song?

    “Shannara, shannara
    Those elfstones are gone again
    Shannara, shannara,
    It’ll be chaos without them
    Shannara, shannara,
    Did I research what a real druid did?
    Shannara, shannara,
    Yeah, but it made me go ‘ick!’
    Shannara, Shannara
    I’ve got color on my side
    Shannara shannara
    Save a career could have died.

  • Adrian September 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    It has been a long time since I bothered to read anything by Brooks since his Shannara books seemed to be growing stale. And that was decades ago. Has anything improved? Is it worth the time and effort to read any of his books?

  • aidan September 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    @Bets — Haha! Perfect!

    @Adrian — Erm… did you read my post? His stuff’s become very samey in the last several years. Everything up to Morgawr is definitely worth reading, though. Even Armageddon’s Children and The Elves of Cintra are great, even if the trilogy ends with a bit of a predictable whimper.

  • Adrian September 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    @Aidan – I did read your post and it gave me flashbacks to when I gave up on him :) But since you’re spending your time reading his books, I figure he must have come up with something good since then. I’ll give those books a whirl, thanks.

  • aidan September 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Ahh, gotcha! I’ve been reading Brooks since I first got into Fantasy (discovered him *just* after Tolkien), so he just holds one of those special places in my heart that help me forgive some of his missteps in recent years. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet him a few times, which also endears me to him. I don’t know that I’d recommend his newest books to readers, but I’d certainly encourage them to go back and explore some of his earlier library.

  • Miles September 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Is it true that Brooks touts his work as ‘non-fantasy’ and has a tendency to look down upon the ‘fantasy genre’ as a whole? He’s always struck me as something of an arrogant bastard.

  • aidan September 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    You’re confusing Brooks with Goodkind. Brooks is very openly proud to write Fantasy and one of the kindest, humblest authors I’ve met.

  • A Shadow Falls September 14, 2011 at 2:42 am

    It’s a pity he became so ‘samey’, I, like you, picked him up fairly early in my fantasy reading career. In fact because it got so samey it was one of the contributing factors to me reading little or no fantasy for a long time and reading much more SciFi. Things like the “Song of Ice and Fire” series and David Anthony Durham’s “Acacia” series have got me back in the fantasy groove so I’m starting to read more of it again.

  • Mark Lawrence September 14, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Terry or not Terry, Brooks is the good kind.

    Brooks holds a special place for me too (whilst acknowledging all the issues and being in no hurry to read Shannara again). Terry Brooks saved me from death-by-boredom on a vacation with my parents when I was 13 and discovered ‘The Sword of Shannara’ in the lobby of a hotel on a Greek island…

  • Rob B September 14, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I find Brooks/Shanara one of the most frustrating things in Fantasy (as I’ve said in other places and maybe even here)…I LOVE the concept of fantasy coming back to life after our civilization, think the HERITAGE quadrology very fun but like you Aidan, get bummed that the same plot devices/plot movements are telegraphed in each book. I really wanted to like the GENESIS of SHANNARA series and thought the transition from our world to FANTASYLAND would be interesting. Well, I stopped reading after the first book in the series.

    That having been said, his mark on the genre can never be understated and I’m happy for him and his fans that Del Rey is really putting together what looks to be a special package for his next set of books.

  • Scott September 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I am also a big Brooks fan, and I’ve also found the overuse of the Elfstones-search trope to be a bit tiring, but yeah you are right about his writing schedule, he writes fast…but I was disappointed by the second book in the LEGENDS series that just came out, and the first one showed promise. Still, like you I will read them and yeah he’s a super nice guy. I just want something fresh in Shannara. It would be nice if they discovered another continent or something, since the Four Lands is technically only the USA…I”d love to see some crazy traveling to other parts of the planet.

  • Doug M. September 15, 2011 at 7:52 am

    There’s many books/authors I like better, but few that I rip through faster (in less sessions). Strange really. It’s pure nostalgia for me at this point… I admit it. ;)

    Three books published in a year’s time?….. No reason NOT to wait for all three to be available. I waited for both books of the last duology to be published, and it made the read soooo much more enjoyable. And c’mon… who can’t wait a year for a fat, complete novel that reads like apple dumplings taste. Comfort reading: it’s not the devil it’s sometimes made out to be. :)

  • Shane September 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

    In Terry’s defense, this time when the synopsis talks about a quest for the elfstones, it is supposed to be talking about the rest of them…as in not just the blue elfstones, but all the other colors as well with all their different powers. Apparently fans (including myself) have been bugging him about this for quite some time.
    I personally didn’t care for the Genesis trilogy or the first Legends book (still haven’t read the second). I like the world, but we have been reading essentially the exact same story for several years now.

  • Brad Saenz September 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Try to compare the writing of Brooks to George Martin and saying, “look how fast Brooks writes” makes no sense. The complexity of a Terry Brooks novel compared to a George Martin novel is nothing.

  • aidan September 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    A point that I, erm… make, two sentences later?

  • Shawn Speakman September 17, 2011 at 10:51 am

    1) There has never been a search for the Elfstones of Faerie, and only once before was there a search for the Blue Elfstones.

    2) When you guys know the rest of the tale and how it ties into VOYAGE and HIGH DRUID, you’ll understand better.

    Just saying. :)

  • Shawn Speakman September 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

    The real question is, fans have been asking for this story for a very long time. Should Brooks give them what they want? Or not? Creatively? Morally? Reprehensibly? :)