Release Day Interview: High Druid of Shannara by Terry Brooks


brooks-highdruidToday, the omnibus for High Druid of Shannara by Terry Brooks is published!

I love omnibuses. Pulling together multiple books into a single volume, they help create space on my shelves. I also like seeing new cover art given to some of my favorite stories.

Terry Brooks and Del Rey Books have been doing omnibuses together for a decade. Terry has written so many series that it makes sense. They have now gathered together omnibuses The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, The Heritage of Shannara, and The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara. Now, the High Druid of Shannara trilogy gets the treatment.

Here is a bit more about it:

In one handsome collector’s edition hardcover, here are all three novels that comprise Terry Brooks’s bestselling High Druid of Shannara trilogy—Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken. These thrilling novels demonstrate this acclaimed author’s magic of invention and mastery of storytelling.

Twenty years have passed since Grianne Ohmsford denounced her former life as the dreaded Ilse Witch. Fulfilling the destiny predicted for her, she has established the Third Druid Council and dedicated herself to its goals of peace and defense of the Four Lands. But the intrigue, treachery, and sinister deeds that have haunted Druid history for generations continue to thrive. And despite her devotion to the greater good as Ard Rhys, the High Druid of Paranor, Grianne still has bitter enemies who will stop at nothing to see her deposed—or destroyed.

As wicked plots are hatched, the Ard Rhys suddenly disappears in the dead of night and without a trace. Now, barely a step ahead of the malevolent forces at work, Grianne’s brave nephew, Pen Ohmsford, embarks on a dangerous mission to find and deliver the High Druid of Shannara from wherever she may be held.

With no shortage of adventure, exhilaration, suspense, and enchantment, the High Druid of Shannara trilogy proves why Terry Brooks is one of the most beloved fantasy authors of all time.

Terry decided to sit down to talk about the omnibus and how it ties into what he is working on currently! Here is that interview:


Shawn Speakman: Hi Terry! The omnibus for the HIGH DRUID OF SHANNARA trilogy is in fine bookstores today. Talk a little bit about the omnibus format and why it’s a great thing for fantasy fans?

Terry Brooks: Each of the omnibus editions is a compilation of books that comprise a set in the Shannara world, so you have in this case a 3 book set which includes JARKA RUUS, TANEQUIL and STRAKEN, all centered around a very dangerous incursion by the Druids and others into the world of the Forbidding. As time passes, it becomes difficult for readers to find my books in hardcover format, so the omnibus edition becomes a way to do that. The price is not much more for all three in this format than it was for each when they came out individually. It’s a pretty good deal all around.

SS: In HIGH DRUID OF SHANNARA, you return to an aspect that fans have often wondered about since publication of THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA: The Forbidding. Talk a little bit about how you went about developing the Forbidding in HIGH DRUID OF SHANNARA?

TB: The Forbidding is an alternate Four Lands, but not a mirror image. It developed differently, so it doesn’t have all the same geographical features, although it has many. In addition, the creatures of this world comprise the dark Faerie creatures that were banished from the old world thousands of years earlier in the time of Faerie. They call themselves the Jarka Ruus, which means “banished peoples.” They see themselves as having been wronged when they were sent into the Forbidding, and they hate the creatures of the Four Lands for what they did to them, particularly the Elves. Most of my work in configuring the landscape and the nature of the creatures was based on that.

SS: In THE VOYAGE OF THE JERLE SHANNARA and HIGH DRUID OF SHANNARA trilogies, you have given the peoples of the Four Lands flying airships and lasers, technological advances that are rarely seen in high fantasy. What prompted you to begin advancing technology in your Shannara world and will that be a feature that continues to happen in later stories?

TB: This intrusion of science into the Four Lands is a long-standing plotline that I have been aiming for ever since I started the book. In THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, we learn that the Old World was destroyed by misuse and poor judgement of science. The power of science overcame caution, and the population was essentially wiped out and all the knowledge of before was lost. Those who survive had a strong distrust of all things science and stayed away from trying to do more with it than rudimentary things. In the resulting vacuum, magic became the dominant power and the catalyst for advances in the new world. But what goes around comes around, and slowly science had been creeping back into the picture as doubts and mistrust of magic has grown in the Races. So we are headed for a kind of confrontation between science and magic – the old and the new – for supremacy and acceptance. My thinking on this is that no matter what how we develop our culture, there are always things we like and things we dislike – whether magic or science. Sooner or later, we begin to question if what we have and how we are going is right for us.

SS: This question comes into the website a lot: In HIGH DRUID OF SHANNARA, there is a tree called the Tanequil that can create magical black staffs similar to those found in your Word/Void, Genesis, and Legends trilogies. Do the Knight of the Word staffs come from the Tanequil or is it just coincidence?

TB: Gosh, that’s a darn good question. Wish I had a darn good answer. But I’m still reading up on that in my Shannara companion, researching the footnotes. I’ll get back on this when I know something for sure.

Or maybe you’ll find the answer in a new story somewhere along the way?

SS: The ending of HIGH DRUID leaves a few loose ends open. Will you be writing another trilogy and revisit some of those loose ends?

TB: You already know the answer to that, Web Druid. But I like it that you give me a chance to talk about it with the readers. Yes, a fresh trilogy is in the works. I have been touting this on the road during the MEASURE OF THE MAGIC book tour but I am happy to do so again here. A three book set which takes place approximately 100 years after the close of the events in STRAKEN begins publishing in August 2012. The books will come out in 6 month intervals. Thus, the first August 2012, the second March 2013 and the third August 2013. The books are intended as a response to readers who for years have been asking for:

  • A) More than one book a year.
  • B) Interior artwork, including a color centerfold.
  • C) A fresh, new 2 page map of the Four Lands.

All this is a throwback to the publishing look of the hardcover edition of THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, and since next year is the 35th anniversary of that book, I thought we should do something to celebrate its longevity. Hopefully, readers will agree.

Oh, to answer the question, all of the loose ends in HIGH DRUID will be tied up.

SS: Thanks for your time, Terry!

TB: You are entirely welcome. Now I have to go finish Book Three of the planned trilogy and start resting up for a bunch of book touring. Best to all!