About the Author
Terry Brooks first novel, The Sword of Shannara, began the post-Tolkien huge boom in epic fantasy in 1977. It was a New York Times bestseller for five months. Since then he has written seven more Shannara novels, five Magic Kingdom light fantasies and three dark fantasies set on Earth. Terry Brooks lives in Seattle and Hawaii with his wife, Judine.
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From the Foreword
For many years, readers of the Shannara books have been asking me to write more about the history of the Four Lands and of the characters who live there. I have always declined to do so, since I was busy enough writing the books not only of that series, but also those of the Magic Kingdom and Word & Void series as well, without taking on yet another commitment. Besides, I wasn't interested in further developing the past; I was interested in writing about the future.
Then, somewhere around1995, I was persuaded by my editor, Owen Lock, to write a book about the Second War of the Races. First King of Shannara would chronicle the story of Jerle Shannara and reveal how the Warlock Lord escaped him, how the Druids were destroyed at Paranor, the Sword of Shannara was forged, and Allanon became the last of the Druids. Rather reluctantly, still clinging to my argument that writing about the past wasn't all that appealing to me, I took the project on.
From there it was not such a great leap to agree to this book.
After hearing over and over again from my readers on the subject of a companion book, I became rather interested myself in knowing what happened to Balinor after the battle for Tyrsis; how the Elves lived their lives at the close of the Great Wars; where Panamon Creel ended up; and so on. I thought it would be a good idea to have some artistic renderings of places, characters, and creatures. Why don't we include a map of the entire Four Lands and the surrounding territories? How about adding a genealogical chart of the Ohmsford family?
In addition, I thought (rather selfishly) that if all those things were contained in one volume, I wouldn't have to go back and reread all the books every time I set out to write a new one. Maybe I wouldn't have to spend so much time trying to find where it was I wrote that description of Garet Jax or Eldwist or the Mwellrets. What color were Brin Ohmsford's eyes anyway?
I also believe that writers should listen to their readers. If they want something badly enough, one must consider giving it to them I can't do that with the material that made up the primary stories, because the ideas for those books are generated and fueled by the things that interest me. But I could at least provide the maps, drawings, and prehistory that accompany and buttress them. All I had to do is find someone else to do the work - because I sure as heck didn't have the time or energy to put together the material that was needed! Fortunately, some talented and understanding people came to my rescue.