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The Sword of Shannara: An Epic Fantasy Hardcover – 1977


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 726 pages
  • Publisher: Random House: NY (1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345371437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345371430
  • ASIN: B000VUJP96
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.7 x 6.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,851,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x92473ae0) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9177a5f4) out of 5 stars Masterful work of Fantasy 10 Sept. 2010
By Nick Downey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Sword of Shannara was my first ever fantasy book, and the start of my favorite fantasy series ever. I have read it multiple times, over many years, and it always holds up. I've heard all of the criticisms of this book, such as it being a "watered down blatant Tolkien ripoff" (not true!) and while there is some validity to them, such as possible parallels of characters and some events, it is still a wonderful novel. This version is a beautiful hardback edition, with the dust jacket having the image above, with the cover underneath sporting Terry Brooks initals (TB) emblazoned in red. The inside of the book, along with the story, includes many black and white (which are greatly missed in the rest of the series past the first three books) images by the Brothers Hilderbrandt, and a color fold out of some of the characters which can be seen here (possible spoilers of characters???) [...]

All in all, this is a wonderful book and a triumph in fantasy, as well as the start of one of the greatest fantasy worlds of all time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91dbef78) out of 5 stars Sword of Shannara, book club version 16 Oct. 2013
By Gregory K. Kapphahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My original paperback copy (c. 1977?) of The Sword of Shannara was falling apart. It had gotten to be a problem to try to hold such a thick book when the middle section and various other pages were constantly falling out. I bought this used, hardcover, book-club-sized edition to replace my original, since I enjoy delving back into and re-reading most of the Shannara series every few years. I appreciate this book club version of The Sword of Shannara because it exactly duplicates my original paperback, illustrations, maps, etc., except in a much more durable form.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91b4e8f4) out of 5 stars The cover that made me curious and the book that fired my imagination! 1 May 2015
By gloine36 - Published on Amazon.com
Back in the early 1970s Terry Brooks was a young lawyer who wanted to write a tale of high fantasy. Over the course of seven years he worked on what would become The Sword of Shannara, an epic tale of high fantasy. At the time he wrote it, the literary world considered high fantasy to be dead. One editor saw what millions of fans would later see in Brooks’ writing, the world of Shannara. That was Lester Del Ray and thanks to his taking a chance with a lawyer’s hobby, we fans have been blessed with thousands of pages of Shannara and its magic. The literary world was wrong. High fantasy was anything but dead. It just needed a talented writer with a great plot, memorable characters, and magic.

When The Sword of Shannara was published in 1977, it became a Times best seller and helped revive a maligned field of fiction. Terry did not quit his legal profession until 1985 and two sequels in the Shannara world, The Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara. Both of those catapulted to the top of the bestseller lists as well. You know you’re doing well in the writing industry when you can quit your lawyer job in New York City and move to full time writing. That or you are a really bad lawyer. I have no idea how good of a lawyer he was, but Terry Brooks is one awesome writer. He should be to have over 20 bestsellers with several hitting the top spot.

His first book though remains one of my cherished favorites. Adorned with an illustration by the Hildebrandt Brothers on its cover, the book lurked in my school library for a year before I saw it. Having read The Hobbit but not yet ready for The Lord of the Rings at my age of 13, I was intrigued by the glowing sword embedded in a block of stone. The Arthurian image got my attention and a few pages later the book was checked out. I read through all 726 pages twice in a month. Between Tolkien and Brooks, my imagination was awakened and it has never been quiescent since.

Here was a tale to rival Tolkien. In fact, many critics thought it was a copy of Tolkien in some ways which it does resemble. Yet, other attempts at high fantasy had avoided Tolkienesque concepts and failed to generate an audience. Not so with The Sword of Shannara. The story of a young half-elf destined to save the world from evil by wielding a magical sword that only he could use after going on a long and dangerous quest with a mysterious druid, some elves, a dwarf, his brother and a few friends is the magical high fantasy formula that fuels reader’s attention spans. Tolkien had hit upon that formula decades ago. Other would copy what Brooks had figured out over the next several decades.

Everything an imaginiative reader seeks in fantasy fiction is in The Sword of Shannara. Brooks would follow this up with explorations of his magical fantasy world and the people that inhabited it. One of the things that keeps his books fresh is that he does not retain the same characters from each book. He advances the storylines through decades of time and multiple characters which keeps them fresh. Characters from one book or trilogy rarely make it into the next book. If they do, their fate is usually not what they sought. The world expands, yet retains the same familiar feel. Reading a Shannara book is like slipping on a pair of comfortable shoes. You don’t know where they will take you each day, but you feel comfortable wearing them.

This first entry to the Shannara world gave us some amazing places to visit. The Highlands of Leah, Culhaven, Storlock, the Hall of Kings, mystical Paranor, and the homeland of the elves caught my imagination. Heroes fighting against impossible odds emerged. Somewhere in the midst of the destruction and despair, love flourished as one young prince fought to preserve another king’s capital from falling into the darkness. Treachery, honesty, half truths, and nobility sprawled across the pages and until the very end you were riveted to the pages. That’s why I had to read it twice. I burnt through it in a few days and had to go through it again just to catch the details I sped through. That’s when you know you have a good book in your hands.

Having read every Shannara that has come out and anticipating the newest one arriving in June, I can safely consider myself a fan. I am once again rereading the older books in the series for the seventh or eleventh time. As I do I will post my opinions of the books along with my memories of my first encounter with them. I enjoyed reading The Sword of Shannara again for the umpteenth time and can say that it is one of my all time favorite books to read. If you are looking for a good book to read, you will not be disappointed in this one. I was ecstatic over it the first time and nothing has caused me to change my mind since. Make sure you get the version with the Hildebrandt Brothers’ illustrations in it. I think those were very important. Now stop reading this and go read the book! Tell Allanon I said hello.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9180e324) out of 5 stars Christmas Gift 2 Jan. 2014
By Laurie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my son because he is collecting the hard cover books of Shannara. He read it in paperback when it first came out so he was delighted to get this book and was satisfied with the used condition of the book.
HASH(0x91cb90cc) out of 5 stars Good introduction to Tolkien-like fantasy. 24 Aug. 2015
By Randall P. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a young cousin who got bogged down in LOTR. I originally read this in junior high (soon after its publication) - when my own first attempt at Tolkien failed. A classmate described it at the time as "Tolkien-lite." While SoS is clearly influenced by (and perhaps more uncharitably put: derivative of) LOTR, it is a thoroughly engaging epic tale in its own right.
I enjoyed it as a youngster, and enjoyed quickly browsing through it again before sending it along. My cousin said she really liked it.
This edition had the single page b/w paintings by The Brothers Hildebrandt, but lacked the full color fold-out print of the entire "fellowship" that my long-lost version had. The painting can be easily found via online search. Their art added a great deal to the story for me long ago; the style is so distinctive that as you read the book you see their visualization of each character. It is unfortunate that this integral print was not included in later editions.
I read several of the sequels; and while I enjoyed The Elfstones of Shannara, I liked the books following that one less and less.
If you have read LOTR, there is no real reason to read this book. For a younger reader intimidated by Tolkien's prose (or anyone who just doesn't enjoy his style - they exist), however, this book is a good alternative in the fantasy genre.
14 year old me enjoyed it immensely; and current me still feels confident recommending it.
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