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Tanequil /

by Brooks, Terry.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Brooks, Terry. High Druid of Shannara: bk. 2.Publisher: New York : Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 2004Edition: 1st ed.Description: 357 p. ; 25 cm.ISBN: 0345435745 :.Title notes: $26.95 9-2004 (SPM)Subject(s): Shannara (Imaginary place) -- Fiction | Fantasy fiction
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Events that began inJarka Ruus, Book One of High Druid of Shannara, come swiftly to a head in this second thrilling volume. Alliances are made, trusts are betrayed, and prices are paid. Through it all, Terry Brooks orchestrates the action with the flawless hand of a master mythmaker-- fashioning another exquisite link in his chain of bestselling epics. Loyal to none but herself and lethal even to those closest to her, Shadea a'Ru now holds sway as High Druid of Paranor--her ascension to power all but unchallenged in the wake of Grianne Ohmsford's sudden, mysterious vanishing. Only Shadea and her catspaw--the treacherous Prime Minister Sen Dunsidan--know the secret fate of the true Ard Rhys . . . for it was they who engineered it, by means of dark magic. And now Grianne languishes in the fearsome and inescapable netherworld called the Forbidding. Their bloodless coup a success, the corrupt pair, and their confederates within the Druid Council, seeks to make their dominion over the Four Lands absolute--with the aid of a devastating new weapon. But it could all be undone if Grianne's young nephew, Penderrin, succeeds in his frantic quest to rescue her. Shadea's airship-borne minions and the relentless assassin under her command continue their fierce pursuit of Pen and his comrades. Eluding death is only half the battle for Pen. To breach the Forbidding and bring Grianne back to the natural world means finding the fabled Tanequil . . . and the talisman it alone can provide. That means journeying into the Inkrim--a dreaded region thick with shadows and haunted by harrowing legends. It also means striking a bargain more dire than Pen could ever imagine. But there can be no turning back. For in her unearthly prison, the Ard Rhys faces a demonic plight too hideous to countenance. . . .

Color maps on lining papers.

$26.95 9-2004 (SPM)

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">One Sen Dunsidan, Prime Minister of the Federation, paused to look back over his shoulder as he reached his sleeping chambers. There was no one there who shouldn't be. His personal guard at the bedroom doorway, the sentries on watch at both ends of the hallway--no one else. There never was. But that didn't stop him from checking every night. His eyes scanned the torchlit corridor carefully. It didn't hurt to make certain. It only made sense to be careful. He entered and closed the door softly behind him. The warm glow and sweet candle smells that greeted him were reassuring. He was the most powerful man in the Southland, but not the most popular. That hadn't bothered him before the coming of the Ilse Witch, but it hadn't stopped bothering him since. Even though she was finally gone, banished to a realm of dark madness and bloodlust from which no one had ever escaped, he did not feel safe. He stood for a moment and regarded his reflection in the full-length mirror that was backed against the wall opposite his bed. The mirror had been placed there for other reasons: for a witnessing of satisfactions and indulgences that might as well have happened in another lifetime, so distant did they seem to him now. He could have them still, of course, but he knew they would give him no pleasure. Hardly anything pleasured him these days. His life had become an exercise conducted with equal measures of grim determination and iron will. Political practicalities and expediencies motivated everything he did. Every act, every word had ramifications that reached beyond the immediate. There was no time or place for anything else. In truth, there was no need. His reflection stared back at him, and he was mildly shocked to see how old he had become. When had that happened? He was in the prime of his life, sound of mind and body, at the apex of his career, arguably the most important man in the Four Lands. Yet look what he had become. His hair had gone almost white. His face, once smooth and handsome, was lined and careworn. There were shadows in places where his worries had gathered like stains. He stood slightly stooped, where once he had stood erect. Nothing about him reflected confidence or strength. He seemed to himself a shell from which the contents of life had been drained. He turned away. Fear and self-loathing would do that. He had never recovered from what the Morgawr had put him through the night he had drained the lives from all those Free-born captives brought out of the Federation prisons. He had never forgotten what it had felt like to watch them become the living dead, creatures for which life had no meaning beyond that assigned by the warlock. Even after the Morgawr had been destroyed, the memory of that night lingered, a whisper of the madness waiting to consume him if he strayed too far from the safety of the pretense and dissembling that kept him sane. Becoming Prime Minister had imbued him with a certain measure of respect from those he led, but it was less willingly bestowed these days than it had been in the beginning, when his people still had hope that he might accomplish something. That hope had long since vanished into the rocks and earth of the Prekkendorran, where so many had shed their blood and lost their lives. It had vanished with his failure not only to end the war that had consumed the Four Lands for the better part of three decades, but even to bring it closer to a meaningful conclusion. It had vanished in his failure to enhance the prestige of the Federation in the eyes of those for whom the Southland mattered, leaving bitterness and disappointment as the only legacy he could expect should he die on the morrow. He walked to his bed and sat down, reached automatically for the goblet that had been placed on his bedside table, and filled it from the pitcher of wine that accompanied it. He took a long drink, thinking that at least he had managed to rid himself of the intolerable presence of Grianne Ohmsford. The hated Ilse Witch was gone at last. With Shadea a'Ru as his ally, even as treacherous as she was, he had a reasonable chance of ending the stalemates that had confronted him at every turn for the last twenty years. Theirs was a shared vision of the world's future, one in which Federation and Druids controlled the destinies and dictated the fates of all the Races. Together, they would find a way to bring an end to the Free-born-Federation war and a beginning to Southland dominance. Although it hadn't happened yet, and nothing he could point to suggested it would happen anytime soon. Shadea's failure to bring the Druid Council into line was particularly galling. He was beginning to wonder if their alliance was one-sided. She had the benefit of his open support and he, as yet, had nothing. Thus, he was forced to look over his shoulder still, because doubt lingered and resistance to his leadership grew. He had just emptied his goblet and was thinking of filling it anew when a knock sounded at his door. He jumped in spite of himself. Once, an unexpected silence would have startled him. Those he feared most, the Ilse Witch and the Morgawr, would not have bothered to knock. Now every little sound caused the iron bands that wrapped his chest and heart to tighten further. He gave them a moment to loosen, then stood, setting the empty goblet carefully on the table beside him. "Who is it?" "Apologies, Prime Minister," came the voice of his Captain of the Guard. "A visitor wishes a word with you, one of your engineers. He insists it is most urgent, and from the look of him, I would judge it to be so." A pause. "He is unarmed and alone." Dunsidan straightened. An engineer? At this time of night? He had a number of them working on his airships, all of them assigned to find ways to make the component pieces of his fleet work more efficiently. But few, if any, would presume to try to talk to him directly, especially so late at night. He was immediately suspicious, but reconsidered as he realized that an attempt to see him under these conditions indicated a certain amount of desperation. He was intrigued. He put aside his reservations and irritation and stepped to the door. "Enter." The engineer slid through the doorway in the manner of a fer- ret to its hole. He was a small man who lacked any distinguishing physical characteristics. The way he held himself as he faced Sen Dunsidan suggested that he was a man who recognized that it was important not to overstep. "Prime Minister," he said, bowing low and waiting. "You have something urgent to speak to me about?" "Yes, Prime Minister. My name is Orek. Etan Orek. I have served as an airship engineer for more than twenty years. I am your most loyal servant and admirer, Prime Minister, and so I knew that I must come directly to you when I made my discovery." He was still bent over, not presuming to address Sen Dunsidan as an equal. There was a cringing quality to his posture that bothered the Prime Minister, but he forced himself to ignore it. "Stand up and look at me." Etan Orek did so, though his effort at meeting Sen Dunsidan's practiced gaze failed, his eyes preferring to fix on the other's belt buckle. "I apologize for disturbing you." "What sort of discovery have you made, Engineer Orek? I gather this has something to do with your work on my airships?" The other nodded quickly. "Oh, yes, Prime Minister, it does. I have been working on diapson crystals, trying to find ways to enhance their performance as converters of ambient light to energy. That has been my task for the better part of the past five years." "And so?" Orek hesitated. "My lord," he said, switching to the more formal and deferential title, "I think it best if I show you rather than tell you. I think you will better understand." He brushed at his mop of unruly dark hair and rubbed his hands together nervously. "Would it be too much of an imposition to ask you to come with me to my work station? I know it is late, but I think you will not be disappointed." For a moment, Sen Dunsidan considered the possibility that this might be an assassination attempt. But he dismissed the idea. His enemies would surely come up with a better plan than this if they were serious about eliminating him. This little man was too fearful to be the instrument of a Prime Minister's death. His presence was the result of something else, and much as he hated to admit it, Sen Dunsidan was increasingly interested in finding out what it was. "You realize that if this is a waste of my time, there will be unpleasant consequences," he said softly. Etan Orek's eyes snapped up to meet his, suddenly bold. "I am hoping that a reward will be more in order than a punishment, Prime Minister." Dunsidan smiled in spite of himself. The little man was greedy, a quality he appreciated in those who sought his favor. Fair enough. He would give him his chance at fame and fortune. "Lead the way, Engineer. Let us see what you have discovered." They went out the door of the bedchamber and into the hallway beyond. Instantly, Sen Dunsidan's personal guard fell into step behind them, warding his back against attack, lending him fresh confidence just by their presence. There had never been an assassination attempt against him, although he had uncovered a few plots that might have led to one. Each time, those involved had been made to disappear, always with an explanation passed quietly by word of mouth. The message to everyone was made clear: Even talk of removing the Prime Minister from office would be regarded as treason and dealt with accordingly. Still, Sen Dunsidan was not so complacent as to think that an attempt would not be made eventually. He would be a fool to think otherwise, given the restless state of his government and the discontent of his people. If an assassination attempt were successful, those responsible would not be condemned for their acts. Those who took his place would reward them. It was a narrow, twisting path he trod, and he was aware of the dangers it held. A healthy measure of caution was always advisable. Yet that night he did not feel such caution necessary. He couldn't explain his conclusion, other than to tell himself that his instincts did not require it, and his instincts were almost always correct. This little man he followed, this Etan Orek, was after something other than the removal of the Prime Minister. He had come forward very deliberately when few others would have dared to do so, and for him to do that, he had to have very specific plans and, in all likelihood, a very specific goal. It would be interesting to discover both, even if it proved necessary to kill him afterwards. They passed through the Prime Minister's residential halls to the front entry, where another set of black-cloaked guards stood waiting, backs straight, pikes gleaming in the torchlight. "Bring the coach around," Sen Dunsidan ordered. He stood waiting just inside the door with Etan Orek, watching as the other shifted anxiously from foot to foot and cast his eyes everywhere but on his host. Every so often, it appeared he might speak, but then he apparently thought better of it. Just as well. What would they talk about, after all? It wasn't as if they were friends. After tonight, they would probably never speak again. One of them might even be dead. By the time the coach rolled into the courtyard beyond the ironbound entry doors, Sen Dunsidan was growing impatient with the entire business. It was taking a lot of effort to do what his engineer had asked, and there was no reason in the world to think the trouble would be worthwhile. But he had come this far, and there was no point in dismissing the matter until he knew for certain that it merited dismissal. Stranger things had happened over the years. He would wait before passing final judgment. They boarded the coach, his guards taking up positions on the running board to either side and on the front and rear seats outside the cab. The horses snorted in response to the driver's commands, and the coach lurched ahead through the darkness. The compound was quiet, and only the lights that burned in a scattering of windows indicated the presence of the other ministers of the Coalition Council and their families. Outside the compound walls, the streets roughened, smells sharpened, and sounds rose as a result of the greater numbers housed there. Overhead, the moon was a bright, unclouded orb in the firmament, shining down on Arishaig with such intensity that the city lay clearly revealed. Excerpted from Tanequil by Terry Brooks All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Brooks begins the second episode of his High Druid trilogy with young Pen Ohmsford persevering in his Tolkienesque quest to free his aunt Grianne from her imprisonment in the Forbidding. Pen and his companions endure hardship and danger to reach the ancient tree Tanequil, which holds the key to Grianne's rescue. New characters and newly introduced old ones race to another cliffhanger that leaves those who survive in worse trouble than when they started. While not overly original, this fast-paced adventure has likable heroes, despicable villains, and an easy prose style. Paul Boehmer's performance elevates a standard epic fantasy into a fine audio experience that will leave listeners impatient for the final segment. Appropriate for both adult and young adult audiences and recommended for collections that include fantasy fiction.-Janet Martin, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Pinehurst, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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