Author: Terry Brooks
Title: Bearers of the Black Staff
Genre: Fantasy fiction
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
Number of Pages: 353 pages (audio – 12 CDs)
Geographical Setting: A mythical, protected valley called Shannara.
Time Period: Post Apocalyptic
Series: Legends of Shannara
Plot Summary: In a valley protected by magical mists and a loner, Sider Ament, two young trackers find that demons have breached their valley and killed innocent trackers. Sider is the only surviving member of the Knights of the Word and the Bearer of the Black staff. He and the trackers seek to warn the inhabitants of the valley- humans, elves, lizards and spiders. In doing so, they put themselves in danger from those who believe that the failure of the mists means the second coming of their God. This forces them to seek help from other species in order to protect the impending demon invasion. They join with an Elven cast of characters and other humans to defend their valley. In their quest they encounter duplicitous royalty, demons, and the religious, who are on their own quest for power. Sider Ament’s personal quest is to find a worthy successor to bear the black staff. The audio book is narrated by Phil Gigante, who is known for his ability to do characterizations. Listening to the audio version brings all of these characters to life.
Subject Headings: Refugees; Survival; Magic; Trolls; Knights and Knighthood; Magic sticks; Good and evil; Shannara (Imaginary place)
Appeal: reflective, fast-paced, engrossing, compelling, dangerous, foreboding, heartwarming, optimistic, flawed but memorable characters, well-developed, multiple plot lines, mystical, world building, nostalgic.
3 appeal terms that best describe this book: heroic, richly detailed, strong sense of place.
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
1) Tolkien & C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship by Colin Duriez. A commentary on the friendship and the inspiration for each authors’ fantasy works, including their spiritual beliefs.
2) Tales from a Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien. A collection of short fantasy novellas and poetry with illustrations.
3) The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings by Brenda Rosen. Illustrations and history of the origins of mythical creatures and their basis in reality.
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
1) Dragons of Autumn Twilight (DragonLance saga) by Margaret Weis. A world-building and fast-paced work including themes of good and evil with magic wielding creatures and humans.
2) Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Fantasies) by Juliet Marillier. These stories have young heroes/heroines that are noble, but sometimes behave badly. They learn from their experiences and sometimes are fighting religious battles.
3) The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan. This series is chosen for the story of unlikely heroes banding together with other species to go on a dangerous quest in order to defeat evil.
Tags: compelling, dangerous, engrossing, fast paced, flawed but memorable characters, foreboding, heartwarming, heroic, multiple plot lines, mystical, nostalgic, optimistic, reflective, richly detailed, strong sense of place, well-developed, world-building