Cover image for Ilse witch
Title:
Ilse witch
Author:
Brooks, Terry.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Pub. Group, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
454 pages ; 25 cm.
General Note:
"A Del Rey Book"--T.p. verso.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
950 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.1 26.0 51793.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.8 32 Quiz: 23249 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780345396549
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks returns to the fantasy that launched his career--the fantasy that remains closest to his heart, and to the hearts of millions of fans around the world. More than twenty years have passed since Brooks set the new standard for the genre with his astonishing first novel, The Sword of Shannara, the now-classic commencement of a centuries-spanning epic of good and evil. Now Brooks embarks on what promises to be his masterpiece--Ilse Witch: Book One of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara. When the mutilated body of a half-drowned elf is found floating in the seas of the Blue Divide, an old mystery resurfaces. Thirty years ago, the elven prince Kael Elessedil--brother to the current king--led an expedition in search of a legendary magic said to be more ancient, more powerful, than any in the world. Of all those who set out on that ill-fated voyage, not one has ever returned . . . Until now. For the rescued elf carries a map covered with mysterious symbols only one man has the skill to decipher. That man is Walker Boh, the last of the Druids. But someone else understands the map's significance, someone dark and ruthless: the Ilse Witch, a beautiful but twisted young woman who wields a magic as potent as his own. She will stop at nothing to possess the map--and the magic it leads to. To stop her, Walker must find the magic first. So begins the voyage of the Jerle Shannara. Aboard the sleek, swift airship are an elven prince; a Rover girl; a monstrous creature part man, part enigma; and a young man named Bek Rowe, who may unknowingly hold the key to the success of the mission--or to its cataclysmic failure. Now, as old secrets come to light, sowing seeds of mistrust and suspicion among the crew, the Jerle Shannara flies into the face of unknown terrors, while the Ilse Witch and her dark allies follow, waiting to strike . . .


Author Notes

Terry Brooks was born in Sterling, Illinois on January 8, 1944. He received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Hamilton College and a graduate degree from the School of Law at Washington and Lee University. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a practicing attorney for many years. His first book The Sword of Shannara (1977) was the first work of fiction to appear on the New York Times Trade Paperback Bestseller List. He made the list again with his title The High Druid'd Blade: The Defenders of Shannara. His other works include the Word and Void trilogy, The Heritage of Shannara series, Magic Kingdom of Landover series, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series, High Druid of Shannara series, Genesis of Shannara series, and the novelization to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Brooks' latest entry in the long-popular Shannara saga takes place a generation after events in Talisman of Shannara (1993), in which Walker Boh reluctantly becomes a Druid. Here, Walker is the only one still alive who fought the battles in Talisman. He is also the only living Druid, an outcast, embittered by the refusal of the elf king, Allardon Elessedil, to approve the establishment of an autonomous Druid Council. Now the elf king needs Walker's help in interpreting a map found on a badly injured castaway elf, probably the king's brother who disappeared 30 years earlier on an expedition in search of magic revealed in a seer's dream. Despite the assassinations of both the castaway and the king, Walker is able to prepare for and embark on the voyage chronicled on the map. He realizes that the elven assassins, led by his nemesis, the Ilse witch, would probably make the voyage as well. Among Walker's quest companions are young Quentin Leah, possessor of the magic sword of Leah, and Quentin's adopted brother, Bek Rowe, a boy whose past, like that of the Ilse witch, is shrouded in mystery. The way is long, and danger comes from many sources, as the group first searches for the three keys needed to succeed in the quest and then makes its way to the ruins of Castledown, where the magic of the Old World lies hidden and well guarded. The Ilse witch herself is an enigma whose persona remains misty in the interspersed narratives that follow her activities. The myriad Shannara fans will relish the adventure, the mystery, the magic, and the well-developed characters, elements that hold true to the rest of the saga. The ending is a gripping cliff-hanger that will leave readers impatient for the promised sequel, Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Antrax Sky. --Sally Estes


Publisher's Weekly Review

Echoing with the themes, traditions and enchantments of Brooks's earlier Shannara novels, this lively new adventure, set a generation later, combines the familiar quest format used in The Sword of Shannara with an array of well-defined characters and malevolent beings. Rather than searching for a powerful sword, however, the Druid Walker and the Elven King Allardon Elessedil unite forces to retrieve an ambiguous prize, "a magic of spells invoked by words," that may fortify the Elven government and its people or destroy those who seek it. Guided by the knowledge of the dangers he will face beyond the Blue Divide, Walker spends a lengthy amount of time recruiting his crew members. For heroics, Walker enlists the aid of two Highland boys: Quentin, who has the power of the Leah family sword at his behest, and his foster brother Bek, an orphan of mysterious origins and unknown talents. Providing magical mobility are the Wing Riders, who fly the frequently unfriendly skies on giant Rocs. A female seer and empath, a shapeshifter with a dubious past, a dwarf, a number of Elven soldiers and several colorful, Gypsy-like Rovers who captain, navigate and repair the airship Jerle Shannara round out Walker's questing crew. Throughout, the inimical Ilse Witch, a powerful young sorceress and Walker's bitter rival, shadows the expedition as it overcomes several near fatal encounters. Although this first volume in Brooks's proposed trilogy sputters to a slow start, bogged down by necessary background information and character development, Brooks nevertheless manages to intensify and tighten the story's momentum as the Jerle Shannara reaches its final destination. Fans familiar with the Shannara series, and new readers as well, will enjoy this first Shannara tale in four years. Major ad/promo; 12-city author tour; simultaneous Random House Audio. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

When evidence of an ancient magic surfaces in the Elven lands, a race begins between Walker Boh, the last Druid, and his implacable enemy, the young woman known as the Ilse Witch. Brooks sets his newest installment in the best-selling Shannara series a generation after the events of Talisman of Shannara (1993) and introduces a new and intriguing cast of characters along with a few familiar faces. The Shannara mythology gains a new level of history and depth in a tale that should appeal to the series' legions of fans. Libraries may consider purchasing multiple copies to meet demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/00.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Hunter Predd was patrolling the waters of the Blue Divide north of the island of Mesca Rho, a Wing Hove outpost at the western edge of Elven territorial waters, when he saw the man clinging to the spar. The man was draped over the length of wood as if a cloth doll, his head laid on the spar so that his face was barely out of the water, one arm wrapped loosely about his narrow float to keep him from sliding away. His skin was burned and ravaged from sun, wind, and weather, and his clothing was in tatters. He was so still it was impossible to tell if he was alive. It was the odd rolling movement of his body within the gentle swells, in fact, that first caught Hunter Predd's eye. Obsidian was already banking smoothly toward the castaway, not needing the touch of his master's hands and knees to know what to do. His eyes sharper than those of the Elf, he had spotted the man in the water before Hunter and shifted course to effect a rescue. It was a large part of the work he was trained to do, locating and rescuing those whose ships had been lost at sea. The Roc could tell a man from a piece of wood or a fish a thousand yards away. He swung around slowly, great wings stretched wide, dipping toward the surface and plucking the man from the waters with a sure and delicate touch. Great claws wrapped securely, but gently, about the limp form, the Roc lifted away again. Depthless and clear, the late spring sky spread away in a brilliant blue dome brightened by sunlight that infused the warm air and reflected in flashes of silver off the waves. Hunter Predd guided his mount back toward the closest piece of land available, a small atoll some miles from Mesca Rho. There he would see what, if anything, could be done. They reached the atoll in less than half an hour, Hunter Predd keeping Obsidian low and steady in his flight the entire way. Black as ink and in the prime of his life, the Roc was his third as a Wing Rider and arguably the best. Besides being big and strong, Obsidian had excellent instincts and had learned to anticipate what Hunter wished of him before the Wing Rider had need to signal it. They had been together five years, not long for a Rider and his mount, but sufficiently long in this instance that they performed as if linked in mind and body. Lowering to the leeward side of the atoll in a slow flapping of wings, Obsidian deposited his burden on a sandy strip of beach and settled down on the rocks nearby. Hunter Predd jumped off and hurried over to the motionless form. The man did not respond when the Wing Rider turned him on his back and began to check for signs of life. There was a pulse, and a heartbeat. His breathing was slow and shallow. But when Hunter Predd checked his face, he found his eyes had been removed and his tongue cut out. He was an Elf, the Wing Rider saw. Not a member of the Wing Hove, however. The lack of harness scars on his wrists and hands marked him so. Hunter examined his body carefully for broken bones and found none. The only obvious physical damage seemed to be to his face. Mostly, he was suffering from exposure and lack of nourishment. Hunter placed a little fresh water from his pouch on the man's lips and let it trickle down his throat. The man's lips moved slightly. Hunter considered his options and decided to take the man to the seaport of Bracken Clell, the closest settlement where he could find an Elven Healer to provide the care that was needed. He could take the man to Mesca Rho, but the island was only an outpost. Another Wing Rider and himself were its only inhabitants. No healing help could be found there. If he wanted to save the man's life, he would have to risk carrying him east to the mainland. The Wing Rider bathed the man's skin in fresh water and applied a healing salve that would protect it from further damage. Hunter carried no extra clothing; the man would have to travel in the rags he wore. He tried again to give the man fresh water, and this time the man's mouth worked more eagerly in response, and he moaned softly. For an instant his ruined eyes tried to open, and he mumbled unintelligibly. As a matter of course and in response to his training, the Wing Rider searched the man and took from his person the only two items he found. Both surprised and perplexed him. He studied each carefully, and the frown on his lips deepened. Unwilling to delay his departure any longer, Hunter picked up the man and, with Obsidian's help, eased him into place on the Roc's broad back. A pad cushioned and restraining straps secured him. After a final check, Hunter climbed back aboard his mount, and Obsidian lifted away. They flew east toward the coming darkness for three hours, and sunset was approaching when they sighted Bracken Clell. The seaport's population was a mixture of races, predominantly Elven, and the inhabitants were used to seeing Wing Riders and their Rocs come and go. Hunter Predd took Obsidian upland to a clearing marked for landings, and the big Roc swung smoothly down into the trees. A messenger was sent into town from among the curious who quickly gathered, and the Elven Healer appeared with a clutch of litter bearers. "What's happened to him?" the Healer asked of Hunter Predd, on discovering the man's empty eye sockets and ruined mouth. Hunter shook his head. "That's how I found him." "Identification? Who is he?" "I don't know," the Wing Rider lied. He waited until the Healer and his attendants had picked up the man and begun carrying him toward the Healer's home, where the man would be placed in one of the sick bays in the healing center, before dispatching Obsidian to a more remote perch, then following after the crowd. What he knew was not to be shared with the Healer or anyone else in Bracken Clell. What he knew was meant for one man only. He sat on the Healer's porch and smoked his pipe, his longbow and hunting knife by his side as he waited for the Healer to reemerge. The sun had set, and the last of the light lay across the waters of the bay in splashes of scarlet and gold. Hunter Predd was small and slight for a Wing Rider, but tough as knotted cord. He was neither young nor old, but comfortably settled in the middle and content to be there. Sun-browned and windburned, his face seamed and his eyes gray beneath a thick thatch of brown hair, he had the look of what he was--an Elf who had lived all of his life in the outdoors. Once, while he was waiting, he took out the bracelet and held it up to the light, reassuring himself that he had not been mistaken about the crest it bore. The map he left in his pocket. One of the Healer's attendants brought him a plate of food, which he devoured silently. When he was finished eating, the attendant reappeared and took the plate away, all without speaking. The Healer still hadn't emerged. It was late when he finally did, and he looked haggard and unnerved as he settled himself next to Hunter. They had known each other for some time, the Healer having come to the seaport only a year after Hunter had returned from the border wars and settled into Wing Rider service off the coast. They had shared in more than one rescue effort and, while of different backgrounds and callings, were of similar persuasion regarding the foolishness of the world's progress. Here, in an outback of the broader civilization that was designated the Four Lands, they had found they could escape a little of the madness. "How is he?" Hunter Predd asked. The Healer sighed. "Not good. He may live. If you can call it that. He's lost his eyes and his tongue. Both were removed forcibly. Exposure and malnutrition have eroded his strength so severely he will probably never recover entirely. He came awake several times and tried to communicate, but couldn't." "Maybe with time--" "Time isn't the problem," the Healer interrupted, drawing his gaze and holding it. "He cannot speak or write. It isn't just the damage to his tongue or his lack of strength. It is his mind. His mind is gone. Whatever he has been through has damaged him irreparably. I don't think he knows where he is or even who he is." Hunter Predd looked off into the night. "Not even his name?" "Not even that. I don't think he remembers anything of what's happened to him." The Wing Rider was silent a moment, thinking. "Will you keep him here for a while longer, care for him, watch over him? I want to look into this more closely." The Healer nodded. "Where will you start?" "Arborlon, perhaps." A soft scrape of a boot brought him about sharply. An attendant appeared with hot tea and food for the Healer. He nodded to them without speaking and disappeared again. Hunter Predd stood, walked to the door to be certain they were alone, then reseated himself beside the Healer. "Watch this damaged man closely, Dorne. No visitors. Nothing until you hear back from me." The Healer sipped at his tea. "You know something about him that you're not telling me, don't you?" "I suspect something. There's a difference. But I need time to make certain. Can you give me that time?" The Healer shrugged. "I can try. The man inside will have something to say about whether he will still be here when you return. He is very weak. You should move swiftly." Hunter Predd nodded. "As swift as Obsidian's wings can fly," he replied softly. Behind him, in the near darkness of the open doorway, a shadow detached itself from behind a wall and moved silently away. The attendant who had served dinner to the Wing Rider and the Healer waited until after midnight, when the people of Bracken Clell were mostly asleep, to slip from his rooms in the village into the surrounding forest. He moved quickly and without the benefit of light, knowing his path well from having traveled it many times before. He was a small, wizened man who had spent the whole of his life in the village and was seldom given a second glance. He lived alone and had few friends. He had served in the Healer's household for better than thirteen years, a quiet, uncomplaining sort who lacked imagination but could be depended on. His qualities suited him well in his work as a Healer's attendant, but even better as a spy. He reached the cages he kept concealed in a darkened pen behind the old cabin in which he had been born. When his father and mother had died, possession had passed to him as the eldest male. It was a poor inheritance, and he had never accepted that it was all to which he was entitled. When the opportunity had been offered to him, he snatched at it eagerly. A few words overheard here and there, a face or a name recognized from tales told in taverns and ale houses, bits and pieces of information tossed his way by those rescued from the ocean and brought to the center to heal--they were all worth something to the right people. And to one person in particular, make no mistake about it. From the Paperback edition. Excerpted from Ilse Witch 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.