THE LAST DRUID by Terry Brooks.
Orbit. h/b. £20.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
Tarsha Kaynin survives to live another day after her confrontation with Clizia Porse, the traitor druid. The storm surges around her as she hangs on for dear life, her brother beside her. Parlindru had told her that she would die three times. Was this her third chance gone? With her enemy still above, Tarsha wonders how she is going to free herself. Will the wishsong’s magic help her now? Has she mastered it enough?
Tasrha vows to have her revenge on Clizia Porse but for now will have to content herself with seeking out the books of magic and finding Drisker Arc, if he still lives. Flinc, the forest imp, is a good place to start. If Drisker trusted anyone with the books’ location, it would be him. She sets off with a heavy heart and her purposes fixed in her mind.
Drisker Arc is caught in Clizia’s trap, but what sort of trap is it and how can he escape? He should never have gone after the rogue druid alone. Now, trapped in The Forbidding, Drisker can only regret the decisions that brought him here and hope that Tarsha and Tavo have mastered the wishsong enough to secure their survival.
The fourth in Brooks’ The Fall of Shannara series, The Last Druid centres on Tarsha and Drisker as each faces their own quest for truth and freedom. This book definitely sits among those Shannara offerings with a much more traditional feel. Little page time is spent dwelling on what are essentially monumental and life-altering events, and opportunities for emotional investment make way for pressing on with the story, which does wrap things up nicely for young Tarsha who is the main focus of this narrative.
As has been the case with some of the later Shannara books, this one contains a large dose of re-telling of the previous books and has elements that feel more than a little familiar – characters trapped in The Forbidding, a magic only an Ohmsford can use – and one wonders whether that was a purposeful decision when we realise that this book is intended as an end to the Shannara books. With that knowledge, those echoes of the past will be treasured by fans, and it seems an appropriate way to end such an expansive series of stories… although Brooks has left enough scope at the end that a continuation from here would be entirely possible if the time was right.