Since I’ve been slowly breaking down becoming more depressed and frustrated since starting grad school, I naturally decided to cheer myself up by reading a book last Friday - about the end of the world. One warning - if you haven’t read either of the two Brooks series this one ties together, I don’t see why you would care for it, so read <i>The Sword of Shannara</i> or <i>Running with the Demon</i> first.
Everything past here can well be considered SPOILERS. In cartography terms, here be monsters:
<i>Armageddon’s Children</i> links together the worlds of Brook’s A Knight of the Word and Shannara sereis. The story starts at least a century after the fall of civilization, after the mystic things of Nest’s time came out into the open, nukes were launched, and men started to turn into demons, lesser things of evil, or simply died. Most of America is a desert, and the few outposts of civilization have slowly fallen over time, so that only a few lonely enclaves of hundreds or thousands remain on the west coast - other humans still live, but mostly as small groups of young scavengers. Armies of “once-men” led by demons roam everywhere. In addition, there are numerous Freaks living in the ruins of cities and elsewhere, basically mutated men - classified as Spiders, Moles, and Lizards.
We enter the story through four perspectives, that of the two remaining Knights, a young boy leading a group of scavengers in a ruined city, and an elf serving his one year as an attendant to the Ellycrys (which is, it is finally revealed to little fanfare, in Oregon. Quite fittingly, this fact alone is why no one ever found it). The Knights each have a mission - one to find the child of Nest, a creature of magic which had lain dormant during the fall of the world, and bring it to the service of the Lady and the Word, the other to retrieve an artifact in order to help the elves. You see, the Ellycrys is of course maintaining the Forbidding that holds back the demons from the time of the Faerie - the new demons roaming the Earth are human-born servants of the void, and they possess the power to threaten the ancient seal. The young elf, during the course of his duties, is spoken to directly by the Ellycrys, receiving a plea for help involving the Elfstones. The normal Elven political hijinx follow. Our last protagonist I must say the least about, because he is the most integral part of the story. Suffice it to say, to Brooks fans at least, he has an evil-looking guardian dog called Cheney (so-named precisely because he looks so evil).
Impressions so far? Pretty good. Hopefully Brooks will forego killing almost everyone, like he has in the past couple Shannara trilogies. Some of the events to happen are obvious. The Freaks will come down to Shannara as gnomes, dwarves, and so on. What I’m more interested in is who the Lady turns out to be, since she’s never mentioned in Shannara, and where the King of the Silver River is, since from the Shannara books we know he’s a creature from the time of the Faerie, and should be alive somewhere throughout all this. No mention of him yet. The length is standard Brooks, somewhere between 300 and 400 pages - I tore through it in an extremely distracted state (…I was playing FFX while reading) so it should go quickly for anyone else, too.