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In a horrifying blend of post-apocalyptic terror and new age urban fantasy, "Armageddon's Children" describes a world ravaged by nuclear war, plague, pestilence, famine, mindless zombie-like creatures, demons and terrifying creatures born out of devastating mutations. Deaths have numbered in the billions and humanity teeters on the very brink of extinction. Most of those few humans who have survived have reverted to a dark age in which they remain walled up in fortified compounds brutally scavenging from one another and scratching out a mean subsistence life in much the same fashion as tribes would have done during the earliest periods of mankind's existence.
The power and excitement of this debut novel of Terry Brooks' latest series rests in his convincing blend of the reality of a burnt-out destroyed human landscape with the beguiling and utterly fascinating mythological beginnings of the fantasy world that was born in full bloom in his earlier Shannara stories.
Long, long ago in a place that was definitely not far, far away, the Elves conquered the demon hordes wandering Earth and sealed them away in a bleak existence called "the Forbidding". A biblical scholar might have suggested that "The Word" ruled over the Earth and the Earth was good - a kindly, warm and benevolent place to live.
But current events on the earth - the wars, the nuclear radiation, the burgeoning evil that mankind is both experiencing and causing - are weakening the walls between Earth and the Forbidding. As evil's grip on the earth tightens, its defence has been reduced to the last two remaining Knights of the Word - Angel Perez and Logan Tom - two warriors carefully chosen by the Word for their indomitable spirit who have been given a magical staff and special powers to be used in the fight against demons and "The Void".
Perez and Tom have been charged by the Elven nation with finding a talisman called the Loden Lodestone and a magical young child called "The Gypsy Morph". Without the magic of the Lodestone and the power of the Gypsy Morph whose destiny is critical to the survival of humankind, earth is doomed. Goodness and "The Word" will disappear forever and the world will become the dominion of the demons and their dark lord, Findo Gask. "The Void" will rule forevermore.
"Armageddon's Children" is powerful indeed. Far more than a simple story of the unending and timeless conflict between good and evil, it tells a story of love, commitment, honor, dedication, trust and so much more. For example, the tale of orphaned children attempting to raise themselves in a bleak, nuclear-blasted world without reference to parental guidance, while astonishingly reminiscent of Golding's "Lord of the Flies", is fresh, exciting, heart-wrenching and most definitely not derivative in any way.
Brooks' descriptions of a troubled world are graphic and breathtaking. His character building is deep, complex and utterly convincing. On the dust jacket of the novel, Christopher Paolini, author of the young adult fantasy, "Eragon", was quoted as saying, "If you haven't read Terry Brooks, you haven't read fantasy"! Quite a compliment coming from a fellow author who might well be assumed to be in competition with Terry Brooks for the same audience. I have to agree with Mr Paolini's ebullient assessment.
I waited a long time for this one and, I think you'll agree. "Armageddon's Children" combines the earlier "Shannara" and "Knight of the Word" series in a stunning, entirely innovative new series that fantasy fans are going to eat up.
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