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Running With The Demon
Terry Brooks
Del Rey, 420 pages

A review by Wayne MacLaurin

Terry Brooks is best known for his bestselling Shannara series. I can remember the rabid ferocity with which I devoured The Sword of Shannara when it was first published. Since then, I've followed Brooks' novels with keen interest. Both the Shannara series and the Landover works have been wildly successful. To make things even better, Terry Brooks is also one of the nicest authors I have had the pleasure to meet. I took the news that his next novel was going to be a contemporary horror/fantasy with some surprise but was eager to see if he would be as successful in this slightly different genre.

Billed as a novel of Good and Evil, Running with the Demon is a dark contemporary fantasy. Set in the town of Hopewell, Illinois, the novel tells the tale of good vs evil as a demon, bent of the destruction of civilization, matches wits against a young girl with strange magical powers.

Ok, sounds pretty typical. But, Running with the Demon is a much more complex tale. Terry Brooks adds a wandering knight, who seems to be a cross between an old-west marshall and the Fisher King, and sets the story against the backdrop of small-town America, complete with a labour-troubled steel mill. As we find out early in the novel (in the prologue, in fact), the knight is driven by prophetic dreams of the ruin of civilization, an outcome he is not sure he can change...

The demon's intentions for Hopewell start out seemingly straightforward. But as the novel progresses, the plots become more complex and the characters evolve and grow in depth, too.

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not usually a fan of contemporary fantasy -- I've always thought that elves and dragons were best left in worlds of high-fantasy. But Terry Brooks has done a marvellous job of crafting a novel that works and, all in all, the combination of good characterization and a fine plot makes for a truly compelling read.

Copyright © 1998 by Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

Running With The Demon
Terry Brooks
With the publication of Sword of Shannara in 1977, Terry Brooks became one of the most popular authors in the industry. He has published twelve consecutive best-selling novels since that first novel.

Del Rey's Terry Brooks Feature Site
Running with the Demon Excerpt
ISFDB Bibliography
Terry Brooks' Landover Tribute Site
Terry Brooks Tribute Site
Terry Brooks Tribute Site

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