Monday, October 20, 2008

“The Gypsy Morph” by Terry Brooks

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
Eighty years into the future, the United States is a no-man’s-land: its landscape blighted by chemical warfare, pollution, and plague; its government collapsed; its citizens adrift, desperate, fighting to stay alive. In fortified compounds, survivors hold the line against wandering predators, rogue militias, and hideous mutations spawned from the toxic environment, while against them all stands an enemy neither mortal nor merciful: demons and their minions bent on slaughtering and subjugating the last of humankind.

But from around the country, allies of good unite to challenge the rampaging evil. Logan Tom, wielding the magic staff of a Knight of the Word, has a promise to keep—protecting the world’s only hope of salvation—and a score to settle with the demon that massacred his family. Angel Perez, Logan’s fellow Knight, has risked her life to aid the elvish race, whose peaceful, hidden realm is marked for extermination by the forces of the Void. Kirisin Belloruus, a young elf entrusted with an ancient magic, must deliver his entire civilization from a monstrous army. And Hawk, the rootless boy who is nothing less than destiny’s instrument, must lead the last of humanity to a latter-day promised land before the final darkness falls.

The Gypsy Morph is an epic saga of a world in flux as the mortal realm yields to a magical one; as the champions of the Word and the Void clash for the last time to decide what will be and what must cease; and as, from the remnants of a doomed age, something altogether extraordinary rises.
The Gypsy Morph is the concluding volume in the Genesis of Shannara fantasy trilogy. As the series title implies, the trilogy explores the origins of Shannara. Standing on its own merits apart from the rest of the trilogy, The Gypsy Morph is a fine example of the post apocalyptic science fiction novel with a twist. The twist of course is that the death of our technological civilization brings about the birth/rebirth of an age of magic—making The Gypsy Morph a welcome blend of fantasy and science fiction.

I had not read the first two parts of the series and it was obvious that I was missing big chunks of back story and was also picking up on story threads started in the earlier books, but after a few chapters it was easy to become immersed in Brooks’ breezy narrative style and brisk pacing.

Strong themes run through The Gypsy Morph. Even though there are grand battles and cross-country pursuits of predator and prey, the story focus always remains on the people and in most instances on the children. Simple acts of courage and sacrifice are found everywhere. There are enduring expressions of hope and love despite the overwhelming obstacles, harsh realities and implacable enemies. This is especially refreshing compared to the usual dark, despairing atmosphere found in many apocalyptic scenarios.

There are tragedies too. Even with characters drawn with but a few broad strokes, you feel an emotional connection so when tragedy strikes or a character is imperiled, you feel the impact. In many cases the effect was heightened because so many of the characters are children and the portrayal of the evil stalking them so insidious.
All of them had believed they were following someone they could trust. All of them had believed they were safe right up until the end.
Our survivors are being lead to the safe haven by Hawk, the gypsy morph of the title. Barely more then a boy, the other children follow him solely on faith.
He was born a gypsy morph, a thing of wild magic. But his past was hidden from him, and he only just found out the truth about himself.
Even as the world is breathing its’ last gasp, we come to realize that the ending that our diverse group of survivors is anticipating is something beyond the cataclysm they are already experiencing—something even more ominous then the radiation, disease, environmental collapse, mutations, and forces of demons and Once-men. The ultimate cause of the Earth’s denouement is neatly hinted at in the opening chapter and bookended by the final chapter.

The travails of the Ghosts, Knights of the Word and Elves are exciting and heart wrenching in equal measure. I certainly plan to seek out the earlier books in the trilogy to learn more and share in the experiences of these memorable characters. Like the character namesake, the book The Gypsy Morph is a thing of wild magic. Highly recommended.


Author and Book Showcase


Official Website

Read an excerpt from Chapter One.

Read a letter to fans from Terry Brooks about The Gypsy Morph.

Read an interview with Terry about the writing of The Gypsy Morph

The Genesis of Shannara Trilogy

  1. Armageddon's Children
  2. The Elves of Cintra
  3. The Gypsy Morph
Suggested reading order of the Shannara books from Terry Brooks.



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