Landover was a genuine, out-of-this-world magic kingdom, complete with fairy folk and wizardry, just as the advertisement had promised. But after he purchased it for a million dollars, Ben Holiday discovered that there were a few details the ad had failed to mention.
The kingdom was falling into ruin. Taxes hadn't been collected in years. The Barons refused to recognize a king and the peasants were without hope. The dragon Strabo was laying waste the countryside and the evil witch Nightshade was plotting to destroy everything. Generally, things were a total mess.
Ben's only followers were the incompetent Court Magician, Questar Thews, and Abernathy, the talking dog who served as Court Scribe. For servants, all he had were a pair of kobolds. The Paladin, legendary champion of the Kings of Landover, seemed to be only a myth and an empty suit of armor.
Of course, there was the lovely and devoted Willow--but she had a habit of putting down roots in the moonlight and turning into a tree.
To put the final touch on the whole affair, Ben soon learned that the Iron Mark, ugly and terrible lord of the demons, had challenged all prospective Kings of Landover to a duel to the death--a duel which no human could hope to win.
The task of proving his right to be King seemed hopeless. But Ben Holiday was stubborn.
I am a kindle owner and this book was advertised as a free book for at least the month of June. I am all about the free book so I picked it up. Not being a big reader of fantasy books, I had no idea that this was a New York Times Bestseller in 1986. As I started reading I was so impressed by the writing and the descriptive images that I started googling the novel to learn more about it. Silly me, Terry Brooks is well-known in this genre. This is just one of his many.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It revolves around Ben Holiday, a very depressed and lonely lawyer, who wants out of his life. He has lost his wife and unborn child to a tragic accident and feels unfulfilled and let down in his law career. He finds an ad for a magic kingdom in the holiday wishbook and decides to purchase it to try and find something worth living for or to just get away from it all. The writing is high caliber and even though you are clearly reading fiction you are completely drawn in to it. You find yourself cheering for Ben when he succeeds and afraid for him as he faces one challenge after another.
The descriptions are wonderful. Over and over again I felt like -if I were any kind of artist- I could draw exactly what he was writing. I actually felt like I was watching the movie in my head while reading it. FYI-the movie rights have been sold to this book, but as of yet nothing has been done.
All of the supporting characters in the book develop very individual personalities. Brooks does a wonderful job of keeping those traits throughout the book and creating very dimensional and believable characters. Each character played a pivotal role in the story. They all had a part in helping Ben discover his strengths and work through his depression.
This book was not only fantasy, but also a story about a man who is coming to terms with his life after loss. He must look within himself to find the strength to not only run Landover, but to move forward with his life after tragedy. It is through his friendships and through believing in himself and his ability to make a difference that he is finally able to become the King that Landover needs.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy or just a good story. This is the first book in a series. The 6th book of the Landover series will be out in August 2009. If you are a kindle owner pick it up for free while you can. The kindle version does have typos, but they are easy to work through.