Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bearers of the Black Staff: Legends of Shannara” as Want to Read:
Bearers of the Black Staff: Legends of Shannara
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bearers of the Black Staff: Legends of Shannara (Legends of Shannara #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  5,924 ratings  ·  364 reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Terry Brooks's The Measure of the Magic.


Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war tore apart the United States and nearly exterminated humankind. Those who escaped the carnage were led to sanctuary in an idyllic valley, its borders warded by powerful magic against the horrors beyo
ebook, 352 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Del Rey (first published 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bearers of the Black Staff, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bearers of the Black Staff

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Bearers of the Black Staff is the book in which the world of the old Shannara classics truly begins to take shape after the destruction of the old world in the Genesis trilogy. The protective mist created by the now mythical Hawk is beginning to fail, and the people of the valley cease to live in peaceful isolation from an outside world they know nothing about. Threats are mounting from the outside and the inside both, from vicious power struggles to an invading army, as men and elves struggle t ...more
Shawn Speakman
Bearers of the Black Staff is, quite simply, one of Terry's best books. The first part of a two-book set, Black Staff is set 500 years after the events in The Gypsy Morph, where the the descendants of civilization's demise re-emerge from their protected valley into a world greatly changed and far more dangerous.

But not all dangers are in the world without. Some have been festering in the valley for centuries.

Terry has done a great job developing his characters in this first book. I guarantee Ter
Ryan Lawler
Bearers of the Black Staff is the first book in Terry Brooks' Legends of Shannara series, published by Del Rey in August 2010. This book follows on from the Genesis of Shannara series and continues to explore the post-apocalyptic evolution of our world, connecting the events from the Word/Void series with the fantasy world of Shannara. While this book can be read and enjoyed without any prior knowledge of Word/Void and Shannara, this is the 22nd novel to explore this universe and as such, avid r ...more
Jun 23, 2012 Alan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Longtime fans... only
Recommended to Alan by: My mother-in-law, who meant well, bless her heart
I first encountered Shannara during the Golden Age of SF—my golden age, that is. The Sword of Shannara was published in 1977, when I was just fourteen years old. Close enough. At the time, its shameless post-apocalyptic pastiche of Tolkien seemed new, and I happily picked up several more books in the series. Sure, it's the kind of thing EFP (Extruded Fantasy Product) was named for, but sometimes that's exactly what you want.

More than thirty years and twenty volumes later, though... well, Brooks
Roughly 500 years have passed since Hawk led his ragged group of survivors to the valley and a shield of magic was put in place to protect them from the waves of destruction outside. Over the centuries, the humans, elves, and mutants living in this safe haven have apparently forgotten the shared struggle of their ancestors as they choose to live separated from one another, with little contact.

Sider Ament, the last Knight of the Word, is the first to discover that the barriers are dissolving. Tra
This was an interesting and entertaining story from the Shannara world history. This one tells us of events that occur a few centuries after the time frame of The Gypsy Morph. It gets us closer to the period of Brooks's classic work, The Sword of Shannra, but we're not there yet. This book does end with a lot unresolved, so I'll need to push on to The Measure of the Magic to get those answers.

But that said, this one is enjoyable. There are a few characters that stand out as particularly interes
An Odd1
"Bearers of the Black Staff" (Shanarra x) guard the races of man, elf, lizard-troll, and spider (?) in a valley warded by magic 500 years before, when an apocalyptic Great War decimated the Earth. The protection has fallen. Sider's magic saves trackers: girl Prue 13 and boy Pan 15 from escaped monsters. But nobody wants to believe their warning. A power-hungry Sect leader and elf queen ally and send assassins. Vast Troll armies want their land. Betrayal, sacrifice, invasion, cliff-hanger.
I pref
Bart Breen
Terry Brooks and Shannara have been around since the 1970s. I remember stumbling across Brooks after reading all of Tolkien's works and wondering if there was anyone else out there who could write and create a world like Tolkien. I didn't realize at the time, how tall an order that was. I read a lot of imitators and wannabes and was about to give up, but thanks to Brooks and a few others I was pleasantly surprised that there was some fantasy literature out there worth reading.

Over time though, I
Carl Alves
Prior to reading Bearers of the Black Staff, I had not realized that his Shannara and Knight of the Word series were interconnected. One of the things that I especially liked about this novel is the way that Brooks presented the backstory that linked the stories following the time that Hawk, the Gypsy Morph delivered his people into the valley that had been protected by magical barriers, which are now down. The valley for the first time in five hundred years, exposed to the people and creatures ...more
I adore Terry Brooks. That said, this wasn't my favorite of his offerings, and largely because I felt it was too short and not fleshed out as well as it could have been. I realize it is 1 of 2, but based on what he's written before, it seemed to me as I was reading that this could easily have been all fit into one book, instead of broken into two, a year apart. That seems rather calculated to me, but hey, a guy's gotta make a living, I guess...

It's a good story, an informative telling of the eve

Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war that almost exterminated humankind. Those who escaped the carnage were led to sanctuary by the boy saviour known as Hawk: the gypsy morph. But now, the unimaginable has come to pass: the cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has vanished. When Sider Ament, last surviving Knight of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, and Trackers from the human village of Glensk Wood, find two of their o
Unlike other users 'Bearers of the Black Staff' was my first Terry Brooks book. I picked this up as a gift and I read the summary on the other side of the book and I found it to my liking. I wouldn't have read the book had I known that it wasn't the first book in the Shannara series. I did ask the clerk but my question wasn't well thought out and vague. 'Is this the first book?' which it was: The first book in 'Legends of Shannara'. But I digress.

The Bearers of the Black Staff is a very well wri
Albert Riehle
Terry Brooks just can't miss in my humble opinion and in Bearers of the Black Staff he hits another bullseye. My only problems with Brooks is that he at times sets an impossibly high bar for himself.

BotBS isn't one of his best but only because it's part one in a two part duology and I just can't bring myself to call an unfinished work one of his best when he regularly closes his stories with such grace and power. That said, I'm hooked. The setup is amazing and having to wait for the resolution
Another story begins in the Shannara world. I'm not sure what I thought. It was enjoyable, but nothing special. It ends in a cliffhanger, but I expected that (being that it's the first in a trilogy), so it didn't bother me. I think what's really bothering me about the new Shannara books is that I miss old Shannara. All of these prequels about the history of the world.. They're okay in idea, but for me they take away part of the mystery that was Shannara.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think eve
Another very strong book by Terry Brooks. I believe by going back to the time period between The Word and the Void series and The Sword of Shannara, Terry has been a bit revitalized. The past 4 or 5 Shannara books have been fresh, with very interesting plots and story lines.

I can say that I loved the original Shannara series, but didn't care as much for the Heritage, Voyage and High Druid series, as I felt they were too dark and depressing. This book is more upbeat and interesting, as all of hi
Richard Radgoski
Bearers of the Black Staff picks up 500 years after Hawk leads the ghosts to the valley and it is encompassed by the mists. I felt it was a solid entry into the Shanarra mythology and gave the readers considerable insights on how the families have fared in their isolation. It's sad that despite this isolation and why, that corruption still creeps into the hearts of men and elves, but I guess we would have a story would we?

Ultimately, the mists come down and the men and elves of the valley must d
For those of you familiar with Brooks works, there is much that will be familiar here, but little terribly original or new as in the Gypsy Morph saga. The plot carries on some 500 years after the setting of the last novel and while it makes for interesting reading, there's little particularly riviting unlike some of his more recent works. It all feels rushed, like there were timelines to meet and bills to pay, and none of the new characters are especially well drawn or unique. It makes for a qui ...more
Set 500 years after The Gypsy Morph, Bearers of The Black Staff tells the story of the inhabitants of the Valley that Hawk led the survivors to. The protective walls are failing and the outside world and it's dangers are now accessible again. I would point out that this book is only half a story and you'll find the conclusion in The Measure of the Magic. It enjoyed it but I went into it expecting to learn a bit more about what happened to the Ghosts and so on. Maybe I'll find the answers in the ...more
A good read, though something was left missing at the end. Now, I've never read any other Terry Brooks book before, meaning I jumped right into an old world with several series of books with this one. In retrospect I should've looked more into the other Shannara books but it's too late now. There's clearly a long, rich history to Shannara, and while Brooks does a good job explaining important parts of its history, there was an odd feeling I was missing something.

The plot follows different charac
Jon Borah

SUMMARY: Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war that almost exterminated humankind. Those who escaped the carnage were led to sanctuary by the boy saviour known as Hawk: the gypsy morph. But now, the unimaginable has come to pass: the cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has vanished. When Sider Ament, last surviving Knight of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, and Trackers from the human village of Glensk Wood, find two of their own

Brian Schiebout
Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks is the first book in the Legends of Shannara series set in the Shannara universe. The book takes place about 500 years after the events which took place in the Genesis of Shannara series. The valley where the assorted followers of Hawk settled has been kept safe by the magical mists which surrounded it but now the mists are receding. The main hero in the story is Sider Ament who is the bearer of the black staff of the knights of the world. After he disc ...more
This was good, but not great. I'm disappointed that Brooks far too often makes really great characters only to kill them off. I'm also disappointed that he is far too casual about destroying really great stuff, especially one-of-a-kind, never to be seen again artifacts. For someone who is naturally a conserver and hoarder, this makes the story painful to read, since I would have done things very differently.

Brooks misses out on showing us, rather than telling us, about the great survival skills
Renée Korver-Michan
It is quite a ways from the modern day world to the fantasy realm of Shannara. Through the Word and Void, Genesis of Shannara and Legends of Shannara series Terry Brooks attempts to relate how one led to the other throughout a series of events. Legends of Shannara is the last of the prequel series, and I am sorry to say it is not as good as the first two prequel series. The characters in it are less rounded, and the plot seems less well thought through. Terry Brooks has the tendency to write "th ...more
Libby Chester
Totally captivating plot that pulls the reader right in. Who couldn't love the characters? The 'Gray Man' who bears the magical black staff is Sider Ament. Panterra Qu, 17 years old and Prue, 15 years old are Trackers with special skills. All are sheltered in a valley with communities of Humans, Elves, Lizards (trolls) and Spiders that have been protected from the outside world for the past 500 years by a magical wall of mist. Everything changes when that world is threatened. I love how Brooks i ...more
Gere Lewis
Five hundred years have passed since Hawk, the Gypsy Morph, sealed away his followers behind a wall of mist and magic. Now the wall has come down and the time has come to venture out into the wider world once more. The problem is that no one wants to believe that this is true. There is only one black staff remaining in the world and it belongs to Sider Ament. Two young trackers are the only others that know that the magic is gone and that the outside world is not going to wait for them to come o ...more
Rania M.
I've been having a very bad book hangover for the last two days. The ending was sudden , which is why it took me awhile to formulate a complete review.
This is my fist Shannara book, my first Terry Brooks book as a matter of fact and I don't know why it waited so long on my shelf to be read. I know I should have started with "The Sword of Shannara" or even the "Genesis of Shannara" trilogy but obviously I didn't . This book was on sale in a local store so I bought it. No one has recommended it
Matteo Pellegrini

Sono passati cinquecento anni dalle Grandi Guerre, fomentate dai demoni, che avevano lasciato solo morte e rovina, sterminando quasi completamente il genere umano. I superstiti, un piccolo gruppo di Uomini e di Elfi, fuggiti sotto la guida del giovane Falco avevano trovato rifugio in una valle remota e inaccessibile che lo stesso Falco era riuscito a isolare dai pericoli esterni con la magia, esaurendo tutto il suo potere. Uomini, Elfi e mutanti avevano trovato un luogo che credevano sarebbe sta

*phone rings*


"Hi, is this faithful reader?"

"Uh, Yeah..."

"Hey, this Terry Brooks calling, just wanted to let you know I'm phoning it in on this one... Probably for now on really... Anyway, thought you should know."


Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
Rajesh S Shirali
For people like me who are testing the waters of the Fantasy Ocean, this was a very good read. What i liked most about the book were the parallels it drew with the modern world-wherein the voice of reason is disregarded by the powers that be-as these might threaten the belief systems that help them hold power over the majority. Good fantasy touches one's heart and mind by building parallels/ analogies that one can examine and learn lessons from-which in turn can be applied in our world.
Just imag
Terry created a wonderful world with interesting plots but it's a pity he sticks to the same formula with the 'good' characters being so thick sometimes you could slap them. And the characters I do really like always die lol
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Kingdom Besieged (The Chaoswar Saga #1)
  • Traitor's Knot (Wars of Light & Shadow #7; Arc 3 - Alliance of Light, #4)
  • Legends II: Dragon, Sword and King
  • Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #2)
  • The Infinity Gate (Darkglass Mountain, #3)
  • The Dame (Corona: Saga of the First King, #3)
  • Two to the Fifth (Xanth, #32)
  • Echo of Eternity
Terry Brooks was born in Illinois in 1944, where he spent a great deal of his childhood and early adulthood dreaming up stories in and around Sinnissippi Park, the very same park that would eventually become the setting for his bestselling Word & Void trilogy. He went to college and received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, where he majored in English Literature, and he received ...more
More about Terry Brooks...

Other Books in the Series

Legends of Shannara (2 books)
  • The Measure of the Magic (Legends of Shannara, #2)
The Elfstones Of Shannara  (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #2) The Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #1) The Talismans Of Shannara (Heritage of Shannara #4) The Wishsong of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #3) Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #1)

Share This Book

“We are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and no amount of education gleaned from our propensity for self-destruction and misguided thinking ever teaches us anything. Not anything that we remember for more than a generation or two.

I think maybe we learn a few things each time that we don't forget. A few things that stick with us. It's just hard to pass those things on to those who come after us because if they didn't live through it, they don't view it the same way we do. If you don't experience something firsthand, it's a lot harder to accept. Terry Brooks, Bearers of the Black Staff, p 89”
“And yet it had come to this: a cult that followed a dogmatic hard line of exclusion and repression, believed its teachings alone were the way that others must follow, and claimed special knowledge of something that had happened more than five centuries ago. It did nothing to soften its rigid stance, nothing to heal wounds that it had helped to create by deliberately shunning people of other Races, and nothing to explore the possibility of other beliefs. It held its ground even in the face of hard evidence that perhaps it had misjudged and refused to consider that it was courting a danger that might destroy everyone. p96” 8 likes
More quotes…