The Sword of Shannara
The Sword of Shannara is Terry Brooks' first novel, published in 1977 by Del Rey Fantasy publishing and consisting of 726 pages. After the success of the The Lord of the Rings, this fantasy novel was well received by the public, as few other fantasy novels had been published since The Lord of the Rings. Terry Brooks wrote it while in law school as a safety valve from the pressure of his studies; a way to 'keep his sanity'.
It starts out with Flick Ohmsford returning to his home of Shady Vale when he runs into Allanon, a dark and intimidating man who nearly kills him. After agreeing to have Allanon accompany him, Flick continues, but is nearly caught by an evil, flying creature known as a Skull Bearer. The two travel to Shady Vale, where Allanon stays for the night at an inn that is owned by Flick's father, Curzad Ohmsford. Before the mysterious Allanon goes to sleep, however, he tells Flick's half-elven half-brother, Shea, that his destiny is great. At first, Shea is bewildered, but in the morning, Allanon explains that hundreds of years ago, the elven king Jerle Shannara defeated the Warlock Lord Brona using the magical Sword of Shannara. But the Warlock Lord has returned, and it's up to the heir of Shannara to use the Sword once more to defeat him again. And Shea is the last surviving heir of Shannara, so he must be the one to slay the Warlock Lord, before the Skull Bearers, who are looking for him, catch him and kill him. At first Shea scoffs, and Allanon leaves, but several weeks later a borderman named Balinor stops in the inn to warn Shea to leave, under order of Allanon. Shea, accompanied by Flick, leave the vale that night as they discover that a Skull Bearer is looking for him in Shady Vale. The two leave and decide to head to the kingdom of Leah, where the prince, Menion, will aid Shea.