High fantasy series coming from American writer Terry Brooks, Shannara started in 1977 and ended in 2020, and is composed of more than 40 novels, short stories, and graphic novels. Set in the Four Lands, the Earth long after civilization was destroyed in a chemical and nuclear holocaust called the Great Wars, the Shannara blends magic and primitive technology.
In the beginning, as the world had reverted to a pre-industrial state and magic had re-emerged to supplement science, the brothers Shea and Flick Ohmsford have to retrieve the Sword of Shannara to defeat the Warlock Lord who threatens the Four Lands.
How to read the Shannara Series in Order?
You can find the chronological Reading Order for the Shannara series at the end of this article.
The Shannara Books in Publication in Order:
I. The Original Shannara Trilogy
- The Sword of Shannara – Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, the last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.
- The Elfstones of Shannara – Thousands of years after the destruction of the age of man and science, new races and magic now rule the world, but an imminent danger threatens. A horde of evil Demons is beginning to escape and bring death upon the land. Only Wil Ohmsford, the last of the Shannara bloodline, has the power to guard the Elven Princess Amberle on a perilous quest to save the world, while the leader of the Demon force aims to stop their mission at any cost.
- The Wishsong of Shannara – An ancient evil is stirring, intent on the destruction of all life. The Druid Allanon sets out on a dangerous journey to save the world, reluctantly aided by Brin Ohmsford, daughter of Wil Ohmsford-for she alone holds the magic power of the wishsong. But a prophecy foretells doom, as evil nurses its plan to trap the unsuspecting Brin into a fate far more horrible than death.
II. Heritage of Shannara Books in Order
- The Scions of Shannara – Since the death of the Druid Allanon, the Four Lands have changed profoundly, with magic strictly forbidden in the Southland, now under totalitarian rule. Yet Par still has some power of the Wishsong. When he accidentally brings a mythic horror to life, a man calling himself Cogline drives it away. Cogline brings a message from Allanon: venture to the dread Hadeshorn, along with the other Scions of Shannara. For in the future, all life in the Four Lands will be destroyed.
- The Druid of Shannara – Ancient evil forces remains in control of the Four Lands. To restore the Kepp of the Druid Allanon, Walker Boh sets out on a journey to find the black Elfstone. After narrowly escaping death, he learns that the Elfstone lies in the hands of the Stone King. Now Walker Boh must venture into perilous, unknown lands with a strange band of fellow travelers that includes Morgan Leah, whose once-magic sword has been broken; Quickening, the daughter of the ancient King; and Pe Ell, an assassin who hatches his own dark, sinister plot.
- The Elf Queen of Shannara – Wren Ohmsford, Scion of Shannara, came from the Westlands, where she lived the life of a Rover. Now she, like her kinsmen, Par and Walker Boh, has been called upon to help the shade of Allanon fight the totalitarian power of the Federation. She must find the Elves, who disappeared from their strongholds more than one hundred years ago . . .
- The Talismans of Shannara – The Shadowen still swarm over the Four Lands, poisoning everything with their dark magic. And their leader is determined to destroy all the Scions of Shannara. For Walker Boh, he dispatches the Four Horsemen. For Wren, he sends an untrue friend. And for Par, he devises the most terrible fate of all. With these traps cleverly laid, the charges given by the shade of the Druid Allanon are doomed to failure.
II bis. Prequel to the Original Shannara Trilogy
- First King of Shannara – Banished from Paranor because of his study of forbidden arcane arts, the Druid Bremen discovers that Brona, the evil Warlock Lord, and his dark forces are once again on the move, destroying everything in their path, and only a powerful weapon wielded by a united Four Lands can stop them.
III. Word & Void Books in Order
The Word & Void series precedes the action in Genesis of Shannara trilogy and serves as the very start of the Shannara saga.
- Running with the Demon – Sinnissippi Park, in Hopewell, Illinois, has long hidden a mysterious evil, locked away from humankind by powers greater than most could even imagine. But now the malevolent creatures that normally skulk in the shadows of the park grow bolder, and old secrets hint at a violent explosion.
- A Knight of the Word – Eight centuries ago the first Knight of the Word was commissioned to combat the demonic evil of the Void. Now that daunting legacy has passed to John Ross. Then, after decades of service to the Word, an unspeakable act of violence shatters John Ross’s weary faith. Haunted by guilt, he turns his back on his dread gift. But a fallen Knight makes a tempting prize for the Void, which could bend the Knight’s magic to its own evil ends.
- Angel Fire East – The birth of a gypsy morph, a rare and dangerous creature that could be an invaluable weapon in his fight against the Void, brings John Ross and Nest Freemark together again. As a firestorm of evil erupts, threatening to consume lives and shatter dreams, they have but a single chance to solve the mystery of the Gypsy morph-and their own profound connection.
IV. The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Books in Order
- Ilse Witch – When a half-drowned elf is found floating in the seas of the Blue Divide, an old mystery resurfaces. Thirty years ago, an elven prince led an expedition in search of a legendary magic said to be more powerful than any in the world. Of all those who set out on that ill-fated voyage, not one has ever returned. Until now. The rescued elf carries a map covered with mysterious symbols–and Walker Boh, the last of the Druids, has the skill to decipher them. But someone else understands the map’s significance: the Ilse Witch, a ruthless young woman who wields a magic as potent as his own. She will stop at nothing to possess the map–and the magic it leads to.
- Antrax – Brave explorers led by the last Druid, Walker Boh, traveled across unknown seas in search of an elusive magic. But now it seems that Walker and his team were lured there for sinister, unforeseen purposes. As the crew aboard the airship Jerle Shannara is being attacked by evil forces, the Druid’s protégé, Bek Rowe, and his companions are being pursued by the mysterious Ilse Witch.
- Morgawr – Harrowing confrontations with the merciless Ilse Witch and the monstrous Antrax have taken their toll on the intrepid heroes aboard the airship Jerle Shannara. But their darkest adversary now snaps at their heels, in the form of the Morgawr-feeder upon the souls of his enemies and centuries-old sorcerer of unimaginable might with a fleet of airships and a crew of walking dead men at his command.
V. High Druid of Shannara Books in Order
- Jarka Ruus – Twenty years have passed since Grianne Ohmsford denounced her former life as the dreaded Ilse Witch. Fulfilling the destiny predicted for her, she has established the Third Druid Council and dedicated herself to its goals of peace, harmony among the races, and defense of the Four Lands. But despite her devotion to the greater good as Ard Rhys, the High Druid of Paranor, Grianne still has bitter enemies. Even her few allies-chief among them her trusted servant Tagwen-know of the plots against her. But they could never anticipate the sudden, ominous disappearance of the Ard Rhys, in the dead of night and without a trace.
- Tanequil – Dark magic has opened a gateway to the Forbidding and trapped within it Grianne Ohmsford, rightful High Druid of Shannara. Rescuing Grianne will be merely the beginning of the effort to return the Four Lands to some semblance of peace. Only her young nephew, Penderrin, has any hope of returning her to power. But to breach the Forbidding and bring Grianne back to the natural world, Pen must find the fabled Tanequil . . . and the talisman it alone can provide.
- Straken – For reasons known only to himself, the King of the Silver River has charged young Penderrin Ohmsford, barely more than a boy, with the daunting task of rescuing his aunt, Grianne, Ard Rhys of the Druid order, from her forced exile in the terrifying dimension of all things damned: the Forbidding. With the noble dwarf Tagwen and the prodigal elven princess Khyber Elessedil by his side–and with the outcome of the bloody war between the Federation and the Free-born at stake–Pen has accepted his mission without question. But not without risk . . . or sacrifice.
VI. The Genesis of Shannara Books in Order
- Armageddon’s Children – In our world’s near future, civilization has fallen into terrifying chaos. Navigating the scarred landscape that once was America and guided by a powerful talisman, Logan Tom has sworn an oath to seek out a remarkable being born of magic and destined to lead the final fight against darkness. In time, Logan’s path will cross with others: Angel Perez, herself a survivor of death-dealing forces, and a makeshift family of refugees forced to survive among street gangs, mutants, and marauders. Common purpose will draw Logan and his allies together.
- The Elves of Cintra – Across the ruined landscape that is America, two pilgrims have been summoned to serve the embattled cause of good. Logan Tom has journeyed to desolate Seattle to protect a ragged band of street urchins and the being known as “the gypsy morph,” who is both mortal and magical, and destined to save mankind unless he is destroyed. Likewise, Angel Perez has her own quest, one that will take her from the wreckage of Los Angeles to a distant, secret place untouched by the horrors of the nationwide blight. But close behind these lone Knights of the Word swarm the ravening forces of the Void.
- The Gypsy Morph – 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.
VII. Legends of Shannara Books in Order
- Bearers of the Black Staff – The cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has now vanished. When Sider Ament, the only surviving descendant of the Knights of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, he fears the worst. And when expert Trackers find two of their own gruesomely killed, there can be no doubt: The once safe haven has been made vulnerable to whatever still lurks in the outside wasteland.
- The Measure of the Magic – As he lay dying, Sider Ament, bearer of the last black staff and protector of the valley, gave stewardship of the powerful talisman to the young Tracker Panterra Qu. Now the newly anointed Knight of the Word must take up the battle against evil wherever it threatens: from without, where an army of bloodthirsty Trolls is massing for invasion; and from within, where the Elf king of Arborlon has been murdered, his daughter stands accused, and a heinous conspiracy is poised to subjugate the kingdom.
VIII. Paladins of Shannara Books in Order
(eBook short story, prequel to The Sword of Shannara)
- Allanon’s Quest – The history is thus: The once-Druid Brona, seduced by his pursuit of dark magic, was forever transformed into the Warlock Lord-whose evil would be the downfall of the Four Lands and the death of the Races. Against him, the Elven King Jerle Shannara wielded the fabled sword that bore his surname and triumphed. Or so it was believed. But though the Dark Lord was driven out . . . he was not destroyed.
- The Weapon Master’s Choice – His extraordinary–and deadly–skills have earned Garet Jax renown and infamy as the man called the Weapons Master. Rootless, solitary, and endlessly sought after, he roams the Four Lands, loyal to none but himself . . . and whoever can afford his services as warrior, assassin, and avenger for hire. But Lyriana is unlike any who have come to him before: as beautiful as she is bold, as enigmatic as the distant city she is desperate to save, and possessed of an intangible, irresistible allure that entices even the hardened Garet Jax more than any amount of gold or silver ever could.
- The Black Irix – Shea Ohmsford has had quite enough of quests. A year after surviving a harrowing odyssey, he is still plagued by troubling memories and dreams. A mysterious trafficker in spells and potions provides a restorative nostrum for the stricken Shea . . . along with a warning: Shea will break his vow to never again leave Shady Vale. And then the potion-maker’s prophecy comes to pass.
IX. The Dark Legacy of Shannara Books in Order
These books take place 100 years after the events in the High Druid of Shannara trilogy.
- Wards of Faerie – Tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic conflict with proponents of science. The dwindling Druid order is threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones, which once warded the lands and kept evil at bay.
- Bloodfire Quest – The quest for the long-lost Elfstones has drawn the leader of the Druid order and her followers into the hellish dimension known as the Forbidding. Now the hunt for the powerful talismans that can save their world has become a series of great challenges: a desperate search for kidnapped comrades, a relentless battle against unspeakable predators, and a grim race to escape the Forbidding alive. But though freedom is closer than they know, it may come at a terrifying price.
- Witch Wraith – Young Elf Arling Elessedil possesses the enchanted means to close the breach and once more seal the denizens of the Forbidding in their prison. But when she falls into the hands of the powerful Federation’s diabolical Prime Minister, her efforts may be doomed. Only her determined sister, Aphen, who bears the Elfstones and commands their magic, has any hope of saving Arling from the hideous fate her captor has in store.
X. The Defenders of Shannara Books in Order
Set 100 years after the events in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. The three novels are loosely connected, stand-alone novels.
- The High Druid’s Blade – Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life–until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.
- The Darkling Child – After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected.
- The Sorcerer’s Daughter – The mysterious, magic-wielding Druid order has existed for long ages, battling any evil that threatens the Four Lands–and struggling to be understood and accepted by outsiders. But their hopes of building goodwill are dashed when a demon’s murderous rampage at a peace summit leaves their political opponents dead-casting new suspicions upon the Druids and forcing them to flee from enemies both mortal and monstrous.
XI. The Fall of Shannara Books in Order
A four-book series that will be the chronological ending of the entire Shannara series.
- The Black Elfstone – Across the Four Lands, peace has reigned for generations. But now, in the far north, an unknown enemy is massing. More troubling than the carnage is the strange and wondrous power wielded by the attackers-a breed of magic unfamiliar even to the Druid order. Fearing the worst, the High Druid dispatches a diplomatic party under the protection of the order’s sworn guardian, Dar Leah, to confront the mysterious, encroaching force and discover its purpose.
- The Skaar Invasion – The Four Lands are under siege. Wielding a magical ability virtually impossible to combat, mysterious invaders defeat the most fearsome Troll armies, then focus their savagery on the Druid order-and all hope seems lost. Eventually, the invaders reveal a more human face, but understanding their motives in no way mitigates the brutality of their actions.
- The Stiehl Assassin – The Skaar have arrived in the Four Lands, determined to stop at nothing less than all-out conquest. They badly need a new home, but peaceful coexistence is not a concept they have ever understood. An advance force under the command of the mercurial princess Ajin has already established a foothold, but now the full Skaar army is on the march-and woe betide any who stand in its way.
- The Last Druid – As the Four Lands reels under the Skaar invasion, our heroes must decide what they will risk to save the integrity of their home. Even as one group remains to defend the Four Lands, another is undertaking a perilous journey across the sea to the Skaar homeland, carrying with them a new piece of technology that could change the face of the world forever.
Reading the Shannara Books in Chronological Order:
- “Imaginary Friends” – collected in the anthology Unfettered.
- Running with the Demon
- A Knight of the Word
- Angel Fire East
- Warrior (novella)
- Armageddon’s Children
- The Elves of Cintra
- The Gypsy Morph
- Bearers of the Black Staff
- The Measure of the Magic
- First King of Shannara
- “Allanon’s Quest“
- The Sword of Shannara
- “The Black Irix“
- The Elfstones of Shannara
- “The Weapon Master’s Choice“
- The Wishsong of Shannara
- Indomitable (short story)
- The Dark Wraith of Shannara (Graphic Novel)
- The Scions of Shannara
- The Druid of Shannara
- The Elf Queen of Shannara
- The Talismans of Shannara
- The “Last Ride”
- Ilse Witch
- “Walker and the Shade of Allanon” – collected in the anthology Unfettered.
- Jarka Ruus
- Wards of Faerie
- Bloodfire Quest
- Witch Wraith
- The High Druid’s Blade
- The Darkling Child
- The Sorcerer’s Daughter
- The Black Elfstone
- The Skaar Invasion
- The Stiehl Assassin
- The Last Druid
If you like our article about the Shannara book series in order, don’t forget to bookmark it! And for more Fantasy books, you want to check out The Riftwar Cycle, The Sword of Truth, The Wheel of Time…