Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shelf Candy Saturday #79: The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This weekly feature
showcases beautiful book covers,
and provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
just click HERE.

This is my choice for this week!

(The Original Shannara Trilogy #1)
Trade Paperback, 726 pages
April, 1999
(first published in 1977)

Why do I love this cover?

I have always been a fantasy addict!   I love any novels dealing with magic, and creatures such as elves, dwarves, dragons, as well as beautiful, magical lands.  This cover instantly drew me in for all those reasons, as well as the obvious fact that there are references to other fantasy tales, such as the King Arthur legends, as well as Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.  Added to this is the cover's earthy, and, at the same time, unearthly, beauty.  The figures, as well as their surroundings, are very realistically depicted, and yet, the feeling of wonder is elicited through the fantastical nature of the scene.

The way light is handled in this illustration is nothing short of masterful, as well as magical.  The only illumination comes from the glowing sword anchored in the anvil.  It's a powerful light, which throws a gigantic shadow behind the central figure, as well as the one on the left.

The columns on each side frame the scene very nicely, as well.   However, I'm not sure if they are indeed columns, or part of an entryway into this hidden chamber.

There's an arch carved into the stone wall behind the central figure.  It's topped by a fiercely grinning stone mask, with horns on either side.  What this means, I don't know, but it contributes to the overall atmosphere of mystery in this scene.

Above the columns or entryway, an elaborately unfurling scroll bears the book's title, in appropriately medieval-looking letters.  This provides the final fantasy touch.

Since I own this wonderful book, I know exactly who the artists are -- the Hildebrandt brothers, renowned for their fantasy illustrations for many fantasy and science fiction authors, including the master himself, J.R.R. Tolkien.  Indeed, they've also illustrated LOTR calendars.

Tim and Greg Hildbebrandt were twin brothers, born in Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 1939.  Sadly, Tim died in June, 2006.  In 2010, his brother received the Chesley Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

Here's another beautiful image created by the brothers, related to the world of Shannara:

(From Wikipedia; qualifies as fair use

This book features the brothers' work
for the Tolkien novels:

Paperback, 152 pages
Dynamite Entertainment
October 16, 2012
Fantasy, Art


Online Links for the Brothers Hildebrandt

What do you think of my choice?
Leave me a comment
and let me know!


  1. I actually have this version of the book.

    It is indeed a great cover, I remember thinking so a very long time ago. I looked up the book on Amazon and must admit that I really like the new cover art too.

    You are making me think of authors that I read some time ago. I read this along with next two in the series back in the 1980s. I see that the series is still going, with the latest installment just released!

    1. Hey, Brian!

      I've had this book for years now, and haven't read it....OMG....

      I, too, have seen the new cover on Amazon, as well as Goodreads. I think I'll feature it in one of my future "Shelf Candy Saturday" posts, because I agree with you -- it's a great cover, too!

      Yes, I've just found out that this series is ongoing. Gotta catch up! Lol.

      Thanks for another nice comment!! : )


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