''First King of Shannara'' is a prequel to Creator/TerryBrooks' bestselling ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' series. It deals with the Second War of the Races, telling the story of the rebel Druid Brona's second attempt at conquering the Four Lands, and how he was opposed by Bremen, and Jerle Shannara. A single volume, it provides much of the BackStory for ''Literature/TheSwordOfShannara'' and its sequels, while introducing us to Bremen, Jerle, and many other posthumous characters previously known only from Allanon's narrations.

When the book begins, the outcast Druid, Bremen, returns to the Druid's Keep at Paranor, attempting to warn them that Brona is back, has transformed into the [[SorcerousOverlord Warlock Lord]], and is bent on conquering the world. He is accused of plotting to take control of the Druids, and laughed out of the Keep. Taking his allies Risca, and Tay Treffynwyd with him, and later joined by apprentice Druid Mareth, Bremen leaves, intent on stopping the Warlock Lord through some other means. Shortly afterwards, Brona raids Paranor and has it wiped out to the last Druid.

Bremen and his allies split up. Tay Treffynwyd journeys to the Westland, with instructions to warn the Elven King, and find the [[ArtifactOfDoom Black Elfstone]] before Brona can. Finding the entire Elven royal family slaughtered, he teams with the last survivor, his old friend Jerle, and sets off to find the stone. Risca, sets out on his own to warn the Dwarves, and provide them with what help he can.

Bremen, of course, has the most difficult and iconic task of all. With the help of a master blacksmith he must forge a weapon capable of defeating Brona for good. This weapon will be wielded by the Elven King, Jerle, and will give hope and strength to all of the Races. It will be, of course, The Sword of Shannara...
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'''Tropes found in this book include:'''
* ActionGirl: Mareth tries, she really does.
* AndIMustScream: The fate of the Druids whom Brona and the Skull Bearers [[BuriedAlive seal up in the walls of Paranor's basements]].
* ArtifactOfDoom: Remember the Black Elfstone from ''Literature/TheHeritageOfShannara''? The one that can negate magic and absorb it into its user? Well, [[BigBad Brona]] wants it.
* {{Badass}}: [[MagicKnight Risca]], [[BadassGrandpa Bremen]], [[BadassNormal Kinson Ravenlock]], Jerle Shannara.
** BadassBeard: Risca, Bremen.
** BadassGrandpa: Bremen
** BadassNormal: Kinson.
* BecomingTheMask: Tay and Bremen both have to be careful of this when impersonating the villains. The disguise requires them to submerge themselves in their own worst desires and emotions, leading to an effective, but traumatic and possibly dangerous transformation.
* TheBigBad: The Warlock Lord, naturally.
* TheBlacksmith: Uprox Screl, who forges Old World steel and Druid magic in the freakin' Sword of Shannara, all without having any magical powers of his own. That's kind of BadAss actually. He later changes his last name to [[spoiler: Creel]].
* CassandraTruth: Bremen flat out tells the Druid Council that Brona is coming. He's belittled, ignored, and laughed at. Guess how well that turned out for them.
* CreepyChild: He's not so much creepy as he is unnerving, but let's just say there's something very off about the young Allanon.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Tay
* DoomedByCanon/ [[YouCantThwartStageOne You Can't Thwart Stage One]]: We know Jerle will fail to destroy Brona. Why? Because this is a prequel and he's the BigBad in ''Sword''. We also know that despite Bremen's warnings, all the Druids at Paranor will die (as will the Druids' personal guard) because Allanon is the last Druid in ''Sword'', and Bremen was in {{Backstory}}.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Tay]] after using the Black Elfstone to kill a group of Skull Bearers and absorb all their insidious magic.
* GardenOfEvil: The forest in the Chew Magna is alive, angry, and obsessed with protecting the Black Elfstone.
* GeniusLoci: The fortress of the Chew Magna, where the Black Elfstone is kept.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Tay kills himself after using the Black Elfstone, thus preventing the magic from subverting him.]]
* IgnoredExpert: Bremen.
* InTheBlood: Played with with Mareth, whose father was likely [[spoiler:a servant of the Warlock Lord]].
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler: the Elven Royal family, the High Druid, the librarian, all of Paranor, Tay, Risca, Bremen (on the last page admittedly)]].
* LastOfHisKind: Jerle, thanks to the Warlock Lord's attack on the royal family.
* LoveTriangle: A fairly straightforward one: Tay [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend loves]] Preia who [[VictoriousChildhoodFriend loves]] Jerle.
* LukeYouAreMyFather --> LukeIAmYourFather: Mareth believes that [[spoiler: Bremen]] is her father at first. Later [[spoiler: a Skull Bearer]] claims to be her father in an attempt at subverting her. Probably truthfully.
* MagicKnight: This book introduces Risca, and the idea of a Warrior Druid. Proficent in physical combat, they channel their magic through their weapons. Risca is the last one left, as the practise is considered gauche.
* TheMentor: Bremen is this to Risca, Tay, Jerle, and Allanon in turn. What makes it interesting is that he's the main character.
* ParentalAbandonment: Mareth, Allanon.
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves: The three Druids who let the Skull Bearers into Paranor are promptly transformed into hideous monsters.
* ShapeShifter: Mareth's father. [[spoiler: He's actually a Skull Bearer in disguise]].
* SorcerousOverlord: Brona retains this position.
* TooDumbToLive: The Druid Council.
* {{Turncoat}}: Three treacherous Druids allow Brona into Paranor, hoping to be rewarded with immortality and power.
* TwoGuysAndAGirl: Tay, Jerle, and Preia Starle. Jerle got the girl, Tay did not.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: Tay, Mareth's father, Bremen in the BackStory.
* WasItReallyWorthIt: Jerle asks this about the quest for the Black Elfstone. Bremen says yes. Jerle's not so sure.
* WasOnceAMan: Brona, the Skull Bearers, the traitor Druids, and the living forest of the Chew Magna were humans once upon a time. The Ildatch corrupted the first two, the traitors were changed by Brona himself, and the denizens of the Chew Magna mutated and [[WhenTreesAttack took root]] through their obsession with the Black Elfstone.
* WhenTreesAttack: The garden of the Chew Magna.
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