The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara is a three book installment in Terry Brooks's best-selling Shannara series. It concerns itself with a voyage of discovery made by the Elven airship, the Jerle Shannara.The first book, Ilse Witch opens when a man washes up on a beach. He is revealed to be the only survivor of a voyage across the Blue Divide, and a member of the ruling Elven Elessedil family to boot. His memories reveal information about supposedly lost books of magic, and old world sciences. Seeing in this a way to benefit all the races, the Druid Walker strikes a deal with the current Elven King, and gathers a crew to sail across the Blue Divide and retrieve the books. The airship is the Jerle Shannara, captained by Rover mercenary Redden Alt Mer and his sister, Rue Meridian, and the crew includes Panax the Dwarf, Highland Prince Quentin Leah and his cousin Bek Rowe, seer Ryer Ord Star, Elven Prince Ahren Elessedil, enigmatic Shape Shifter Truls Rohk, and a complement of Elven Hunters under the command of former Home Guard Captain, Ard Patrinell.The ship stops on three islands along the way, retrieving the keys that will allow them into the fortress of Castledown where the books are concealed, and battling threats like giant eels, living plants, and a haunted castle. Unfortunately, Walker's Arch-Enemy, the Ilse Witch, is in hot pursuit, aboard the Federation ship Black Moclips, with a crew of bloodthirsty Mwellrets under the command of Cree Bega. Determined to claim the books for herself and kill Walker for supposedly murdering her family, she dogs the protagonists every step of the way.In Antrax both Walker and the Ilse Witch's crews find themselves hunted through Castledown by a psychopathic computer system named Antrax. Programmed to guard the books from any outside interference, Antrax pursues both crews with equal ferocity, sending lasers, Killer Robots, and UndeadCyborgs to kill them. Bek having discovered that he is an Ohmsford, spends most of the book trying to find and save his sister Grianne, even as Walker, Quentin, Ahren and the others do everything in their power to simply stay alive.As the book reaches its climax, Walker and Ahren destroy Antrax, while Quentin and Elven Hunter Tamis eliminate its most dangerous servant, which was formerly one of their allies. In the end, Walker is confronted by the Ilse Witch, and uses the power of the Sword Of Shannara to reveal the truth about her past to her.As Morgawr begins, the Ilse Witch is in a coma, the books of magic have been revealed to be a dead end, and the broken, battered crew of The Jerle Shannara just want to get off the island. But even as they struggle to rebuild their ship, and rescue their flight crystals the Crake rainforest, a new threat approaches in the form of the Ilse Witch's former mentor, The Morgawr. Introduced in the first book, but not seen since, The Morgawr believes the Ilse Witch has betrayed him, and arrives with the intent of eliminating both her, and Walker's allies. With most of their number dead, and no magic with which to confront him, it appears as though time may be up for the crew of The Jerle Shannara...Considerably darker, and on a much smaller scale than both The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, and The Heritage of Shannara. The character sheet can be found hereTropes found in this series include...
Alas, Poor Villain: In a way, Antrax. It was never malicious, just following its programming as best it could. Its death, as its systems shut down and it tries desperately to figure out what is happening to it, slowly losing functionality, and even knowledge of who it is, is rather sad.
Bastard Understudy: The Ilse Witch to The Morgawr, and both of them know it. It forms a big part of the plot and their individual interactions.
Big Bad: The Ilse Witch, Antrax, and The Morgawr all compete for this title, and each one is definitely the main antagonist of their respective novel. The Morgawr is closest in a story sense though.
Big Bad Duumvirate: The Ilse Witch and The Morgawr, with both of them trying constantly to assert their authority upon the other.
Big Bad Ensemble: The Ilse Witch wants revenge on Walker. Antrax wants to fulfill its programming by protecting its knowledge from intruders. The Morgawr wants the books of magic and the ability to abuse his power limitlessly. Needless to say, they really get in one another's way at times.
Big Bad Wannabe: The Ilse Witch, who just isn't up to the standards of Antrax and The Morgawr in power or ruthlessness. While undeniably dangerous, she's effectively sidelined in Antrax, is a puppet of The Morgawr, and in their final confrontation after her Heel-Face Turn, proves to be less than his match in combat.
Blessed with Suck: Bek, Quentin, Ahren, and The Ilse Witch. The first three have magic, but it only makes them targets for Antrax, who wants to feed off their power; moreover it got them hauled along on this adventure in the first place and into the psychological torture that followed. As for the latter, her powers are why The Morgawr came for her in the first place. And then there's Ryer Ord Star, whose empathic abilities get her bonded to Walker, and saddled with all his inner pain.
Body Horror: Truls Rohk. About half his body is constantly shape-shifting. Half...isn't.
Born Lucky: Redden Alt Mer, known in-series as "the man with the luck." No matter how awful things are going, fortune always seems to favour Big Red.
Deal with the Devil: Sen Dunsidan, War Minister and then President of The Federation's Coalition Council, makes several; first with the Ilse Witch and then with The Morgawr. Witnessing the latter's horrors essentially costs him his soul.
The Dragon: Cree Bega is the closest that the Morgawr has in story terms, being the toughest of the Mwellrets and his Number Two. Antrax has the Patrinellwronk.
Driven to Suicide: Ryer Ord Star, following capture and torture by The Morgawr and Cree Bega. The turnkey from the opening of Morgawr also kills himself after bearing witness to the titular character's atrocities.
Even Evil Has Standards: The Morgawr tends to cause this reaction in others. Sen Dunsidan and the turnkey are horrified by what they see him do, and even the Ilse Witch finds him repulsive. Cree Bega engenders a similar reaction in her.
Hollywood Cyborg: Antrax's wronks, which consist of mechanical bodies with human minds and limbs bonded onto them for skills and muscle memory. It should be noted that the human mind is still very aware of what is happening to it; it just can't do anything about it.
We Are Not Going Through That Again: Implied. Quentin and Ahren in particular state that they just want to forget what happened on the Voyage and, in the former's case, never plan to leave home again.
Bek and Ahren didn't really Jump at the Call. Bek was more like "eh, i've really got nothing better to do," while Ahren was just going because his brother effectively made him go. Quentin was the only one on the voyage who seemed really energetic and eager, at least initially.
Karma Houdini: Subverted. Sen Dunsidan looks like one (aside from the whole, "never sleeping again" thing). Then High Druid roles around and he get eaten by the Moric.
Killed Off for Real: Furl Hawken, Ard Patrinell, Tamis, Walker, Truls Rohk (although a part of him is supposedly still alive), Ryer Ord Star, Kian, Cree Bega, The Morgawr. Good riddance to those last two.
Knife Fight: Between Cree Bega and Ahren. It's awesome.
Knight Templar: Antrax. Its job was to safeguard its information, and survive at all costs. It's interpreted this to mean: "lure humans in, kidnap the ones with magic, drain them in order to keep the capacitors running, and kill everyone else".
Lizard Folk: The Mwellrets play a major role in this series, providing the physical muscle for both The Morgawr and The Ilse Witch.
The Magic Versus Technology War: Invoked by the conflict between the party and Antrax. Both are portrayed as being extremely dangerous, although the heroes are at a disadvantage due to their limited understanding of Antrax's abilities. The computer's actual defeat is due less to underestimating magic, and more to underestimating people.
Magitek: Antrax's need for magical fuel to run its burnt out capacitors is the reason the entire story happens in the first place.
Mercy Kill: Quentin Leah and Tamis spend most of Antrax trying to perform one for Ard Patrinell, who has been transformed into one of Antrax's killing machines, despite remaining fully conscious and horrified by what he's doing.
Primal Fear: The Graak. It's a lost dinosaur that manages to be utterly terrifying in-series and out. It actually frightens Redden Alt Mer into a Heroic BSOD, kills several members of the company, and nearly takes Quentin Leah with it when it dies.
Savage Wolves: The caulls, which were reshaped by The Ilse Witch and The Morgawr into twisted Super Persistent Predators modelled on the Jachyras. The one the Ilse Witch creates is especially bad and continues to mutate long after she is done with it, eventually coming after her in revenge for what was done to it. It's powerful enough to kill Truls Rohk.
Self-Made Orphan: Truls Rohk killed his father after the man murdered his mother.
Shaggy Dog Story: The books of magic and science are revealed to have been computer discs, unusable by anyone with the series's current technology levels. Admittedly, Antrax is destroyed, and Grianne pulls a Heel-Face Turn, but was it really worth all that?
Shell-Shocked Veteran: The turnkey from the opening chapters of Morgawr is a hulking ex-soldier who did seven-turns of duty on the frontlines in the Federation/Free-born war. He's now a mute, almost mindless freak described as "scarred inside and out" who works as jailer, warden, and Torture Technician in the Federation prisons. Even he can't take what he sees The Morgawr and Sen Dunsidan do.
Slave Mooks: The Morgawr's airships are crewed by braindead, mind-controlled Federation sailors and soldiers, whose souls he has consumed.