Del Rey Books in association with Terry Brooks have decided to give the reins of the New York Times bestselling Shannara fantasy series to Shawn Speakman, longtime webmaster and friend of Brooks and a bestselling writer in his own right. The book deal is for a reported eight figures, one of the largest advances in the history of publishing, and involves Brooks retiring completely from the series that made him a prominent force in the fantasy genre.
“I am aging and I’m not happy about that,” Brooks said from his private jet zipping to London for an event at Forbidden Planet on April 3. “I have always said I plan on living forever. But the reality is, I need to be ready in case the inevitable happens. Shawn is my faithful Web Druid and knows my world better than anyone. Shannara will pass to him.”
Speakman is now under contract to write three Shannara novels and was given complete control of the series.
This is not unforeseen. In 2003, Terry Brooks and his wife Judine had dinner with Speakman in Seattle, WA. During that dinner, Judine made a quip about Speakman needing to become a writer to “keep the Brooks children in the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.” The joke was laughed at but not by Speakman. He immediately understood if he could harness the power of his own craft of writing, he could one day take up the mantle of Shannara and write the Four Lands as he sees fit.
Speakman immediately began work on his own novel, The Dark Thorn, a test a run of sorts to see if he could write a Word/Void/Shannara/Landover type of novel. It has been unbelievable successful with a five-star rating on Amazon and glowing reviews.
Brooks loved The Dark Thorn and knew his time as a writer was coming to an end.
When asked if he had any plans to change the work that Brooks has done over the years, Speakman was not silent on the subject:
“I plan on changing everything,” he said. “I will bring epic back to epic fantasy and Shannara specifically. The Four Lands have always had more potential than even Terry imagined. With this new Shannara novel, the first thing I plan on doing is changing the Druid Order at Paranor into a coven of witch-vampires who glitter in the sunlight. I also want to melt the Sword of Shannara down to scrap metal and use that metal to build a space ship. Truth in space? The ultimate hero’s journey quest to the stars? I like the sound of that! Sounds like awesome-sauce to me!”
When asked if that would anger fans, Speakman shook his head with fiery conviction in his eyes.
“Not a chance,” he said. “I know the fans. They trust me. I have even talked to Terry on a number of my changes and he’s all for them. I am taking the sets of Elfstones from Witch Wraith and placing them into a crown and giving it to the Dwarves. Oh, the Dwarves will be able to use the Elfstones now when only Elves could before. Guess I should change the Stones’ names to Dwarfstones now too, while I am at it. Yeah, that sounds better than a hunk of bread slathered in butter and an ale!”
The first Shannara novel Speakman will write is one he says the fans have been clamoring for the last few years.
“I want to start with Fifty Shades of Shannara,” Speakman opined, smoking a pipe and running fingers through his thick full head of hair. “EL James was on to something there and we have never seen sex in the Four Lands. I think it is time to make that happen and give the fans exactly what they have been asking for—George R. R. Martin-style!”
More on this as the news breaks!
Shawn Speakman is the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel featuring Richard McAllister, a homeless knight who finds himself embroiled in a long-running war between the Church and the fey Tuatha de Dannan. When Shawn isn’t writing, he maintains the websites for authors Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, and David Anthony Durham, as well as runs The Signed Page. Learn more at www.shawnspeakman.com! And yes, this article is in fact an April Fool’s Joke that undoubtedly will fool and anger more than a few! Get a sense of humor, people. Ha!