Bearers of the Black Staff is the first half of Terry Brooks' Legends of Shannara duology. It recounts the events that take place five hundred years after the end of the Great Wars.

Plot Summary

Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war that tore apart the United States, leaving nothing but scorched and poisoned ruins, and nearly exterminating humankind. Those who escaped the carnage and blight were led to sanctuary by the boy savior known as the Hawk—the gypsy morph. In an idyllic valley, its borders warded by powerful magic against the horrors beyond, humans, Elves, and mutants alike found a place they believed would be their home forever.

Over the centuries, Angel Perez's black staff has been passed down from bearer to bearer, dow to Sider Ament. As the only surviving bearer of the black staff, Ament is the only surviving descendant of the Knights of the Word. He is charged with watching the passes into the valley and watching out for the residents of the valley.

After five centuries, the unimaginable has come to pass: The cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has vanished. One morning Sider detects the tracks of unknown predators stalking the valley. The presence of these predators from the wasteland of the outside world causes Ament to fears the worst.

Two young trackers from the human village of Glensk Wood, Panterra Qu and Prue Liss, also find the trail left by the large unknown predators. The trail leads the pair to find two of their own gruesomely killed.

Together, Ament and the two young trackers have to explore the dangers of the outside world and spread the bad news to the people in the valley. But suspicion and hostility among their countrymen threaten to doom their efforts from within. Especially resistant to the news are the Children of Hawk, a powerful group of people who have been following a strict dogma for five hundred years.

Panterra and Prue eventually flee their home in fear of Skeale Eile, leader of the Children. They go to the Wlves to spread word of the encroaching danger and to enlist the help of Tasha and Tenerife Orullian, cousins of the King. Help is also offered by the daring Elf princess, Phryne Amarantyne.

Panterra, Prue, and Phryne race to spread word of the encroaching danger and spearhead plans to defend their ancestral home. But they are racing against time and a ruthless army of Trolls massed at the valley borders for invasion. And in the thick of it all, Sider Ament must find a successor to carry the black staff into battle against the enchroaching threats.


  • Sider Ament
  • Panterra Qu
  • Prue Liss
  • Phryne Amarantyne
  • Tasha Orullian
  • Tenerife Orullian
  • Aislinne Kray
  • Pogue Kray
  • Skeale Eile
  • Mistral Belloruus