River is a member of the Ghosts street kids family. Just twelve years old and a young girl with a big heart, measured consideration and complex thought.
River is described as a small dark-haired twelve-year-old with big eyes and a bigger heart. Originally Hawk thought her weak and indecisive, not wanting her to stay as see seemed easy prey to other more dangerous things on the street. Quickly he discovered that what appeared weakness was in fact a measured consideration and complex thought. River did not act or speak in haste. Owl had told him 'She's like a deep river, filled with secrets.' and so Hawk had named her accordingly. 
Physically she is described as:
|“||A quiet, introverted girl with a waif's big eyes and skinny, gawky body that she found embrassing.||„|
-- Armageddon's Children (2006), pp. 47
Origin and History
River initially tells the members of the ghosts that she came to Seattle down the Duwamish on a skiff, the sole survivor of a plague that had killed everyone else aboard. Sparrow had found River foraging for food down by the piers and brought her home to the nest.
Later due to circumstance she divulges more of the truth to Hawk.
She was largely raised by her grandfather, with her brothers ignoring her, her mother was in a strange distant place mentally that no one but her could visit, and her father had up and left the family one day when River was three years old. She lived with her family and in a small woodlands community north of the big Washington State cities, out on the Olympic Peninsula where it was still heavily forested.
One day, when she was nine years old, a red haze passed overhead in the community and her grandfather told her not to eat or drink anything. Others in the community did and all who did soon got sick and died. Her grandfather counciled leaving to find another place to live. None in the community would listen until all but fifty of them had died from the plague. They built four rafts to ferry themselves down the waters of Puget Sound in search of a new place to live and set off in good weather. Shortly after setting off two of the rafts where lost, one to a storm and one to plague. Two nights afterward River's grandfather woke her up and they slipped off in the night.
Five days into their journey, River's grandfather came down with plague. River did her best to administer and care for grandfather. After four weeks he was miraculously able to recover but he was never the same, speaking about the weather and singing ditties and talked in odd rhymes. They reached the shores of the Puget Sound and walked till they found a row boat. Her grandfather put her in and set off toward the old city of Seattle. After reaching the city her grandfather lost interesting in continuing on to find a place to live. They lived out of derelict buildings on the waterfront, scavenging supplies and foraging for food.
One day her grandfather went out and did not come back. She waited a week for his return but there was no sign of him. In desperation, she set out to find him. After ten days of looking Sparrow found her and brought her home to live with the Ghosts.
Genesis of Shannara
River appears in all three novels, journeying with the Ghosts.