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The Tangle Box by Terry Brooks
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The Tangle Box (edition 1995)

by Terry Brooks

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Title:The Tangle Box
Authors:Terry Brooks
Info:Legend paperbacks (1995), Paperback, 352 pages
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The Tangle Box by Terry Brooks

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Showing 5 of 5
The Tangle Box was a very enjoyable book to read. The fourth in the Landover series, I have read the first one several times, but this is the only other one I've gotten to. Fortunately, it can stand on its own merits, so you needn't have read the preceding books, although I suspect it might have helped. It's a good book.

Ben Holiday, the king of Landover, discovers that he and his sylph wife, Willow, are going to have a baby and he's overjoyed, only to become disappointed when Willow tells him she must go on a solo journey for their baby's sake. And so off she goes, and her journey is a doozy. Meanwhile, Horris Kew and Biggar, exiles from Landover, are returned there from Earth by powerful magic, tricked by a magical evil fairy called the Gorse, who has escaped from the Tangle Box, a box of fairy mists one can never escape from without outside help, and which he uses to trap Ben, Strabo the dragon, and Nightshade the witch. A good part of this book tells of their travels through the gloom of the Tangle Box. In the meantime, Questor Thews and Abernathy are left to care for the kingdom, not knowing what has happened to Ben.

In the Tangle Box, everyone's worst fears are realized, and it's interesting to see the interrelationships of Ben, Strabo, and Nightshade, sworn enemies, as they no longer remember their previous lives and work together to try and escape whatever it is they're trapped in.

So Kew and Biggar help the Gorse as he seeks vengeance on Landover through an elaborate scheme to take over the kingdom before allowing it to be destroyed by demons Ben has battled before. Abernathy and Questor suspect, but seem powerless to intervene. Soon the whole kingdom is in uproar and has marched on the castle. Where is Ben? And what of Willow? She has traveled to Earth, on a mission from the Earth Mother, and back into the fairy mists. Her story nearly becomes a back story, though, and I think Brooks falters a little here. Until the birth of the baby, it seems to be an afterthought for much of the book.

I'm not going to give away the ending, but it's good to see Ben not have to resort to calling the Paladin to save everyone. The ending is abrupt, but satisfying, in my opinion, and leaves an opening for the next book in the series, which I intend to read soon. This book wasn't as good as the first, and there's a bit too much Tangle Box here for me to give it five stars, but it's a good four star effort and worth the read. Recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | May 15, 2014 |
MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
I love this series! It's simple reading but just the kind of easy escapism read you need sometimes. ( )
  willowcove | Feb 19, 2009 |
Summary: Ben Holiday and his once-fairy wife Willow are going to have a baby. Once again, a bad guy is tring to kick Ben off the thrown. This time, however, the bad guy also takes out The Witch Nightshade and the dragon Strabo. Willow can't save him, because she has a quest of her own -- to combine the dirt of three lands and bring the baby into the magical kingdom.

The Take-Away: I love how Brooks illuminates the differences of our world with Landover. Even something as magical as giving birth is made extraordinary. Neither Ben or I expected the method that Willow would be instructed to follow.

I also really liked Horris Kew. Yes, he's the bad guy that gets Ben into trouble, but really, he was just a pawn. What I like best about him is the reformation that takes place at the end. It left me yearning for his appearance in the next title -- did he actually change or are we fooled by him?

I'll be picking up the next title in the series.

Recommendation: Starting this series at the beginning the best way to go. Fortunately, several titles are available for your reading pleasure. ( )
  slpenney07 | Jan 31, 2008 |
Terry Brooks delivers a story here that is typical of Brooks' writing. Interesting concept keeps the reader on the edge of his seat, but in the end, the story gets wrapped up in a nice neat package. In this case, the book ended rather quickly. ( )
  Wiszard | Dec 12, 2007 |
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Epigraph
"One evening coming in with a candle I was startled to hear him say a little tremulously, 'I am lying here in the dark waiting for death.' The light was within a foot of his eyes. I forced myself to murmur, 'Oh, nonsense!' and stood over him as if transfixed.

"Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn't touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror--of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision--he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath:

"'The horror! The horror!'"

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Dedication
For Chris, Denny, Gene, Phil, Scott, Stuart,
and somewhere out there, Larry.

Old friends who knew me when
and left me the better for it.
First words
Horris Kew might have been a Disney artist's rendering of Ichabod Crane.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345387007, Mass Market Paperback)

OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB...
Everything should have been quiet and pleasant for Ben Holiday, the former Chicago lawyer who became sovereign of the Magic Kingdom of Landover. But it wasn't.
Horris Kew, conjurer, confidence-man, and trickster, had returned to Landover from Ben's own world. Alas, Horris had not returned of his own volition--he had been sent by the Gorse, a sorcerer of great evil, whom Horris had unwittingly freed from the magic Tangle Box, where it had long ago been imprisoned by the fairy folk. Now it had returned to enslave those who had once dared condemn it. But first, it would rid Landover of all who could stand in its way...
Soon Ben found himself imprisoned within the gloom of the Tangle Box, lost in its mists and its labyrinthine ways. The only one who could free Ben from the Tangle Box was the lady Willow. But she had disappeared, was gone from Landover on a mysterious mission of her own....

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

This humorous fantasy concerns Ben Holiday, sovereign of the magic kingdom of Landover, & some exiled sorcerers seeking revenge upon the fairy folk. Everything should have been quiet and pleasant for Ben Holiday, the former Chicago lawyer who became sovereign of the Magic Kingdom of Landover. But it wasn't. Horris Kew, conjurer, confidence-man, and trickster, had returned to Landover from Ben's own world. Alas, Horris had not returned of his own volition--he had been sent by the Gorse, a sorcerer of great evil, whom Horris had unwittingly freed from the magic Tangle Box, where it had long ago been imprisoned by the fairy folk. Now it had returned to enslave those who had once dared condemn it. But first, it would rid Landover of all who could stand in its way... Soon Ben found himself imprisoned within the gloom of the Tangle Box, lost in its mists and its labyrinthine ways. The only one who could free Ben from the Tangle Box was the lady Willow. But she had disappeared, was gone from Landover on a mysterious mission of her own.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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