Title: The Sword of Shannara
Author(s): Terry Brooks
Short Summary: Well, I can't remember all much, but I know that the entire series was just amazing, fantastic, wonderful, any other word I can think of... The Sword of Shannara's events take place 2000 years after an apocalypse has occurred: nuclear holocaust has wiped out most of the planet. During this time, Mankind mutated into several distinct races: Men, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Trolls, all named after creatures from age-old myths. Also, the Elves begin to emerge after having been in seclusion and hiding for centuries. The warring that caused the holocaust is referred to as the Great Wars throughout the novel. These wars rearranged the planet's geographical attributes and wiped out most life forms on Earth. As a result of the Great Wars, most advanced technology has been lost, thus most of the events in the Shannara series take place in a medieval setting. However, magic is also back into the world, rediscovered after the loss of technology.
Personal Opinion: I think every last book in this series topped ever other book I've ever read... The characters were well developed, if not a little Lord of the Rings-y, and the writing was superb.