It's a shame that the title of Terry Brooks' impressive new saga is uncomfortably reminiscent of a highly infectious farmyard disease, as Brooks' imagination is in the rudest possible health. This five-book series has shown a reinvigoration of his immense skills in the fantasy genre, and has all the dash and energy of his earlier books (has he really been writing for 20 years?). Book Two has Walker, Boh and his motley band of elves, dwarves and men arriving at the mysterious city of Castledown. Their search for the ancient magic that Walker has located from a map is conducted in the airship Jerle Shannara, which takes the company from the Four Lands across islands where sinister eldritch forces lurk. But of all the dangers they encounter, Walker's nemesis, the Ilse Witch, is the most dangerous. The new Lord of the Rings film trilogy will hone appetites for such material to an even finer edge, and Brooks is the man to slake those appetites.