Running with the Demon (The Word and the Void Series #1)

Running with the Demon (The Word and the Void Series #1)

by Terry Brooks

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - REPRINT)

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In a sleepy steel-mill town, the ultimate battle between Good and Evil is about to begin . . .

Sinnissippi Park, in Hopewell, Illinois, has long hidden a mysterious evil, locked away from humankind by powers greater than most could even imagine. But now the malevolent creatures that normally skulk in the shadows of the park grow bolder, and old secrets hint at a violent explosion.

The brewing conflict draws John Ross to Hopewell. A Knight of the Word, Ross is plagued by nightmares that tell him someone evil is coming to unleash an ancient horror upon the world. Caught between them is fourteen-year-old Nest Freemark, who senses that something is terribly wrong but has not yet learned to wield the budding power that sets her apart from her friends.

Now the future of humanity depends upon a man haunted by his dreams and a gifted young girl—two souls who will discover what survives when hope and innocence are shattered forever . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345422583
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/1998
Series: Word and the Void Series , #1
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 85,197
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.89(h) x 1.16(d)
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.


Pacific Northwest and Hawaii

Date of Birth:

January 8, 1944

Place of Birth:

Sterling, Illinois


B.A. in English, Hamilton College, 1966; J.D., Washington and Lee University

Read an Excerpt

"Hssst! Nest!"

His voice cut through the cottony layers of her sleep with the sharpness of a cat's claw. Her head jerked off the pillow and her sleep-fogged eyes snapped open.


"Wake up, girl!" The sylvan's voice squeaked with urgency. "The feeders are at it again! I need you!"

Nest Freemark pushed the sheet away and forced herself into an upright position, legs dangling off the side of the bed. The night air was hot and sticky in spite of the efforts of the big floor fan that sat just inside her doorway. She rubbed at her eyes to clear them and swallowed against the dryness in her throat. Outside, she could hear the steady buzz of the locusts in the trees.

"Who is it this time?" she asked, yawning.

"The little Scott girl."

"Bennett?" Oh, God! She was fully awake now. "What happened?"

Pick was standing on the window ledge just outside the screen, silhouetted in the moonlight. He might be only six inches tall from the tips of his twiggy feet to the peak of his leafy head, but she could read the disgust in his gnarled wooden features as clearly as if he were six feet.

"The mother's out with her worthless boyfriend again, shutting down bars. That boy you fancy, young Jared, was left in charge of the other kids, but he had one of his attacks. Bennett was still up—you know how she is when her mother's not there, though goodness knows why. She became scared and wandered off. By the time the boy recovered, she was gone. Now the feeders have her. Do you need this in writing or are you going to get dressed and come help?"

Nest jumped out of the bed without answering, slipped off her nightshirt, and pulled on her Grunge Lives T-shirt, running shorts, socks, and tennis shoes. Her face peeked out at her from the dresser mirror: roundish with a wide forehead and broad cheekbones, pug nose with a scattering of freckles, green eyes that tended to squint, a mouth that quirked upward at the corners as if to suggest perpetual amusement, and a complexion that was starting to break out. Passably attractive, but no stunner. Pick was pacing back and forth on the sill. He looked like twigs and leaves bound together into a child's tiny stick man. His hands were making nervous gestures, the same ones they always made when he was agitated—pulling at his silky moss beard and slapping at his bark-encrusted thighs. He couldn't help himself. He was like one of those cartoon characters that charges around running into walls. He claimed he was a hundred and fifty, but for being as old as he was, it didn't seem he had learned very much about staying calm.

She arranged a few pillows under the sheet to give the impression that she was still in the bed, sleeping. The ruse would work if no one looked too closely. She glanced at the clock. It was two in the morning, but her grandparents no longer slept soundly and were apt to be up at all hours of the night, poking about. She glanced at the open door and sighed. There was no help for it.

She nudged the screen through the window and climbed out after it. Her bedroom was on the first floor, so slipping away unnoticed was easy. In the summer anyway, she amended, when it was warm and the windows were all open. In the winter, she had to find her coat and go down the hallway and out the back door, which was a bit more chancy. But she had gotten pretty good at it.

"Where is she?" she asked Pick, holding out her hand, palm up, so he could step into it.

"Headed for the cliffs, last I saw." He moved off the sill gingerly. "Daniel's tracking her, but we'd better hurry."

Nest placed Pick on her shoulder where he could get a firm grip on her T-shirt, fitted the screen back in place, and took off at a run. She sped across the back lawn toward the hedgerow that bordered the park, the Midwest night air whipping across her face, fresh and welcoming after the stale closeness of her bedroom. She passed beneath the canopies of solitary oaks and hickories that shaded the yard, their great limbs branching and dividing overhead in intricate patterns, their leaves reflecting dully in the mix of light from moon and stars. The skies were clear and the world still as she ran, the houses about her dark and silent, the people asleep. She found the gap in the hedgerow on the first try, ducked to clear the low opening, and was through.

Ahead, Sinnissippi Park opened before her, softball diamonds and picnic areas bright with moonlight, woods and burial grounds laced with shadows.

She angled right, toward the roadway that led into the park, settling into a smooth, even pace. She was a strong runner, a natural athlete. Her cross-country coach said she was the best he had ever seen, although in the same breath he said she needed to develop better training habits. At five feet eight inches and a hundred twenty pounds, she was lean and rangy and tough as nails. She didn't know why she was that way; certainly she had never worked at it. She had always been agile, though, even when she was twelve and her friends were bumping into coffee tables and tripping over their own feet, all of them trying to figure out what their bodies were going to do next. (Now they were fourteen, and they pretty much knew.) Nest was blessed with a runner's body, and it was clear from her efforts the past spring that her talent was prodigious. She had already broken every cross-country record in the state of Illinois for girls fourteen and under. She had done that when she was thirteen. But five weeks ago she had e ntered the Rock River Invitational against runners eighteen and under, girls and boys. She had swept the field in the ten-thousand-meter race, posting a time that shattered the state high school record by almost three minutes. Everyone had begun to look at her a little differently after that.

Of course, they had been looking at Nest Freemark differently for one reason or another for most of her life, so she was less impressed by the attention now than she might have been earlier.

Just think, she reflected ruefully, how they would look at me if I told them about Pick. Or about the magic.

She crossed the ball diamond closest to her house, reached the park entrance, and swept past the crossbar that was lowered to block the road after sunset. She felt rested and strong; her breathing was smooth and her heartbeat steady. She followed the pavement for a short distance, then turned onto the grassy picnic area that led to the Sinnissippi burial mounds and the cliffs. She could see the lights of the Sinnissippi Townhomes off to the right, low-income housing with a fancy name. That was where the Scotts lived. Enid Scott was a single mother with five kids, very few life options, and a drinking problem. Nest didn't think much of her; nobody did. But Jared was a sweetheart, her friend since grade school, and Bennett, at five the youngest of the Scott children, was a peanut who deserved a lot better than she had been getting of late.

Nest scanned the darkness ahead for some sign of the little girl, but there was nothing to see. She looked for Wraith as well, but there was no sign of him either. Just thinking of Wraith sent a shiver down her spine. The park stretched away before her, vast, silent, and empty of movement. She picked up her pace, the urgency of Bennett's situation spurring her on. Pick rode easily on her shoulder, attached in the manner of a clamp, arms and legs locked on her sleeve. He was still muttering to himself, that annoyingly incessant chatter in which he indulged ad nauseam in times of stress. But Nest let him be. Pick had a lot of responsibility to exercise, and it was not being made any easier by the increasingly bold behavior of the feeders. It was bad enough that they occupied the caves below the cliffs in ever-expanding numbers, their population grown so large that it was no longer possible to take an accurate count. But where before they had confined their activities to nighttime appearances in the park, now al l of a sudden they were starting to surface everywhere in Hopewell, sometimes even in daylight. It was all due to a shifting in the balance of things, Pick advised. And if the balance was not righted, soon the feeders would be everywhere. Then what was he supposed to do?

The trees ahead thickened, trunks tightening in a dark wall, limbs closing out the night sky. Nest angled through the maze, her eyes adjusting to the change in light, seeing everything, picking out all the details. She dodged through a series of park toys, spring-mounted rides for the smallest children, jumped a low chain divider, and raced back across the roadway and into the burial mounds. There was still no sign of Bennett Scott. The air was cooler here, rising off the Rock River where it flowed west below the cliffs in a broad swath toward the Mississippi. In the distance, a freight train wailed as it made its way east through the farmland. The summer night was thick with heat, and the whistle seemed muted and lost. It died away slowly, and in the ensuing silence the sounds of the insects resurfaced, a steady, insistent hum.

Nest caught sight of Daniel then, a dark shadow as he swooped down from the trees just long enough to catch her attention before wheeling away again.

"There, girl!" Pick shouted needlessly in her ear.

She raced in pursuit of the barn owl, following his lead, heading for the cliffs. She ran through the burial mounds, low, grassy hummocks clustered at the edge of the roadway. Ahead, the road ended in a turnaround at the park's highest point. That was where she would find Bennett.

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Running with the Demon (Word and The Void Trilogy Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 128 reviews.
ApalmNapalm8 More than 1 year ago
This first book in the "Word and the Void" Trilogy is a fabulous introduction to the characters and setting of the series. The trilogy begins a long and exciting journey into the Realm of Shannara and I've enjoyed reading how it all began.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had read the second and third books before this one and thought they were both good. This book actullay surprised me at how much better it was fom its seqals. This book was more descriptive of the charaters and the environment. The storyline was a lot better too. The action in the book was more fast paced and rememerable. The insight to the characters is awesome. I recomend this book and its seqals to any who likes fantasy novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Running with the Demon is a work of art. Mr. Brooks starts out a new fantasy series with a twist. Set in current times, the book gives the reader one more way to relate to it. With settings in towns and cities in the US, it makes the reader feel part of the story even more. And suspense throught the novel is to die for.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first experience with Terry Brooks. It will most definitely not be my last. He really knows how to tell a story, develop characters you care about, and put you into the middle of a real live world where nightmares are an everyday occurance. Knight of the Word is next for me!! I highly recommend it!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Couldn't put this book ordering the next book now...
jehovahrapha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although Angel Fire East is my favorite of the Word and Void trilogy, Running With the Demon is the book to read if you want the basic background. You can't read the other two without first reading this one; you'll just get confused. Admittedly, I love the way Terry Brooks develops his characters and their relationships. The dynamic between John Ross and Nest Freemark is both fluid and complex, and it only continues to grow more so over the next two books in this series.NOTE: Read the Word and Void trilogy before you attempt the Genesis of Shannara. Those three will make SO much more sense if you do!
Imrahil2001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The plot is pretty threadbare and the book becomes extremely tedious by the midway point. This could easily have been a hundred pages shorter, but Brooks never knows how to say anything just once. Lots of mood and atmosphere, and some good bits, but overall, the payoff isn't worth the trip it takes to get there. I won't be reading the rest of this series.
vircotto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the 2nd trilogy first. When I returned to this first book of the original trilogy I was disappointed. The plot moved far too slowly for my taste. Character development was good, and it was entertaining to learn more of the back story on some characters referred to in the 2nd trilogy, but I found it difficult to push on through to the conclusion. I doubt I'll read the rest of this trilogy.
letori on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Of the five books of Terry Brooks I've tried to read at one time or another (with varying degrees of success) this is the only one I actually enjoyed.
Wiszard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great book and another fine series from Terry Brooks. Meet John Ross and Nest Freemark. Nest is from Hopewell, Illinois Running with the Demon is the first book in the Word and the Void series. It details the adventures that Nest has. We get to meet her grandparents and her closest friends, Bobby, Jared, Cass, and Brianna. The book is subtitled "A Novel of Good and Evil" and that is very appropriate. This book comes highly recommended.
RobinLythgoe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Readable, but unimpressive. Excessive description feels like filler. Character development disappointing.
willowcove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent prequel, and a great transition from one storyline to the other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terry Brooks does it again. Another series that is tough to put down and keeps you coming back until the last sentence. Looking forward to the next one.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me a good long while after its publication to read this, despite being an early fan of the Shannara series. I found this novel wanting for tension, and I wasn't terribly drawn to the characters or their situation. I might not have continued with the sequels had I not already bought them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow start but once it got going didn't want to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters kept interest the storyline was fascinating. I have followed Terry Brooks for 30 years, love his writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this story. A far fetched fantasy that could just as easily be reality
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This trilogy is where to start in the Shannara universe. It still haunts my mind. It is wonderfully done and I tell others about it and they get interested as well. I have been reading Brooks for 10 plus years and love everything he has written. Want something multilayered and delicious to the mind give this a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
This is the story of the world before - the world of man and technology - before magic returned to the world and the Shannara Chronicles began. Many times throughout the stories the past is referenced and the remains of ruins of our world can be seen in the forests and swamps of the world of Shannara. How did this happen? Well, start reading Running with the Demon to find out. This one just didn't do it for me. I'm not sure if it was the sudden change from a high fantasy style to a completely urban fantasy - or that it was set in a town not too far away. I just couldn't see it in my head or connect with the characters. Nest is a very special teenager, from a very special family line. on her shoulders may rest the very furture of the world as we all know it. I had a hard time connecting with Nest as the story went on. her relationship with her friends, family, demon, creatures, and John just never rang very true for me. It also takes a long time to get anywhere of significance in the storyline. I really had no clue why any of this was so important until about half way through the story. This made it a little difficult to keep going from chapter to chapter at times. Brooks writing is still very beautiful and he has a way of bringing a scene to life, this just wasn't one of my favorites.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it very much.
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Mistress_Nyte More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed reading this book through a second time now, and it was every bit as enjoyable the second time around as the first. It is just a good read, a story of good and evil, about things that go bump in the night, about magic and how life just might be were it real.