The First King of Shannara is a one book prequel to the original Shannara trilogy. The first war of the races has passed and Bronna, the Warlock Lord, is gaining power once again.
Bremen, a now rebel druid, is the only one who believes that Bronna is still alive; he tries to warn the Druid High Council, but he is ignored and sent out of Paranor for good. Two druids, Tay Trefenwyd and Risca, along with a druid apprentice, Mareth, join Bremen and his companion Kinson Ravenlock as they take measures to defeat Bronna.
We had already been introduced to this time in Shannara history in the original Shannara trilogy but obviously the exact events are now spelled out in The First King of Shannara. In case you need a reminder, Jerle Shannara is the first king and the original wielder of The Sword of Shannara. The book chronicles how the sword was forged and how the Black Elfstone was found.
Great great book.
Now I suppose the most logical question would be, “should I read The First King of Shannara before The Sword of Shannara trilogy?” I would say no. The Sword of Shannara trilogy really sets up this entrie journey of good vs. evil and all the build up work has been done in that trilogy. The First King of Shannara reads smoothly because of The Sword of Shannara.
Now all I need is the original old world history and the history of the first war of the races and I will be completely satisfied.