Magic Kingdom for Sale -- SOLD! is the first of Terry Brooks's Magic Kingdom of Landover novels. Written in 1986, it tells the story of how Ben Holiday, a talented but depressed Chicago trial lawyer, comes to be king of Landover, a magical kingdom from another world. After a series of highly unsuccessful experiments with other potential kings from Earth, nearly the entire kingdom of Landover is resistant to Holiday taking over the throne; his efforts to claim the throne are at first aided and recognized only by four servants. The book details how Holiday earns recognition from the rest of the kingdom.
The book begins with Ben Holiday, a trial lawyer from Chicago, lamenting the loss of his wife and unborn child when he finds an advertisement in a Christmas catalog advertising a magical kingdom for sale for exactly one million dollars. Feeling in need of a life change and having nothing to lose he inquires and eventually buys the advertised kingdom hello of Landover from Meeks under a few conditions:
- He has to live there for one year otherwise it will revert ownership back to Meeks.
- He can't take anyone with him.
- He has ten days to "examine" the kingdom without obligation and a 95% refund.
Upon arrival, Ben is greeted by Abernathy, the court scribe (and a dog), and Questor Thews, the court wizard. However soon it becomes apparent that things aren't quite as advertised. There hasn't been a real king, who is referred to only as the “Old King”, in over twenty years. The lands have broken up into feudal areas. Also the castle, Sterling Silver, is suffering from a magical tarnish that reflects the decay of the land.
After deciding to remain as king despite the failing nature of the land, Ben now finds himself with the seemingly impossible task of uniting a land who has had to live with 20 years of false kings sent to them by Meeks, and who feels that Ben is just another in this long line. Dealing with Strabo, the last of dragons, and the witch Nightshade just add to Ben's problems.
What's more, there lingers over Ben's head the threat of the Iron Mark, the head of the demons of Abaddon. The Mark challenges Ben for control of Landover after the appearance of the Paladin.
However, there are things to Ben's benefit including the friendship and guidance of Questor and Abernathy, the companionship of Willow, two "G'home Gnomes", and the Paladin - the defender of the kings of Landover who has reappeared as a ghostly being after 20 years of absence.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
The rights to sell a movie based on this book have been bounced around since the 1980s, but as of September 2006 IMDB has announced it is currently in production due to come out in 2008, though it is still unclear if the movie will eventually see screening. A major difference between the book and movie is that Ben is planned to have two teenage children. Although the movie is seen as in production, actors have not even been talked about. Brooks is still in negotiations with Hollywood execs. Per his monthly letter at terrybrooks.net
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