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Guide to Raymond E Feist Fantasy Books
A bit about Raymond E. Feist
Raymond E. Feist is a writer of more than 20 epic fantasy novels. His first book, 'Magician' was published in 1982 and has since sold more than 20 million copies. Most of his subsequent books are set in the same fantasy world as Magician, Midkemia, and while many characters come and go, there are one or two that make an appearance in nearly all of his books. Other characters are descendants of the characters in Magician. Most of his books are grouped into different series, with each series following on from the previous series (often with a significant gap between them).
The Riftwar Saga
The Riftwar saga is a series of four books, starting with Feist's first book Magician (divided into Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master), then its two sequels, Silverthorn and a Darkness at Sethanon. In many countries outside the US, Magician is published as one volume.
Magician can be read as a standalone novel, but forms the first book in the Riftwar Saga and indeed the first book in the whole 20+ books that follow it in the same universe. It follows the story of the orphan boy Pug, who wants to be a Magician, and his friend Tomas who wants to be a great warrior. When invaders come through a magic gate from another world, their lives are turned upside down and their feet put on the path of destiny.
Prince of the Blood & King's Buccaneer
The next two books are stand alone books which link the Riftwar Saga with later series, and introduce an important new character: the magician who doesn't believe in magic, Nakor. He first makes his appearance in Prince of the Blood, a tale of political intrigue, much less epic than most of Feist's other books. The King's Buccaneer is a longer more gripping tale of the discovery of lands across the ocean, and hints of a dark force at work in the Shadows. The King's Buccaneer is one of Feist's most accomplished books in my opinion, and sets the scene for his next series, the Serpentwar Saga.
The Serpentwar Saga
The Serpentwar saga is four book series, set about 50-60 years after the first book Magician. Most of the characters from the original book are now long since departed, and this series has new set of characters, with just a few familiar faces popping up here and there. This series has it all, book one, Shadow of a Dark Queen has a great quest across the seas, book two, Rise of a Merchant Prince is a fascinating story of business and trade. Book Three, Rage of a Demon King, has great battles and military strategies, and Book Four, Shards of a Broken Crown shows the Kingdom trying to put itself back together after suffering catastrophic destruction. Overall my favourite series after the Riftwar Saga.
Conclave of Shadows
The Conclave of Shadows Series is the next trilogy in the Midkemia canon. In the background, Pug and the other members of the Conclave of Shadows are pitted against the evil madmad Leso Varen. The books main focus however is the story of a young boy, Talon, who after the destructon of his people plots revenge and in the process ends up working for the Conclave. Book two continues Talon's story, and Book Three takes a different focus, following the exiled former enemy, Duke Kaspar.
This is a very good, fresh series by Raymond E. Feist.
This series of three books introduces another alien race, the Dasati, from a different realm of existence. An army of Dasati warriors are discovered in stasis on Midkemia, resulting in the dangerous mission to the Dasati homeworld to discover what is going on.
This series features Pug, Nakor and the other magicians in much more central role, almost on a par with the other more mundane storyline. This is in contrast to the previous couple of series where they have been more in the background, only appearing occasionally.
Demonwar / Chaoswar Saga
The Demonwar saga only has two books in it, 'Rides a Dread Legion' and 'At The Gates of Darkness'. As with the previous series, both Pug and Tomas are very much in evidence, and there are two new characters, Demon Masters Amirantha and Gulamendis.
The Chaoswar Saga is apparently the final series in the Riftwar Cycle. It starts with the book 'A Kingdom Besieged', followed by 'A Crown Imperiled' and ending with 'Magician's End', published in May 2013.
The above books are all the main fantasy books set in Midkemia, in chronological order. There is also several other series that while connected, don't quite fit into this sequence, detailed below.
The Empire Trilogy sits in parallel to the Riftwar Saga, and is the story of the alien world of Kelewan, the invaders in the Riftwar Saga. It is co-written by Janny Wurts, and is a very interesting, unusual series. It doesn't follow the usual quest format for fantasy books, but instead it is a biography, a family history, a political drama. It follows the story of Mara, a young woman on the verge of dedicating her life to a religious order, when she receives news that her father and brother have been killed, and she must return to head her family, saving it from destruction by their bitterest enemy.
Legends of the Riftwar
This is a series of three standalone books, written with different co-authors. All of the books are set after the Riftwar but before the Serpantwar saga, and are all small scale, featuring new characters that don't have a big impact on world events or the characters in other books. Honoured Enemy is the story of an elite unit stuck behind enemy lines. Murder in Lamut is a fantasy murder mystery. Jimmy the Hand is the story of a young Jimmy, as featured in the Riftwar saga, and several other books (later Duke James).
This is a series of three smaller scope books, set in and around Krondor and featuring Jimmy the Hand and other characters, including Pug's son William. The first book is based on the computer game Betrayal at Krondor, and frankly, it shows, being not one of the best examples of Feist's books. The other two books in the series are somewhat better, with the middle book, Krondor the Assassins being the best of a poor bunch.
Faerie Tale is a dark fantasy novel set in present day America, and is actually a rather surprisingly good read, very different from his other books. Faerie Tale is the only book not related in any way to the rest.