A Darkness at Sethanon
completes the "Riftworld saga" which started with Feist's Magician
. When Raymond Feist's enormous novel was published, critics called it "the best new fantasy concept in years", and Feist has refined and explored that concept over a dozen novels. His "concept" was to bring together two (and later, more) whole, intricately realised Fantasy worlds. Midkemia is a Tolkienian realm, a European-Medieval series of kingdoms in which magic is prominent, and where men share the earth with dwarves and elves. Feist's genius was inventing another sword and sorcercy realm based more closely on eastern models, the Empire of Tsuranuanni, as vast as Ancient China, as formalised and devoted to the arts of war as a samurai Japan. A magical rift in time-space brings these two worlds clashing together, and the young boy Pug and his soldier friend Tomas are thrown into the ensuing maelstrom of invasion and epic battle, before embarking on a more fundamental magical journey towards the very roots of evil itself. Feist's two sequels to Magician
and A Darkness at Sethanon
complete the richly conceived "Riftwar Saga", and Fiest has gone on to chronicle other aspects of his invented worlds. With Janny Wurts he wrote the "Empire" trilogy, which charts the rise, through the rigid patriarchy of the Empire of Tsuranuanni, of a remarkable female heroine, a woman who eventually reaches the heights of the imperial throne itself Daughter of the Empire
, Servant of the Empire
and Mistress of Empire
. More recently he has returned to the world of Medkemia, and to his hero Pug, with the Serpentwar saga, beginning with Shadow of a Dark Queen
and continuing with Rise of a Merchant Prince
, Rage of a Demon King
and Shards of a Broken Crown
. Heroic Fantasy is a crowded-enough field, but Feist stands out in it for his sheer inventive power, the scope and range of his narratives, the diversity of his characters and his thundering battle sequences. Start reading here, and you may find yourself unable to stop until you have followed the saga right up to date. --Adam Roberts
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Author
When did you start writing?
If you mean when did I seriously start writing, that was in 1977, the year I graduated from University. I really got serious a year later which was when I took a rough coming-of-age story and started turning into Magician
, my first published novel. Where do you write?
I have a home office. What are the pros and cons of being a writer?
The same as with any self-employment: you’re your own boss, you set your own schedule, you determine the quality of the product, etc. The downside is you have no corporate safety net, no unemployment insurance, no health care benefits, no retirement plan, so you bear responsibility for all of those things. It is not a job for the timid. What writers have inspired you?
Too long a list to cover them all. Anything good, in one fashion or another influences. There are some very obvious names, to begin with: Shakespeare, Marlow, Dickens, the Russians, Twain, Melville, and some slightly less obvious, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexander Dumas, Anthony Hope, and the other "boy’s adventure" authors. Also, historical authors like Mary Renault, Rosemary Suttcliff, and Thomas Costain. And the pulp authors: Arthur Conan Doyle, H. Ridder Haggard, A. Merrrit, and among fantasy writers, Fritz Lieber. Toss in as diverse a range of writers as Zane Grey and Louis L’amour in westerns to Dashel Hammett , Raymond Chandler, and John D. McDonald in mystery, to comedic writers like Max Schulman and Dan Jenkins. I could keep going, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. How important is a sense of place in your writing?
Tough question to answer in brief; every element in a fantasy has to “make sense” to the reader. You can not condescend to your art because it’s “make believe,” so even though the place in which I set my work is a fantasy world, it has to feel “real” structurally, else the reader will ultimately be unhappy. Do you spend a lot of time researching your novels?
Only enough to convince the reader the characters know what they’re doing. I don’t have to be the expert; I just need to be persuasive. Do your characters ever surprise you?
All the time. In fact, as I get older, more and more often. I suspect this is a function of my subconscious coming up with better story notions than I had originally planned. How much of your life and the people around you do you put into your books?
In specific, none of it; in general, all of it. The old saw is that writers write what they know. It’s like what actors call “sense memory.” You have to sell emotion and there has to be a foundation of validity or it will not work. How did it feel when you saw your book in print for the first time? A little disbelieving, and very pleased.If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing now?
Probably looking for a job, given this economy. My last one was in the health field as an administrator.