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4.8 out of 5 stars
Mistress of the Empire (Unabridged)
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2001
I have to confess to having read this triology (Daughter, Servant & Mistress of the Empire) maybe over a dozen times now. For me this is the ultimate science fantasy, and easily outstrips anything Feist does on his own, though I enjoy those too.
With Janny Wurts, Fiest manages to achieve a greater depth to his plots that otherwise he lacks in Riftwar etc.
By creating Mara as the central character, JW & REF explore interesting side issues that are lacking in other fantasy, where the dominant character is usually male.
The whole issue of the Tsurani culture and politics, though clearly taken from the Far East, is a novel and refreshing idea to put in a book, and the continual comparisions made to the 'barbarian world'of Midkemia throughout is a interesting moral byplay for the characters in the book. Particularly good are the characters Arakasi, with his Spy Network, the radical Light of Heaven who supports Mara covertly & Lujan, Mara's Force Commander (who could easily have been left behind in development). All characters are explored thoroughly and developed, to the point where sometimes you can almost pre-empt their actions as you get to know them. Even the 'bad guys' receive the same attention, which is unusual, and make compelling reading. Tasiao, the warmonger, Jiro, the scholar, but whose 1st advisor Chumaka, pits his wits against Arakasi in the third book, is a wonderful piece of writing. These really are the sort of books you can lose days reading. The intrigue is compelling, the quality of writing, both in narrative and dialogue surpasses anything that these 2 writers have achieved individually. This in part is allowed due to the size of the books 600,700,900 pages (approx)respectively, but rather than being daunting, still you will get through them quicker than you want.
The authors aren't afraid to kill off characters, in the end, few of the original remain, which means that a touch of realism is allowed, which sometimes is lacking in this respect in Riftwar.New characters develop at a pace which allows the reader to understand them, without confusion.Several other moments are brilliantly written, when Arakasi's cold heart melts, but in Tsurani fashion,of course. Moments of compassion from the cold Tasaio when he takes a wife, yet moments later watches the execution of his courtesan with bloodlust. In a way, these books explore every facet of human life. Read them for what they are-fantasy, or read something deeper into them if you choose, whatever you do, you'll enjoy them
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2003
This final installment of the Empire saga is fantastic Feist at his best...(along with Janny).
I don't won't to give too much away but the book has an explosive start and from that point, it's impossible to put down. If you liked the last two, then you'll love this one and probably be reading it whenever, and wherever you can.
Mara has her biggest struggle for survival yet. Not only has she lost her beloved Kevin but she has to fight everyone who wants her dead to keep the Acoma name going. Even with her newly appointed title of Mistress of the Empire, there are mnay who are plotting her demise.
Enter Jiro of the Anasati. Still bitter over Mara's rejection of marriage many years ago, Jiro will stop at nothing to see her
delivered to the Red God. Mara also has to find out who is employing assasins to try and end the Acoma name. As she seeks the answers she gets further and further to the truth that a certain sector of the Empire do not wish to be uncovered.
Mara will have to face the Assembly of Magicians sooner or later, the almighty force of the Empire...they are beyond the law.
There is so much more to enjoy in this book. It involves a great journey Mara has to endure to seek the truth. New powers enter the story and a huge battle is drawing inexorably close.
The one thing I loved about this book is that it is an explosion of events. Things are happening all over the place and there is never a dry moment....like you find in the first and second novel.
Arakasi is also focussed on a lot more in this book. He belongs in the hall of Feist Legends (i.e Jimmy, Pug, Arutha, Nakor). The reason for him being the best Spy Master in the Empire is shown in a great chapter at the start of the book. And there is a great on-going battle of wits and subterfuge between himself and Jiro's right-hand man, Chumaka.
Please enjoy this book,...it's a great ending to a great saga.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2000
For anyone who has read the first two books , this is a stunning ending to one of the best written trilogies ever, also the cho ja get to do something! If this is the first book you have looked at get "daughter of the empire" first or you'll be totally lost as the plot dose focus on alot of the politics in the other two books
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2004
I've read the majority of the REF books but have to say the 'empire' trilogy is the ebst of them all. A truly absorbing portrayal of a different (to western readers) culture. I especially appreciated the portrait of the 'heroine' of the books. It is rare to get a strong female lead character who isn't merely a cliched version of either the astoundingly beautiful yet fiesty princess or the warrior woman/amazon.
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I'm reviewing Feists' (and those involved with him) works in Chronological order. Unfortunately for some books there are new books and covers being re-released in March 2013 so reviews for the old books can no longer be posted. Not so clever AMAZON.

Anyway this review is for the chronological reading of books by Feist and others that all link Medkemia and Kelewan and form the Riftwar Saga. This one is for Part 3 of Janny Wurts' trilogy culminating in the book. Mistress of the Empire.

SO intially it goes:-

Magician 5 stars
Jimmy the Hand 2 Stars
Horored Enemy 4 stars
Murder in LaMuT 3 stars.
Daughter of the Empire 5 stars
Silverthorn 4.5 stars
Darkness at Sethanon 5 stars
Servant of the Empire 5 stars
Mistress of the Empre 5 stars
and so on ... look for the rest of the reviews in the coming months.

The last and final book in the Riftwar link in from Janny Wurts is, in strange contradiction the worst and the best of the series. It's the best because it is a much 'fuller' story and a far more in depth look at plots and plans and the book takes on more of an 'Epic Quality' you feel there's far more going on, there's lots happening and it's a really great read. So why is this also the worst of the books. Well it panders and plays to a female reader far more. There's lots more emotional drama and a little bit too much of the 'happily ever after' syndrome. Janny pulls at the heart strings really well but at the same time she tied up the ends a little too tidily. I'll give an example "Spoiler Alert - Don't read any further if you're going to buy this" At the end she sacrifices her marriage to her husband with a divorce so he can go off and father a heir for his dynasty because Mara is left barren after an assassination/poisoning attempt. How very noble *but* Kevin the barbarian lover from the previous books just happens to be appointed to Kilawan from Midkemia just as his bastard son (who he knew nothing of) is made emperor and of course Kevin isn't married (after 10 years as a Baron back on his home world) so it ends with him and Mara snuggling back up together and their son joining in (who's now emperor) for big family hugs. Disney would have been proud. Other than that it was, for 95% of the time, an Epic worthy of the word.
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on 14 August 2011
Much better than book 2 (Servant of the Empire). The people and their action were more in keeping with the way the story unfolded in book 1 (Daughter of the Empire).There is plenty of action in the book, it moves a lot faster than the previous one.
Mara has travelled an immense distance, both literally and metaphorically. She sees how the stagnation of the Empire, due largely to the rigid honour code that dictates the Tsurani way of life, stifles the growth of the land and its people.
Her task in this book is to bring about an enormous change if the way in which the nobility act. In addition to protecting her house and family from the machinations of Jiro of House Anasati and the magicians known as The Great Ones.She also suffers personal tragedy, and later on has to make an extremely difficult decision.
The alien Cho-ja are also revealed to be much more of an integral part of the whole, and there are interesting revelations about them.
And characters such as Arakasi the spy master also undergo a life changing transformation that makes him a more rounded character. I would love to read a book about him as the main protagonist, he is such an interesting person.
The authors are also not shy about killing off some of the main characters which makes for a more thrilling read, full of excitement. After such pivotal events I often found myself speculating on the ensuing consequences before picking up the book and reading on.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2005
Lady Mara of the Acoma had overcome all her enemies, or so she thought, with Jiro of the Anasati's hatred neatly blocked by the Assembly of the Great Ones' refusal for the two Houses to destroy each other in mutual devastation. But Mara found herself under threat from the Assembly and the only way she can get help is to seek out the cho-ja that did not acknowledge the rule of the Empire.
In her journey outside the borders of the Empire Mara finds her assumptions, already battered by her association with a Midkemian slave, broken down. The Great Lords find themselves forced to take sides in the confrontation between Mara and her enemies.
This is the concluding volume in the story of Mara of the Acoma. This sees her facing her most powerful set of opponents Mara and it seems quite unlikely that she would survive!
In Mara's world we have one of the more unusual civilisations in fantasy fiction and this novel explores that world quite widely.
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on 13 October 2011
The trilogy that is the Empire series is surely the basis for three superb feature films.

The Empire is clearly based on Japanese characters. The plot and the characters are just perfect.
You will love the goodies and hate the baddies.
You will cheer when the baddies fall on their sword and cry (as I did) when the goodies die.

Man or Woman, you will find it all here.
Action, romance, intrigue, crime and punishment, plotting, all written in a style that flows from the page to your heart.
Janny Wurts is not a writer I have read but I know Feist and THIS trilogy is simply the hardest book to put down that I have ever read.

There are references to Milamber from "Magician" beautifully interwoven in the plot but "empire" can be read in isolation with nothing lost or taken away from the Feist Universe.
"The Last Samurai" would offer the merest taste if you need a reference but Empire is a film series that demands to be made.

Buy all three books in one hit. You will be glad you did.
You'll need a box of tissues to wipe your eye too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2001
This is the best by far of the Empire series, I am now on my second copy of the book. It rounds off the story of the with a great ending, I wont spoil it for you. I have to recommend this book to any Fiest or Wurts fans, I think they have done a great job together in writing this book. I only wish they had written a follow up book to.
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on 9 March 2010
The entire trilogy is an exceptional piece of writing and this book deftly completes the story, with a resounding sense of justice and satisfaction. There are more than enough twists and turns to keep you glued to the page, and the characters truly come to life. The politics of Kelewan are intriguing to say the least, and the feuds and rivalries are both gutwrenching and gripping!
To complete the trilogy, I would recommend reading "Magician" as well, probably before this series, as that does truly completes the tale and complement the storyline.
Overall, a masterful piece of work and thoroughly recommended.
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