5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I have waited for this, the third in Feist's "Conclave of Shadows" series, with trepidation. The first book, Talon of the Silver Hawk, was excellent. It made up for some of the below-par work we have endured from a great author in recent years. The second book, King of Foxes, was okay - but little more than okay, given some of the rather convenient plot lines. This book is terrific, however - Feist is back on his throne.
Exile's Return is largely set on the continent of Novindus and follows the travails of the former Duke of Olasko, none other than Kaspar (the exile of the title), as he strives to regain a life for himself. Feist's real skill is in his description of his fantasy world and in the creation of great characters, and Exile brings this skill to the fore again in a way I have not seen since King's Buccaneer, one of the author's earlier works.
Kaspar is brought to life in this book as we understand the man now freed from the influence of the evil sorceror, Leso Varen. However, Kaspar's fate seems inextricably tied to that of the Conclave of Shadows, and it isn't long before the former Duke is tasked by the Gods themselves with seeking out the secret organisation with a legacy from the Dragon Lords reign that will challenge even the mighty Pug and company.
In summary, this is a great book full of pacey plot, intriguing characters and dialogue and above all, a return to form in terms of quality.
A must-have for all fans of fiction/fantasy - even if you fell out with Feist a while ago. This is his best work in years!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The conclusion of the Conclave Of Shadows trilogy. Well, I say 'conclusion' but more accurately it's just the last book of the trilogy, seeing as how the story isn't concluded at all.
By the end of this book you'll realise that the three books of this series are intended to set the scene for Feist's next series (supposedly the last of the Midkemia/Kelewan series'), the Darkwar Saga.
The story here follows Kaspar of Olasko in his exile in Novindus, where he learns some important life lessons and finds himself burdened with a dark artifact from another world.
Feist remains an excellent writer and this book is very easy to read and appreciate. However, once again there's a feeling of shallowness to the plot, particularly in relation to Kaspar's linear and somewhat contrived quest to rid himself of the Talnoy.
There is a counterbalance to the book's faults in the scenes involving further discussion of the nature of the Gods. Some might find these a boring break in the action, but I love Feist's tangents to explore these concepts.
Another good thing is the new enemy introduced; the cruel Dasati and their (all but) invincible warriors, the Talnoy. The way this new threat is established will leave you in no doubt that the Darkwar Saga will feature a struggle every bit as compelling as those in the Riftwar and the Serpentwar.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2004
To be honest I was disappointed when I found out this book was about Kaspar who is a character easily hated from the first two books in the series. Being a avid reader of Feist's work I decided to purchase the book and am very glad I did! This is a very new style as in his previous books you follow characters who are "squeaky clean" and have no faults, but in this you read about Kaspar's dark past playing on his conscience and how at first he has a strong taste for revenge but realises that there is a lot more important things than Tal Hawkins.
This book makes the previous two in the series seem like starters in a meal, Exiles Return is the main course and the ending of this book has me on edge in anticipation for the next instalment.
If you have read Talon of a Silver Hawk and King of Foxes then buy Exiles Return and be amazed!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2007
Another great book continuing the Conclave of the Shadows trilogy, but as you get halfway through you start to wonder how they're possibly going to resolve everything before the end. The answer is they don't, it basically ends with a big cliffhanger. I deliberately hadn't bought the first book of the Darkwar saga as i knew the saga wasn't complete and i hate getting part-way through a series and then realising you're going to have to wait a year or more for the author to write the next book, but i've ended up reading half a series anyway as clearly the Darkwar saga continues the story and the two sagas should be read together. If you haven't started the Conclave series yet, I'd suggest waiting for the Darkwar one to be complete and then getting both lots or you'll be left hanging off that cliff waiting for the continuation like i did...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2005
Once again, Ray Feist has turned out a great story.... following on immediately from "King of Foxes", the story starts out with Kaspar, the exiled former Duke of Olasko, as he seeks to survive in the land of Novindus, half way around the world from his home. During his battle to make his way home, he meets three fellow Midkemians, and joins them in their strange quest...
There is a very interesting, almost sub-plot in this story, as we see Kaspar, decidedly the bad guy in the previous book, take a long hard look at himself and change his thoughts and feelings, and in some places it's not hard to envisage him as the "reluctant hero"...
There's also a welcome return of old characters Pug, Magnus, Miranda and Tomas, among others. This is a fast paced book that you will not want to put down, with a gripping story and an ending that leaves you wanting more...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ending the first 'Conclave of Shadows' trilogy this tells the tale of Kaspar, ex Duke of Olasko. Exiled into a strange land he finds himself caught up in something that will threaten the whole world.
In an interesting departure, this is a tale of redemption. Taking the bad guy from the previous books (albeit from magical influence) and letting him rediscover himself was a new idea and there are some interesting aspects to this. Having said that, there is not enough focus on his change and the consequence of his previous life. You like him almost straight away, it would have been more interesting if you had started to like him as his character evolved into a better person.
This is okay fantasy but does not reach the heights of the author's better works. At his best his tales were great fantasy, but routed in solid characterisation, his recent books have got the blend slightly wrong which is a great pity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2009
Do not be put off by the 'new' setting of 'The Conclave of Shadows' series, of which this is the concluding book of three. It adds yet further depth to the growing, & lurking dangers that face the world of Midkemia, and is a very welcome addition to the 'family'.
Here we begin to grasp at last, the menace behind all that has gone before, this time set on the other side of the world, back in Novindus, and how it all links into previous books, showing a growing danger facing not just The Kingdom, but also Kesh, The Eastern Kingdoms, Roldem, and even Kelewan and beyond.
New characters, particularly Talwin Hawkins, and Kaspar add further strength and flavour to those we already know and love, Pug, Thomas, Nakor, etc, and these are just a hint of whats to come as the story continues, and maintains its excellent pace and strength.
Again, you will not be dissapointed by either this book, or the series it is part of.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2005
Raymond E. Feist confuses me, especially with his latest book, Exile's Return, part 3 of the Conclave of Shadows. I said in my review of King of Foxes that the story of Talon of the Silver Hawk is over and that anything afterward would be extra. Here is that extra. However, it leaves off on a pretty massive "to be continued," yet I have heard that the next book is the start of *another* series, beginning right after Exile's Return ends. What's the point? Why not have a book 4? It can't be marketing, as there are many series that go far past book 4 and are successful. I could even see Exile's Return being the beginning of a new series, as it involves a new character and Talon is only peripheral. However, the book is what it is, and it is a very good book. It's interesting, has a good main character who redeems himself in many ways, and introduces an otherworldly threat that will be very hard to defeat.
Kaspar, the former Duke of Olasko before being deposed by Talon, has been exiled to a strange continent on the other side of the world for his crimes. He is left penniless, almost naked, and he is quickly set upon by bandits when he appears there by dimensional shift. Kaspar uses his wits, however, and quickly turns the tide on his captors, escaping into the wild. As he makes his way across the continent, he thinks about his predicament and what led to his downfall, including the lies and sorcery committed by the man who he deemed advisor, Leso Varen. He is determined to return to Olasko and avenge himself on Talon. However, circumstances get him involved in an artifact from another world, leading him to enlist Talon's help in contacting the Conclave of Shadows for assistance. In the process, Kaspar learns that there is more to life than power, and that he hasn't necessarily led a good one. Too bad that the process of learning that could kill him, and the rest of Midkemia.
My review of King of Foxes criticized Feist heavily for the way the story portrayed women; basically, they were nothing but sexual objects throughout the story. Feist avoids that pitfall this time, mostly by not having any female characters in the book. The two who are in it, however, are much stronger (though very minor). Johanna is a woman whose husband has disappeared after going to the nearest town for market. While she doesn't do a whole lot in the book, we can see that she is quite determined to keep the farm that she and her son occupy successful, despite the fact that there are only the two of them. Kaspar admires her greatly, thinking back to the way he used to treat peasants in Olasko (when he could be deigned to notice them at all). There is nothing romantic about their relationship at all, and he leaves her farm a better man for it. I really liked her and what Feist did with her. The other female character is the wife of the head wizard in the Conclave, and she doesn't do a lot, but at least she acts like a normal woman.
Most of the characters in Exile's Return are fairly thin, but they serve their purpose well in the story. Kaspar is the protagonist, and this is his story of redemption. He realizes that he was deceived a great deal by Varen, and that Varen is still a big danger to the world. He begins doing the right thing when he is compelled to by the magic around the artifact being carried by the group of men he falls in with, however, that magic eventually disappears and he still finds himself doing the right thing. A great deal of the first part of the book, especially when he's dying of thirst, is taken up with his thoughts on what happened, his determination to kill Talon, and the realization of what he had done. Thankfully, Feist avoids having him come to all the right conclusions immediately, as his determination for vengeance still rings brightly for quite a while. Kaspar is even more interesting than Talon was in the first two books, which is saying something.
The plot isn't the most unique out there, but it serves its purpose as sword and sorcery. The conclave is a bit clichéd, very reminiscent of the wizard councils in various Dungeons & Dragons books, traveling hither and yon through teleportation. The artifact that they have in their possession is kind of interesting, an unstoppable force that shows our heroes how tough it will be if more of those artifacts come into this world. I haven't read the Riftwar saga, so I hope that Feist isn't repeating himself with the rifts opening up keyed to the artifact they have. There's certainly a lot of action, or at least talking about action, throughout the book, so it isn't very deep. Once Kaspar's internal struggles with his philosophy are through, the book pretty much just plows through the plot without a lot of characterization. That does make it a fun read, however, just not very thought-provoking.
This is my first Feist series, and I'm very happy to say that, despite the numerous references to past books, you don't have to read any of them first. Feist does a very good job of filling the reader in along the way, giving just enough information to tell us what happened without dwelling on it too much. Only somebody who has read them can say whether they are too detailed or not, but I valued it.
Fans of Feist will probably love this book, and I definitely think it's better than King of Foxes. If you like some straightforward adventure, then this will appeal to you too. Just don't expect to think a lot.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2004
Overall I enjoyed the book. Feist's standard of writing has been consitant with that of the other books in this series (conclave of shadows) which is to say it is better than that of the Riftwar legends and legacy series but not as good as his earlier works.
I actually think that Feist could do with slowing down the rate at which he writes his books, I feel at times he needs to embelish on some points he makes and spend more time fleshing out some characters. For instance none of the new characters in this series are as engaging as the ones from the riftwar and serpantwar books.
I also find the way he skips time in these books annoying, you constently find that he has skiped the story on a couple of weeks or even months from one page to the next. In earlier series when he used to skip time for a character you always went to a diferent character for a pov for a while, this helped smoth the time jumps.
As you can tell from the title the book is told from Kasper, the former Duke of Olasko pov. I dont feel we ever trully engage with Kasper our Villan turned hero. I think Feist fails to fully establish the extent to which Kaspers past actions were his own or were due to the fact he was being manipulated. I also feel he gains forgivness from others far to simply. Compared to say Jamie Lannister (from Martins Song of Ice and Fire) who you go from hating to loving through coming to understand his character, I don't really feel we get to understand Kasper, and neither does he go on much of a journey.
The action parts of the book also fall a bit flat and do not have the same feeling of excitment as the action pieces of earlier works.
We do get to see new groups of people and in many ways this book is setting the ground for the next riftwar. I know it was suggested that this might be the last book of conclave and that the next book will be the first book of a new riftwar series. I just hope Fiest can recapture some of his earlier form, for while I am enjoying the current series I do believe he is not firing on all cylinders.
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.
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, Legacy and beyond. This one is for Exile's Return.
The order is:-
Magician 5 stars
Jimmy the Hand 2 Stars
Honoured 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
Krondor: The Betrayal 3 Stars
Mistress of the Empire 5 stars
Krondor: The Assassins 3 Stars
Krondor: Tear of the Gods 3 Stars
Prince of the Blood 5.5 Stars
The Kings Buccaneer 4 Stars
Shadow of a Dark Queen 6 Stars !!
Rise of a Merchant Prince 3.5 Stars
Rage of a Demon King 5 Stars
Shards of a Broken Crown 2 Stars
Talon of the Silver Hawk 4 Stars
King of Foxes 5 Stars
EXILE'S RETURN 5.5 STARS
Exile's return is supposed to be part3 of the Conclave of Shadows Trilogy but thankfully it's really not. The follow on to this picks up where this leaves. Thank Goodness for that because this book is a real page turner. It's tremendous. Kaspar *spoiler alert* is dumped on the other side of the world after being defeated by Tal and he struggles heroically to get back home and with revenge on his mind he moves off into the story. Little by little though Feist tempers his character with humility and hard work and slowly Kaspar realises the hold the evil wizard Leso had on him. The dawning of this and his humbling experiences find the reader feeling that he's not such a bad guy after all. In fact he starts to become a favourite character. It's not until the discovery of the mystic relic `The Talnoy' that things get truly epic. The potential for this story to develop, the trip to the gods, the whittling down of the party he travels with by evil forces, the new monsters, races and threat to Midkemia energies the whole Feist Universe again. It's a brilliant book and opens up all sorts of new avenue's for adventure with a whole new team of characters. Awesome and EPIC. Buy It. Even the most jaded Feist fan (as I was becoming) won't be able to resist this.