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4.6 out of 5 stars155
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on 27 July 2001
I have to recommend this to anyone. I read this a few years ago and many times since then. The way Feist runs concurrent stories with the book and then brings them together in the climax is brilliant. I especially enjoy following the adventures of Pug and Thomas through the realm of the dead and the hall of worlds. This is an epic adventure and a must for all Sci Fi Fantasy readers
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2006
A Darkness At Sethanon is the concluding book in the Riftwar trilogy and brings the saga, kicked off by Magician and continued by Silverthorn to a brilliant and stunning conclusion. This book is from an author at the height of his storytelling powers, and once started, simply cannot be put down. The plot is stunning in its execution and is totally gripping and fast moving. Add superb characterisation to this and you have a mix that is an out and out winner.

The story sees Pug and Tomas scouring the universe for signs of Macros The Black, the great sorcerer who they hope will be able to give them information on the true nature of 'The Enemy.' It is becoming clearer by the day that this would appear to be power behind the Morehdrel Murmandamus and his armies, and their threat to The Kingdom of The Isles. In the meantime the war against Murmandamus is being fought by characters such as Arutha, Guy, and Jimmy The Hand.
Pug and Tomas do eventually find Macros, and learn to their horror the true nature of 'The Enemy.' They also learn that not just Midkemia is under threat but the very existence of all living things....

The Riftwar trilogy features some of the best characters that Ray Feist has ever created. It established his 'eternal' characters of Pug, Macros, and Tomas and indeed these all appear to varying degrees in the following books and series concerning Midkemia. If anything though, the lesser characterisation in later books, has not been quite up to the strength of the likes of Jimmy and Arutha, and these characters have been sorely missed in these later volumes. It is of no surprise, therefore, that Feist has returned to these characters to write extra volumes about them... Enjoy then A Darkness At Sethanon, a superbly realised tale, featuring all of Ray Feist's best characters.

As a footnote, readers who look forward to seeing Feist return to this kind of superlative form are advised to pick up a copy of his latest Darkwar volume 'Into A Dark Realm.' Having read this I can only conclude that it is a return to the kind of form that Feist enjoyed during the Riftwar novels and sets the reader up for what promises to be a superb third installment. If you cannot wait for this book to be released in the US then order it now from Amazon UK, the delivery charge is worth it because you will not be disappointed.
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on 10 August 1999
This tale reminds me of individuals I have known that possessed any number of irritating habits, yet continued to retain my affection by nature of their simple and generous character. That's probably overstating the case here, but, despite Feist's tendancy towards stereotyping and simplistic narrative, I nonetheless find myself continuing to read the "Riftwar Saga."
"A Darkness at Sethanon" possesses most of the flaws that have plagued the previous books: An event driven narrative that expends little time on characterization or descriptive detail, players that are stereotypical and more characteristic of cartoons than fiction, as well as a world that to a large degree dwells within the conventional. Further, Feist is starting to show evidence of predictability. Most of this has been noted, though more stridently, by previous detractors.
However, unlike many of those, I felt this book to be the best so far in the series, and were it not for the chapters devoted to Pug and Tomas, as well as the pollyanna quality of the final chapter, I might have felt this tale deserving of a 4 star rating. Much of the story following Arutha and friends appeared to be rising above the level of the earlier tales, both in focus as well as the use of dramatic tension and an embryonic exploration through new characters beyond the often juvenile caricaturization that's dogged Feist from the beginning. Unfortunately these rudimentary advances were greatly undermined by the overblown magic and almost omnipotent powers possessed by Pug and Tomas in their portion of the tale, their bald rehash of the Grecian underworld, and the appearance of the ridiculous and incidental tigermen. What little credibility remained was decidedly discarded in the final chapter.
Yet, after all my complaints, I find myself seduced into attempting the next book. There is a straightforward, uncomplicated element of fun to Feist's writing that is, for all it's faults, rather appealing. Perhaps, as was his implied intention in the first books, he has been successful in reaching a boyish response in me that I thought long put away and forgotten. In any event, these books have provided diversion for unreflected moments. However, all the 5 star ratings are preposterous (See US site)!
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on 10 October 2006
Having spent the last book (sivlerthorn) more-or-less marking time, we finally get to see the true scope of the vision begun with Magician. As a book in itself, DaS has little of the grandness of Magician, but taken together, we see the over-plot which has been shaping the events and characters of the previous books. Not the great character-building novel of Magician, but of course the major characters are now well developed. A fine ending to a polt which has now expanded from the asparations of two small boys to a fight for the future of two worlds and more. If you would like to know the "why" of much of Magician then this is for you, but ideally read it straight after the previous two so that you remember who these people are.
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on 13 April 2016
Having been weened on fantasy since a young age through the likes of hobbs and eddings and ofcourse tolkien, I at first scoffed at the seemingly "simple" writing styles in magician, the book seemed to lack much of the depth of description which tolkien and eddings would use to create their detailed worlds where you would see the authors visions to the detail of the number of petals on each flower.

Reading on I discovered that even through my arrogance at the relatively "low" literary style, I began to become enraptured by Magician, Fiest achieves an amazing thing which many of his counterparts fail at, he gives JUST enough detail so that you are never mistaken in your images of his worlds, but he allows each reader to create their own worlds and unvierses through their imagination, something which tolkien does not allow and the reason Eddings' series tend to be 5 books in place of the 3 they can justify.

The apparent lack of detail and depth infact draws the reader far deeper into the book, because you are not only witnessing a world Fiest creates for you, you are creating a world around yourself.

Once you get sucked into Magician, there is no turning back, you fall in love with the characters, you share their emotions, occasionally laughing or grinning with the characters, occasionally feeling your eyes begin to water with their grief, having finished magician after 3 days, I couldn't wait to go to work the next morning so that I could stop into the bookstop and pick up silverthorn, 2 mornings later I had to stop in and pick up a darkness at sethanon on the way to work... now I'm here looking for what more remains of the stories because I am loathe to say goodbye to the characters I have grown to love (terry goodkind is lined up and waiting, but I'm going to miss pug and tomas too much to just switch)

I could not think of a way to more strongly recommend reading this series, save to say that with the riftwar trilogy Fiest has forever secured his place in the canons of fantasy authors, I can't wait to read the extra books in the saga, then no doubt the serpent wars, then I'm sure the follow ups, as I write this I'm busy downloading betrayal at krondor (which is now freeware), 2 weeks ago I hadn't heard of Raymond E. Fiest, today I have read over 1700 pages of his work and can't help but wish I had more, I'm actually looking forward to going to work so that I can pick up the next book.
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on 4 July 2015
A Darkness At Sethanon is the third (fourth if you're reading the American edition) and final instalment in Raymond E. Feist's epic Riftwar Saga, and brings to a close many of the plot threads originally started in the earlier books.

This is essentially a book of two separate stories that gradually draw closer to each other. In one, Prince Arutha of Krondor uses an assassination attempt to fake his own death in order to run off and confront Murmandus from the second book. Meanwhile, in the other half of the story Pug and Thomas get together and set off in search of the missing (and presumed dead) sorcerer Macros the Black. Alternating between the two stories, we eventually learn that it's all tied together, and that the fate of not one, but two worlds (and perhaps the rest of reality along with them) are in the balance.

I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first two, though I think that may have more to do with the Pug and Thomas storyline than with anything to do with the book as a whole. Arutha's quest to confront Murmandus is classic epic fantasy, and includes a goodly number of battles, politics, camaraderie and heroic action aplenty. Unfortunately, when it comes to Pug and Thomas, their journeys through space and time simply didn't seem to fit well with the rest of the narrative, and in places came across as almost psychedelic in nature. While I can see some definite links to the more esoteric works of earlier writers, particularly Michael Moorcock, I'm not sure the world-hopping or the 'city at the end of the universe' worked quite so well here.

Despite that, I'd still consider this to be a good book, and a worthy ending to the first Riftwar trilogy, and will continue reading the rest of Feist's work for as long as it continues to entertain me.
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I'm reviewing Feists 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

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
and so on ... look for the rest of the reviews in the coming months.

Darkness at Sethanon is suppossedly the last in the Riftwar Saga. Perhaps Feist thought his trilogy was the end of everything. It was actually the start. However the beginings of this epic world were also to lead to some of it's shortcomings in other works. In this case though Darkness at Sethanon is another fabulously rich and compelling story. I guess I must have read this for the forth time now and each time I read these books I find some other detail I missed during the first reading. The world he creates is amazingly immersive and apart from 1 or 2 equally talented writers in the world, Feist can't be touched. To try and understand what I mean and why Feist's books are so good, do you ever get to a 'good' bit in the book and you can't wait for it to happen and you are so excited you kind of speed read to get there and then read it equally fast as you devour the action? Well you do that a lot in Magician, Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon. Hence when you can calm down a bit and re-read the books you pick up all sorts of other gems in the description. It's like watching an exciting movie at 2x speed then finally sitting back and watching it again at normal. Brilliant story and book. Lovely tie in's with Janny Wurts books (Daughter, Mistress of the Empire etc. set on Kelewan)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 January 2012
A Darkness at Sethanon (The Riftwar Saga) is the third installment in the Riftwar saga, following Magician (Riftwar Saga) and Silverthorn (Riftwar Saga). It continues one year after the end of Silverthorn, with a similar encounter with the Nighthawks. This time, however, Murmandamus is ready for the final battle. Again as in Silverthorn, there is a quest to start off with, however this one develops differently, into a series of epic battles between 'the Enemy' and the forces rallying around Arutha conDoin.

There are some surprises but overall it is a book following a linear path, without too many complications and is in my opinion the most action packed of the three (not necessarily the best - I would still give this title to the first one - Magician (Riftwar Saga)).

There are two main paths that the author interweaves - that of Arutha and his companions, and that of Pug, Thomas and Macros the Black. The latter explains a good deal of the background of Midkemia, and as expected, the two converge at the final battle, when Murmandamus finally has to be vanquished or else.

As the others, it is fairly easy to give to younger readers (early teen I recon) without fear of nightmares, as Feist wrote in an earlier time, when violence and sexuality were quite a bit more masked (this is nothing like Joe Abercrombie (i.e. The Blade Itself: Book One Of The First Law (Gollancz S.F.))).

As with Silverthorn (Riftwar Saga) the author does a good thing in presenting a short summary of the previous two books in the beginning, so that if you did not read the others immediately before, you are reminded of the main events.

While not as complex as something written by Tom Lloyd (The Stormcaller: The Twilight Reign: Book 1: Book One of the Twilight Reign), it is still a good and interesting read and like Silverthorn (Riftwar Saga) something you can easily finish in a day.

In my opinion the second best of the trilogy but still good enough for 5 stars.
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on 1 April 1999
A Darkness at Sethanon proves to be a masterly and consumate finale to the Riftwar trilogy. It manages to maintain the momentum of it's predesessors, Magician and Silverthorn, whilst keeping the epic narrative on course. The action and adventure is relentless as familiar and new characters are drawn towards a satisfying and exhilarating climax. This is skillful storytelling and a classic page-turner. I would highly recommend the Riftwar trilogy and I am looking forward to exploring more of Raymond Feist's stunning fantasy worlds.
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on 27 February 2015
series started well. book two was ok. book three is becoming unreadable. got about 75 pages left of a 466 page book but i have been reading just to finish the story.

magic was not the main attraction for me. magic was not that well done. others, later written series like wheel of time and steven erikson in malazan book of the fallen etc do magic and wars much better then this, but a lot of ideas appear here first. pugs POV and later the POV of jimmy the hand were enjoyable earlier but are not enjoyable any more. pug and tomas are on a quest to rescue macros the black. however magicians on dragons travelling through space and time ( and beyond death) were not very believable and spoil the entire series . ******** BIG SPOILER****************

whole thing just becomes very far fetched and annoyingly badly written when all three get trapped it a time travel curse, which takes them back slowly. solution? increase the speed of curse. they go all the way back and witness the big bang which somehow ends the curse.
plenty of action but i found it unengaging. elves/goblings/trolls and marmandamus are not very entertaining.
i will read to the end, even though i don't want to anymore, but the magic is long gone.
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