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The Serpentwar Saga (1) - Shadow of a Dark Queen Paperback – 7 Nov 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Paperback, 7 Nov 1994
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; New edition edition (7 Nov. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002246120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002246125
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,697,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"An epic reading experience... Unpretentious, fast-paced... "Shadow of a Dark Queen works admirably."--"San Diego Union-Tribune "Classic...Feist has a natural talent for keeping the reader turning pages."--"Chicago Sun-Times --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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this sequel to The King's Buccaneer, author Raymond Feist takes us back to his magical world of Midkemia, some twenty four years later. Erik von Darkmoor and Rupert Avery have been convicted of murder, but are offered their lives if they will join a mad scheme, joining a group of desperate men on a secret mission from which they may or may not return. The evil Pantathian snake men are hatching a new plot on the continent of Novindus, and someone needs to find out what they are up to and, if possible, to stop them. But, this is indeed a dangerous mission. Can Erik and "Roo" survive? And, what will they find in Novindus?
Raymond Feist's Riftwar books were great, with epic adventure and magic, while his later books enjoyed a somewhat smaller scope. But, with this, the first book of the Sepentwar Saga, Mr. Feist has returned to the big time. The story is grand, with adventure written as big as the continent that it takes place on! The action is gripping and will leave you on the edge of your seat - it starts on page one, and, after a somewhat slow introduction of the main characters, gains momentum, and charges through to a magical (literally) crescendo!
Yep, this is a great book, the start of a great trilogy. I like the characters and the setting, and really enjoyed the new race introduced, the reptilian Sauur. Most of all, I liked the Hall of Worlds with its fascinating inhabitants. I so hope that Mr. Feist will consider writing a book that develops the Hall of Worlds more!
So, I would say that this is a simply excellent fantasy book, one of the best that was ever written, and I highly recommend it to you. Buy this book!
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By A Customer on 6 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Another excellent installment in the Midkemia books started with 'Magician'. Old favourites like Nakor and his everlasting bag of oranges return. My brother couldn't read the Midkemia books because he found a character called Pug hard to take seriously. Get past this and you find perhaps one of the best developed Magician characters going. His ideas of his limitations mean that you will not find impossible situations fixed at the drop of a sorcerers arm, meaning Feist has to have intelligent solutions to get his other characters out of a fix.
The Hanging sequence was gripping and tense, the emotions running throught the characters real and believable.
I hope Erik Von Darkmoor is developed further.
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Format: Paperback
At first I was disappointed as I read this book, so much was set up in the previous two books, prince of the blood and Kings buccanear, that wasn't explored as I had hoped. A large time gap occurs between the events of kings buccanear and this book.
So it begins with completely fresh characters in a vaguely familiar world, things have changed a little, society has advanced slightly in the economicak sense anyway.
The story centres on Erik Von Darkmoor, the bastard son of a Baron in the kingdom of the isles. Erik is a young blacksmith whose life under goes dramatic turns for the worse because of the jealousies of his legitemate half brothers. On the run with his friend Roo he quickly ends up as a soldier on a secret mission to the continant of Novindus.
The serpent war saga is my favourite series in the Midkemia books, it needs to be read by YOU.
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Format: Paperback
Well quite simply Feist is a genius. If you are a fan of the Riftwar saga then this the first in the Serpentwar saga adds another dimension to Feist's fantasy world.
With all the broohaha of Lord of the Rings at the moment - it is refreshing to read a fantasy action story with immense depth. If you are new to Feist then start with Magician - this is for knowledgable Feist fans only.
The story is far too immense to go into too much detail here. Needless to say the Panathian serpent preists are evil bleeders.
I can't wait to read the rest of the series. My life will be empty when I have no more Fesit to read...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set across the sea from the Kingdom, this book gives a feel of ever widening the world of Midkemia. Drawing from characters from the previous books in the Riftwar Saga, there are some wonderful appearance of much loved characters that create continuity. I love reading books where at the moment you start wondering what has happened to a set of characters or what they are doing, they make an appearance and change events unfolding around them. Feist is a master of this. With Pug the Magician acting almost as a background character to the events that follow Eric Von Darkmoor and Calis son of Tomas. Most of the battle and action of the novel takes place around and away from the characters giving a sense of the war raging around them but not alienating the reader. This allows for character development and relationships to grow through the adversity that they face and the pain of death to be shown. Feist isn't afraid to kill off characters either, which always leaves me with knots in my stomach as to who will survive encounters with the enemy and who won't. Superbly crafted, it had me cheering and worrying right alongside the characters and mourning the deaths of some along the way.
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Format: Hardcover
Whether you've read REFs books from Magician onwards or not, you could still pick this up and go with it. Feist is far from the perfect writer but he has a style and method that is endearing to readers of all types.
This is the first of a series that begins some time after the RiftWar and features characters from previous books. Feist explains and introduces them within the storyline almost seamlessly.
The series hinges on serious events but builds on the lives of two characters in particular: Erik von Darkmoor and Rupert Avery, two boyhood friends who through various misfortunes, find themselves in deep, deep trouble. Just when things can't get any worse for them, it does.
Coincidentally the world of Midkemia is facing destruction from armies over-running the continent of Novindus, and when they're done there, they will probably destroy the rest of the world too.
What to do? Read on of course. Feist doesn't just produce character after character. He has them behave like normal human beings and manages to combine storylines about people, planets and existence, with unprecedented skill. They are insinuated into your own life without you being aware of it. You really want to know what happens next.
Some of the text is at times disappointing and somewhat patronising, in particular where he mixes colloquial Americanisms and 16the century English. But so what? They're rollicking good stories and despite borrowing from other fantasy writers, he puts it all together so well you don't really mind.
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