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on 26 July 2002
Feist's "Riftwar Saga" has long been one of my favourite fantasy series. The combination of epic adventure, well-written action scenes, a believable fantasy world and interesting characters meant that the books in the series were always interesting. The first thing to say about this latest Riftwar book is it is quite different in some ways from the previous books in the series, it lacks the epic scope and there are few action scenes. Fortunately, the believable fantasy world and interesting characters are still present here, and the quality of writing is up there with Feist's best.
The title of the book is possibly slightly misleading - although there is a murder mystery the main entertainment here is in the interactions of the three main characters. Pirojil, Durine and Kethol are three veteran mercenaries who have a rather cynical view of life but are likeable and are very good at what they do. After they are given the unenviable task of having to protect a minor nobleman from rumoured assassination attempts they find themselves sucked into the complexities of LaMutian politics, which despite their reluctance they deal well with. Feist's books have produced a number of memorable characters but these are among the best in the series.
Since the book is set entirely in one provincial city it lacks the epic scope of, say, Magician and there aren't any of Feist's trademark large battle scenes here but the dialogue and characterisation is good enough to make this a very entertaining read.
Like his previous collaborations (with Janny Wurts in the Empires books and William Forstchen in "Honoured Enemy") this book is a high quality as the main-series Riftwar books, while being different enough to be a refreshingly original read.
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on 16 February 2015
A genre mash-up is not an easy thing to pull off, but a murder mystery set in a fantasy world sounds like it should work and it does. However, whilst ‘Murder in Lamut’ by Raymond E Feist and Joel Rosenberg proves that crime fiction works in a fantasy setting, it also shows that bad crime fiction is bad anywhere. ‘Lamut’ tells the story of three mercenaries who become embroiled in local politics and murder. As the only neutral people around, they are given the task of investigating a gruesome case.

However, this case takes about 300 pages to start. The majority of the book is a slow build up as we are introduced to the world and the characters, who later become suspects. Call me old fashioned but I have little interest in learning in great depth the local politics of a city that does not even exist, but this does not stop Feist and Rosenberg doing just this. The book drags along at a snail’s pace at times.

Some of the basics that make for good crime fiction are missing; there is no pace and there is a confused narrative. It is a shame as the three mercenaries promise lots; one is intelligent but ugly, one is brutal but calm, the other is approachable but impulsive. In the right book these three characters would be excellent. I would probably try another book in the series if Feist and Rosenberg start by writing an intriguing murder mystery to begin with and then build the fantasy on top. As it is, this book feels like it lacks a solid foundation.
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VINE VOICEon 20 August 2002
I admit that this book is far better than the series involving the magician Sidi, however Murder in LaMut just isn't up to Feist's high standard. In reading this book, I felt almost as if the a story had been made up as Feist went along. It doesn't feel well planned, and the character are weak. I completed the book, and immediately moved on: no reflection on the story, or the characters. It's not all bad: Feist's worst is better than many aspiring novelists best. Just don't expect "Magician" quality.
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on 30 June 2002
Well a new Feist book is something I always look forward too. I have his entire range and have read them many times. I have to admit that I have been disappointed with the quality of his recent work. Tear of the Gods was particularly poor. Honoured Enemy did display a return to form although is in no way "classic Feist" so I was optimistic about Murder in Lamut.
Having finished Lamut, not difficult given it's short length, I feel strangely non plussed. There is nothing wrong with the writing. The characters do their jobs well enough and the landscape is described in the usual vivid style. However the book lacks two essential ingredients. The first being a tangible feeling of continuity with the rest of the series. This is set in the Feist world but does little to confirm that. Beyond vague references to the world and characters we know and love, this could be any one of a number of fantasy novels. By introducing all new charcters, with the exception of Fantus, the reader is divorced from the Riftwar saga which this book is supposed to be set in.
The second problem for me was the nature of the story. This is no action packed adventure. Indeed this is no adventure, period. What we have here is Feist meets Columbo. Gone are the dramatic confrontations of Magician, Honoured Enemy and Sethanon. Instead we are left with a bog standard murder mystery which in all honesty is not that engaging. I left this book wondering what the point was. It does not add anything to the world of Midkemia as a whole and does not make a great statement by itself, indeed it is instantly forgetable. Perhaps the problem lies with the need for two authors. He does not have time to write all the books he wants too himself so brings in help and guides them in the right direction. As a result we are not reading his work. We are reading another authors interpretation of Feist's world. In my opinion this somewhat dilutes the work. All in all one for the fans, for the sake of completeness if nothing else, but do not worry if you miss it. Ultimately you will not miss anything that adds to the saga...
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on 11 July 2002
Right at the start, this is no swashbuckling book. Be warned. Even though it is setup during the Riftwar time, it is only a background for the story.
This book got me interested because of the 3 mercenary characters, which are transposition of 3 of Joel Rosenberg's characters in his universe. These guys are funny to follow around struggling in a politic situation they want nothing about.
I won't judge the book by usual Feist Riftwar standard since it is a different kind of story. However, I think it would have been more successful as a murder/mystery story if the investigation for a murder started much sooner than the last 50 pages or so.
I give it 3 stars because I was not bored reading it. It is interesting to read. But don't start this book thinking "wow! at last a Feist book". You would be disapointed.
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on 22 August 2003
I am an avid fan of feist, his early books magician, silver thorn etc...were the best I have ever read.
unfortunately the same cannot be said of Murder in Lamut, at best it is an average who dunnit - not a very good one at that(its transparent and you will guess the culprit very early on).
the characters are shallow - and could have been so much more. The mercenaries could have been central characters of the calibre of arutha, jimmy the hand, pug etc.. but they were never really given the chance.
In short if you are a fan who has read all his books you will be disappointed..if you haven't you will think it merely average.
To the new reader I say - this is well below average for the great man. if you want a proper sample of what he can do read Magician I guarantee that you will be hooked.
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on 17 December 2012
I started to re-read all of Raymond feists works in a chronological order this time instead of the order they were published. It gives the whole riftwar saga a better spin .... or it does in some cases....

SO intially it goes
Magician 5 stars
Jimmy the HAND 2 Stars
Horored Enemy 4 stars
Murder in LaMuT 3 stars.
and so on ... look for the rest of the reviews in the coming months.

Now for this particular book he's once again in co-authorship with someone else. Someone without his ability. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad but it's not Feist. The original Midkemia apparently was formed when Feit and a number of friends were roll playing in their youth and Midkemia and it's rich makeup were born from those late nights of dice rolling. I think one of the things Raymond tried to do is once he had successfully launched Magician and Midkemia was to try and inject the same collaborative fun and mix of ideas he experienced during roll-playing. However apart from 2 exceptions those he engaged with simply weren't up to the task of writing a truly great story. Raymond provided them with a wonderful backdrop but the authors weren't able to match his ability as an author.
In Murder in LaMut the co-author has dropped in what apparently were 3 characters he favoured in a similar environment into the Midkemian world and ran the story from there with just a slight nod to some of the main events and characters of Midkemia. So in reality this was really a sandalone story that could have been added to any fantasy world with the plot etc. being totally portable.

I's a shame. It took me nearly half the book to begin to engage with the characters but I feel that if the writing had been better and integration better we might have had a truly new story line that could have run for a couple of more books. Something like Janny Wurts was able to do in the Mistress trilogy.

Anyway if you're working your way through these book ... enjoy them all, they all add something, just some more than others.
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on 28 July 2005
This book was definately of a very different flavour than the rest of Feist's novels, however I believe it definately worked. If you are looking for an epic volume in the grand scheme of the Riftwars then this book is not for you. However, if you have fallen in love with Midkemia and Kelewan and you want to explore nooks and crannies of these worlds then Murder in LaMut is excellent.
Rosenberg successfully exports Kethol, Piroji, and Durine from his Guardians of the Flame series and they are unlike any of Feist's normal characters. Most of the original Riftwar cast consists of nobles, Elves, and honourable folk. These three however, are only in it for the money. It is refreshing to realize that there are more than just despicable villians and honourable hereoes in Midkemia--we get a close view into the life of three commoners (albeit well traveled mercenary commoners ;-)).
Now that I think about it I believe I would have been disappointed if this novel had followed the usual Feist fantasy "formula" (not that his writing is truly formulaic) and been some sort of a grand quest. This novel was meant to be a divergent view into Midkemia and it succeeds admirably in my view. It isn't just the books that I enjoy, it is the worlds Feist has shown us and Murder in LaMut exposes an entirely new dimension of Midkemia.
One last point, the murder mystery proper doesn't show up until the end of the book--however I believe this is a mistake on the publisher's part when they wrote the description for the back of the book. Really this book is about Kethol, Pirojil, and Durine more than just the murder. Furthermore, the mystery may not be polished--but this isn't a world of precise police procedure, or modern investigative methods, and the three mercenaries aren't professional detectives. :-)
I would also reccomend The Empire Trilogy written with Janny Wurts for a similarly expansive and different view of Feist's world.
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on 3 April 2003
I have to admit that given that the first Legends novel seemed a rather by the numbers affair I had low expectations of this novel. I was happily surprised. Whilst this doesn't hit the heights of the Riftwar Saga, to date Feists best work, it was a pleasent enough read, quite entertaining as a reflection on the Three Musketeers and Dumas as the Acknowledgements mentions. As ever the strength of Feist's work is the diversity and complexity of his world and his description, rather than an evocation of, the everyday life. Joel Rosenberg remains something of an unknown quality beyond his work in this book, though his contribution is fairly obvious and pleasently counter's Feist's weaknesses in a way that the co-author of the last Legends novel. All in all a sound read and a promising continuation to the series.
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on 19 January 2004
To disagree with the previous reviewers I really quite enjoyed this novel.
It stood away from the typical fantasy view of people in particularly mercenaries, rather than simply being heroes for hire, or no good scoundrels about to run off with the loot we where given 3 intelligent and well thought out characters. Who then proceeded to simply try and keep their heads in the middle of a mess.
OK this doesn't fit in with Feists normal novels, but at the moment I would personally say thats a relief. Joel Rosenberg has written a very intresting novel that fits nicely into Feists world, coming in somewhere about the end of Magican (thou no specific time is given) and nicely answers a question that was never asked in Magican. If you are looking for a few days reading that will give the grey matter a light excerise and bring an odd wry smile then I highly recommened this book, however its not going to blow your socks off and its not going to challenge Magican for quality.
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