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
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.
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.
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.
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.
on 7 April 2016
If you are wondering whether tk buy this or not, then the answer is: Buy it. You will love this book and every book that goes with it. To say Raymond is a legend would be an understatement. You will lose yourself in the magical universe that he has created.
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)!
on 20 April 2015
A terrible end to a series with a promising start. After Magician the trilogy has just gone downhill from there. Silverthorn was bad enough, but some of the ways Feist continued the plot was just useful. Some of the last chapters were just pointless backstory filler, at the END of the trilogy. I will never pick up another book by this author again. Sad.
on 20 June 2013
A Darkness at Sethanon is the stunning climax to Raymond E. Feist's brilliant epic fantasy trilogy, the Riftwar Saga. Here be dragons and sorcery, swordplay, quests, pursuits, intrigues, stratagems, journeys to the darkest realms of the dead and titanic battles between the forces of good and darkest evil. Here is the final dramatic confrontation between Arutha and Murmandamus - and the perilous quest of Pug the magician and Tomas the warrior for Macros the Black. A Darkness at Sethanon is heroic fantasy of the highest excitement and on the grandest scale, a magnificent conclusion to one of the great fantasy sagas of our time.
on 24 May 2015
Excellent book that provides a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. You will have to have read the first two to get the most from this book, but for fans of the first two it will be well worth it. Continues the epic theme of the trilogy although without the unhindered ambition and scope of the first.