A Kingdom Besieged was my first introduction to Feist s novels The author makes a huge assumption that I have read his previous books This assumption is revealed in the fact that he spends almost no time introducing his characters By the middle of the book I had to assume that if I didn t know who someone was, they must have been brought forward from an earlier series Since this book is touted as book one of a new series, I felt tremendously disappointed I then researched Feist s writing history and discovered, yes indeed, these were recurring characters from his previous books.
Now the question was whether or not I wished to read all twenty seven books that preceded this one even though this is touted as number one in a new trilogy just to figure out who is supposed to be a good guy and who s the bad guy By the middle of the book I got tired of guessing, and besides, I was bored to tears by the unrelenting passive voice Life is much too short to bother with such a book or with an author who has so little respect for new readers.
The first of the last trilogy Wow And SO many years after the first Magician book came out.
It feels like we re coming to a full close but doing it in GRAND style We spend a lot of time in the fifth circle of the demon realm, following some wickedness around and just waiting to see her transformation into the Big Bad we ll have to face in a totally unprepared Midkemia Well, not TOTALLY unprepared, but Pug is only one man and his Isle of Wizards is only SO powerful These demons are going to TEAR through the world We re already seeing signs of it Hints And then, Kesh is going ahead after so many years of relative peace and hammering the kingdom Hard Good new characters even if they re old echoes of their grandsires or great grandsires Echoes of Jimmy and Martin Sigh The great parts of this book are the same great parts that we ve loved in the prior books Sieges, the warfare of all kinds, the scraping by with bare survival, retreats The sense of doom is pervasive and this is just the usual kind of warfare doom But what s driving the Kesh north And also the twist at the end The new, perhaps last BIG reveal MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA okay I love it.
The darkness is coming If you are a fan of epic fantasy novels, knights, battles, kings, queens, magicians, elves and everything related to them this is a fantasy world you ll love.
The story of Midkemia started 26 books ago and still worth waiting every single book In this 27th book the Kingdom is threatened by the empire of Great Kesh Spies from both the Kingdom and Roldem are disappearing or turned to the enemy side And when Jim Dasher, an agent from both the Conclave of Shadows and the Kingdom tries to find out what is going on he discovers an old enemy is still alive The Padathians, yet again, are playing a mysterious role in the new war that is threatening the Kingdom.
While we learn about the Keshians moving against the Kingdom we meet new members of the con Doin family Martin is the middle son of the duke of Crydee and as the men of the west answer the King s call to muster, he is left to guard Crydee Keep Everything seems quiet until an invading army shows up at their doorstep and all hell breaks loose.
Another brilliant thing about this book is that for the first time we get to see the demon realm We realize that demons are not as different from humans as we originally thought and we follow a pack of them who is trying to escape the Void that is starting to cover the realm destroying everything that it touches.
Filled with heroic battles, magical sceneries, romance and chivalry, this book is the first one from the Chaoswar Saga, the last known trilogy of Midkemia, but I wouldn t recommend it to anyone that hadn t read the previous books.
Feist is, without a doubt, a master of his kind and can keep even the most demanding readers hooked on every book.
To me this book felt like a well needed return to form for Feist The Demonwar saga was a let down for me but this, the start of the end, really got things back on track The action was good and varied, Pug wasn t wallowing so much and started to seem like himself again, the story of Child was great and the pieces are all moving into place.
There were some negatives of course The amount of characters is starting to get confusing, especially with Feist s love of naming them the same thing I need a full family tree to wrap my head around it.
Tomas was missed He is a good character and at least should have had an appearance I m glad Feist is getting back on track and I m looking forward to seeing how this epic series ends With the twist at the end of this book I d say it will be very interesting.
A Kingdom Besieged is the latest book in the long running Riftwar Cycle by Raymond Feist and the first in what appears may be the final trilogy of the story Depending a bit on how one chooses to count, this is the 19th book in the primary series which is subdivided into a variety of sagas , with an additional 9 related books 6 co authored retroactively filling in story gaps with alternate tales and points of view Broadly speaking the primary series has generally declined in quality through time, with the first books being the best and the later books the worst Happily, A Kingdom Besieged goes a long way to reversing this trend, as it is easily better than all eight books making up the last three sagas, and at times almost recapturing the magic of the first few tales A Kingdom Besieged begins about five years after the end of the previous book, At the Gates of Darkness It s a broad tale of war and intrigue, although not a dense or difficult read The story moves at a rapid pace, with a few twists and turns but nothing particularly shocking or surprising I very early on guessed what was probably meant to be the biggest shock twist in the storyI don t know whether it was telegraphed or I just got lucky As with many other books from the series, it contains a mix of new and established characters as the primary drama starts to shift to a new generation Manyh of these characters harken back a bit to the characters from the earlier stories sometimes blatantly and deliberately , which is perhaps why they resonate so well The ending is solid, without a blatant cliffhanger, but still setting up numerous plot threads to be tackled in the next two books.
One of the biggest problems with the last few books in the series and particularly the previous book was the lack of what I would call craftsmanship It was not so much that the story and plot and characters were particularly bad, but rather that the writing and editing fundamentals were sorely lacking In particular, there were numerous redundancies and gross inconsistencies such as having the same character in two different places simultaneously that simply showed sloppy writing, editing, and an insufficient attention to detail that detracted from the story Thankfully, such inconsistencies appear to be largely absent from this book, allowing the reader to stay absorbed One craftsmanship flaw still remains, however, which is a tendancy to redundancy For example, in chapter 1, Feist writes It was called the Magician s Tower, for once the Duke s ancestor, Lord Borric, had given it over to a magician and his apprentice.
In chapter 19 he writesto the roof of the tower known as the Magician s Tower because it was where Pug and his mentor, the magician Kulgan, had resided deacdes before.
The text in chapter 19 is completely extraneous he already explained where the name of the tower comes from It s almost as if these chapters were written completely independently with no thought or bearing to how they fit together into a single book this was not the only case of such repetition.
Overall, I found this book to capture much of the excitement I remember when first reading the earliest stories 25 years ago and for the first time in quite awhile I am actively looking forward to the next book to learn what will happen next.
I have been a huge fan of Feist since I read the Magician as a child originally, it was the charisma of the characters and the sheer scope of the tales that brought me back to Feist over and again, but this was the first instalment I have read in a number of years and I now remember why Each new instalment just feels like a rehashing of old characters This novel is set in the distant future to the Magician and yet barely a page goes by where we don t get a reference to one of the characters from the original trilogy This story had some interesting moments and some great scenes but overall it fell far from the mark for me, relying too heavily on exposition and struggling to forge new ground I haven t read a new Feist book since the Serpent War saga, and this was on sale at AUS recently and I snapped it up I enjoyed the drips of Midkemia history through those original stories of Arutha Martin Lyam and Jimmy The Hand.
I enjoyed this story, with the only parts that lost me being Samareena s story encounter with the NightCaps who turned out to be Nighthawks Other than that, the pacing was fine I d seek out the other stories in the series but probably only if they come on sale.
I, of course, went on to read the Krondor s Sons duology, along with The Empire Trilogy which had the added bonus of introducing me to Janny Wurts I drifted away from Midkemia after that, however, having found that the opening chapters of The Serpentwar Saga were too sparse, too militaristic, too far removed from the core characters, and somehow lacking in the sense of magical epic ness that made the first saga so compelling.
When I heard Feist was working on the story of the final Riftwar, I knew it was time to catch up, to re familiarize myself with the world, and see things through to the ominously titled Magician s End.
That brings us to A Kingdom Besieged, the first book of The Chaoswar Saga Much to my delight and relief , reading this opening volume was very much like revisiting old friends The same epic sense of storytelling that I remembered was back, along with myn old friend Pug at the forefront, once again a major force to be reckoned with Feist does a superb job of casually recapping the prior sagas, bringing up details in conversation, or reflecting on past events in the character s thoughts He never info dumps or delays the story, just slowly and naturally brings the world and the reader back together.
There s a lot to like here, not the least of which is the story of Child, the rather unusual demon who grows in both stature and power, all the while approaching a level of sophistication that s almost human It s not clear what role she will have to play in things, whether she ll offer salvation from the darkness devouring the land, or prove to be a harbinger of the end times, but she s a compelling character In fact, she just may be the most chilling character I ve encountered in an epic fantasy, a character with the potential to destroy the world along with the intelligence and cunning to know precisely what she s doing and why.
Similarly, the reintroduction of Pug into world affairs is a welcome addition to the story, acknowledging the tragedies that have come before and gently, politely, respectfully resolving them His relationship with his sole surviving son is an interesting one, especially given the dark pact he made with the future in the original saga, but you can t help but hope Feist will find away around demanding the ultimate sacrifice More importantly, Pug seems ready to take a role in world affairs once again, which promises to set up some interesting confrontations, but also ensures the possibility of survival for Midkemia.
What I appreciated most about the story, however, is the novelty of Kesh s plans for conquest Feist has done conquering armies before, both human and inhuman, and done a solid job of directing battles and armies in ways that make logical sense, but which still manage to surprise Here he takes things in an entirely new direction, introducing us to armies that are designed solely to make landfall and send the residents scurrying for cover Rather the press the advantage and invest themselves in siege, however, the armies simply hold their ground while the refugees they ve collected are set loose to colonize the land This is not a conquest by swords, pole arms, pikes, and magic spells, but one by spades, hoes, shovels, and farming This is not a war of attrition, but a simple matter of displacement.
It s not year clear how all these events will converge, what role the elves will deign to play, or just how much the Pantathians surprise are responsible for, but it s clear that change is in the air It s a next generation Riftwar, with grandsons and great nephews stepping up to take the place of their heroic forefathers, guided by the continuity of Pug I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am glad I decided to revisit Feist s world On to At the Gates of Darkness next originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins Feist Has The Universe Firmly Under His Control Contra Costa Times Feist Has A Natural Talent For Keeping The Reader Turning Pages Chicago Sun TimesMidkemia S Fifth And Final Riftwar The Devastating Chaoswar Explodes In The Opening Volume Of Raymond E Feist S Spectacular New Epic Fantasy Trilogy Of Magic, Conflict, And World Shattering Peril A Kingdom Besieged Is A Breathtaking Adventure That Brings Back Pug First Introduced In Feist S Classic Debut Novel, Magician, And Now Midkemia S Most Powerful Sorcerer Who Faces A Major Magical Cataclysm That Forces Him To Question Everything He S Ever Held As True And Dear Including The Loyalty Of His Beloved Son Magnus The Chaoswar Promises To Be The Crowning Achievement In The Three Decades Long Career Of A New York Times Bestselling Master Fantasist Who Rules The Sword And Sorcery Universe Along With Terry Goodkind, George R R Martin, And Terry Brooks