Monday, November 16, 2009

CBII: Admin's New Band Name: Book 5 - Rides A Dread Legion - Raymond E. Feist

Let me begin by saying this: If you haven't read any of Raymond E. Feist's previous books in the world of Midkemia, this probably isn't the best place to start. While one could read through this enjoyable book and not be completely lost, you would miss a lot of the nuances that the history of the previous twenty-four (that's right) books would provide. At least read the Conclave of Shadows series first. You'll have a far better appreciation for the references and context of Rides A Dread Legion.

As I alluded, Feist has written twenty-five books in the Midkemia collection which are usually authored in trilogies. He began with Magician in 1982 and has averaged a little under one book a year in this series for the past twenty-seven years and, when compared to authors such as Robert Jordan or George R.R. Martin, that is nothing short of exceptional. That is not to say that Feist's books are of the same depth and difficulty of those authors but, when taken as a collection, they easily rival their creativity. I've read and own all of the previous books and have consumed them no less than three times which leads me to believe that there is something Feist does with his writing that keeps it fresh and interesting that is unlike other authors. Rides A Dread Legion is no exception.

The story opens with a warlock named Amirantha who is in the midst of conjuring a demon when something goes terribly wrong. Instead of the demon he meant to conjure appearing, a far more powerful manifestation enters the realm. Amirantha battles this demon (a type he has never seen before) with his companion Brandos and eventually destroys it. But upon the destruction of the demon he notices another magician's magic present, that of his brother. After some introspection, he decides he needs to investigate this impossible occurrence further after, that is, they get paid. You see, for lack of a better term, Amirantha is a grifter. He begins rumours of demons in the areas near towns, then proceeds to put on a show to cast the demon (which he has summond) back whence it came. Usually it's a lesser demon with which he has forged a sort of friendship with and, as such, poses little danger. Not this time.

We then move to a woman named Sandreena who is an Knight-Adamant of the Order of the Shield (which is the martial arm of The Temple of Dala). She is a stunning woman who grew up hard and has significant trust issues (rightfully so) with the men of the world. Beautiful, intelligent and deadly she is sent to investigate troublesome reports of bandits on the west coast and upon arrival discovers that there is far more at play than mere banditry. After she is nearly killed she travels back to civilization almost at the cost of her life to report what she has found.

Now were sent to the northern forests of Midkemia where a Pathfinder has found a odd set of footprints. He follows the tracks until they bring him to a strange person that he observes transform into a type of elf he has never seen before. The elf then proceeds to open a rift to another planet and disappear. The tracker is concerned as to what this may portend for Midkemia and sets off to discuss the matter with the king of the dwarves. Its a good thing too as the strange elf has returned to his world to reveal to his leader that he has found a new place to call home. These particular elves are fleeing their planet as they have been engaged in a centuries long war with the demon hoard and have been forced back to the last city on the last planet in their kingdom. The issue for the current residents of Midkemia is that these elves look to rule over the "lesser races" and any defiance will be met with oblivion.

What I've just given you is the synopsis for about the first four chapters. Perhaps the reason I enjoy Feist's books so much is that he crams so much into such a small space. Unlike some other authors *cough* Jordan *cough* he doesn't take pages and pages (or books and books) to expound on every little nuance of a character whether it's relevant or not. His descriptions of people, places and events are rich and detailed and serve to further the story without having to have a bloody book devoted to why a character is emo. One may think that that this may take away from the story or the entire Midkemia series as a whole, but it really doesn't. The way he alway manages to twist all the different plot arcs into a fine thread keeps me coming back for more. Feist is willing to dipose of characters that have served their purpose while introducing new ones to continue the plot. He keeps things tightly paced and thoroughly entertaining while conveying just the right amout of character motivation. Honestly people, twenty-five books and I have yet to be disappointed.


  1. Wow. You made this book sound good! I don't usually do sci-fi books but next time I'm looking for something to read I might have to try it. He is a very prolific author. Which for his fans (and his wallet) is a great great thing!


  2. jacqscott@sasktel.netNovember 17, 2009 at 9:09 AM

    Can't wait to read it, I'm half way through the last book of the Conclave of Shadows.