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Rage of a Demon King
Raymond E. Feist
Avon EOS Books, 588 pages

Rage of a Demon King
Raymond E. Feist
Raymond E. Feist has produced some remarkable novels. Most fall into his Riftwar Saga consisting of Magician: Apprentice, Magician: Master, Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon along with his Midkemia series consisting of Prince of the Blood and The King's Buccaneer plus The Serpentwar Saga consisting of Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, and Shards of a Broken Crown. He developed the basis for the award-winning game, Betrayal at Krondor.

Raymond E. Feist Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Serpentwar Saga
SF Site Review: Shards of a Broken Crown
Another SF Site Review: Shards of a Broken Crown
Return to Krondor (computer game) FAQ
Betrayal at Krondor (computer game) FAQ
download Betrayal at Krondor

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Todd Richmond

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If you are a fan of Raymond Feist, you have probably already read Rage of a Demon King, the third book (of four) in The Serpentwar Saga. In fact, you probably bought it the moment it hit your local bookstore in hardcover last spring. There are few of us who can resist his books once we start reading them. Perhaps you have not read Feist's books: The Riftwar Saga, the other books set in Midkemia, or the Empire series with Janny Wurts. Shame on you. Go pick up Magician: Apprentice and start reading. Why? Because Raymond is a master storyteller who weaves exciting, sweeping epic tales which delight readers from book to book.

Feist is one of the few authors who takes his characters from cradle to grave. He does not just show us bits and pieces of his character's lives; he allows us to watch them grow and develop into the men and women we admire in his stories.

The Serpentwar Saga begins with Shadow of a Dark Queen. Erik von Darkmoor is a blacksmith in the small town of Ravensburg. He is the bastard son of Baron Otto von Darkmoor and his tale begins when he finds his stepbrother attacking a girl and accidentally kills him. Forced to flee with his childhood friend, Rupert "Roo" Avery, the two men attempt to make their way to freedom in the Sunset Islands but are apprehended along the way. Instead of the hangman's noose they are allowed to join a group of prisoners being trained for a dangerous reconnaissance mission. We see Erik grow to become a quiet, capable sergeant, and even the frail but cunning Roo is molded into a solid soldier. Both men are granted their freedom upon their return to Midkemia, and while Erik decides to continue his service in the King's army, Rupert decides to follow his dream.

Rise of a Merchant Prince details Rupert's adventures as he sets out to pursue his dream of becoming a wealthy merchant. Using his intelligence and cunning, and his connections to the throne, he exceeds all expectations and becomes one of the richest men in Midkemia. Erik joins in an attempt to destroy the Pantathians, the serpentmen thought to be behind the Emerald Queen's army, by launching an attack on their birthing caverns. Meanwhile, Midkemia begins its preparations to meet the army of the Emerald Queen.

And so we come to Rage of a Demon King. The Emerald Queen's army is almost upon Midkemia and the army is staging. Erik is sergeant-major of the King's armies and Rupert is almost single-handedly financing the war. The Emerald Queen and her army are making for the Lifestone, a magical source of power capable of destroying worlds. Vast preparations are being made in Krondor, the anticipated point of invasion by the Emerald Queen's army, and all of Midkemia's allies are being called upon to help (and a few enemies as well). Without giving away the ending, I will tell you that there is a fourth book, Shards of a Broken Crown.

There are a lot of secrets revealed in Rage of a Demon King. Some of the more mysterious figures who have inhabited Feist's books are finally seen in a clearer light. The origins of Macros the Black and where he has been since the Riftwar are revealed. We finally find out who Miranda is, the powerful sorceress who appeared in earlier books and who has been spending time with Pug. Nakor's "secret", that there is no magic, is explained. All are good reasons to read this book if you are a fan of Feist. My only criticism is that the book seemed to end too quickly. It does not feel rushed but there is a lot packed into the last hundred or so pages of the book.

If you are not already a fan, hopefully you will read one or more of his books and become one.

Rage of a Demon King shows many of Feist's talents. It shows his ability to develop characters and make you care about their fate. His talent for conveying the quiet desperation of doomed men and their calm resolve as they meet their end. And finally it shows his belief that even men of humble beginnings can achieve greatness.

Copyright © 1998 by Todd Richmond

Todd is a plant molecular developmental biologist who has finally finished 23 years of formal education. He recently fled Madison, WI for the warmer but damper San Francisco Bay Area and likes bad movies, good science fiction, and role-playing games. He began reading science fiction at the age of eight, starting with Heinlein, Silverberg, and Tom Swift books, and has a great fondness for tongue-in-cheek fantasy àla Terry Pratchett, Craig Shaw Gardner and Robert Asprin.


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