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Talon of the Silver Hawk
Raymond E. Feist
HarperCollins Eos, 380 pages

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: Exile's Return
SF Site Review: Prince of the Blood
SF Site Review: Murder in LaMut
SF Site Review: Krondor: Tear of the Gods
SF Site Review: Krondor: The Assassins
SF Site Review: Krondor the Betrayal
SF Site Review: Serpentwar Saga
SF Site Review: Serpentwar Saga
SF Site Review: Rage of a Demon King
SF Site Review: Shards of a Broken Crown
SF Site Review: Shards of a Broken Crown

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

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'A great deal of Talon's life was now centred around waiting. He was waiting to discover what he was being trained to do, for now he was certain that Robert and the others had a purpose for him.'
Talon of the Silver Hawk Over the years, Raymond E. Feist has entertained me well. So it was with a certain relish and no little expectation that I began the first book of a new Midkemia adventure. It started with Talon, a young boy on the edge of manhood in a nation not unlike the Apache. The only survivor of a genocide, as far as he knows, Talon is taken under the protective wing of those allied with the Conclave of Shadows. The next few chapters were concerned with him growing up, slowly and often with quite tedious exposition. I found this lack of grandeur rather uncharacteristic, for a Feist novel. Dismissing the idea that body snatchers had done away with the author, I eventually managed to discern the root of the problem. Talon of the Silver Hawk read as if its author was trying to alter his style, and make the little things big. The style that sprang to mind belongs to Guy Gavriel Kay, an author who has the ability to weave the minutia and subtleties of life into something mesmerising. Unfortunately, this is not a technique that Feist is able to emulate. His gift is for world building and epic sprawl. It took over a hundred pages before I was reading paragraphs that seemed as if they'd come from the keyboard of the man who wrote A Darkness At Sethanon. Even then, it was only because some old favourite characters were tossed into the mix to liven it up.

Much to my relief, things changed in part two. All in a rush I was immersed in high magic versus low politics, assassination attempts, and the feeling that the whole of Midkemia was, once again on the brink. The Raymond E. Feist I knew was back on track, dumping the dull in favour of rapid development and action. As if realising that his central character lacked that vital spark, Feist has Talon assume a whole new identity, as Talwin Hawkins. The one big problem that remains is that neither Talwin -- or the reader -- has any real idea why he is on this new path. Others continue to shape his life, presumably for some greater purpose, but what that might be is still a mystery. This deliberate withholding of information from the reader was something I found frustrating. Don't know equalled don't care. But, there were glimpses of situations more recognisably Feistian, and flashes of characters that showed promise. Just enough to make me place the next book in this series on my "to read" list. Others may disagree, but for me Talon of the Silver Hawk was a long way from Feist's best work. It seemed more like fantasy by numbers, and some of them were in the wrong order.

Copyright © 2005 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at www.inkdigital.org.


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