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Rides A Dread Legion
Raymond E. Feist
HarperVoyager, 424 pages

Rides A Dread Legion
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: Wrath of a Mad God
SF Site Review: Into A Dark Realm
SF Site Review: Flight of the Nighthawks
SF Site Review: King of Foxes
SF Site Review: Talon of the Silver Hawk
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

'"But the People are wed to tradition."

Gulamendis nodded in agreement. Entrenched belief were difficult to challenge. Those in power were so certain that a Demon Master had caused the invasion that it was only by fortune's favour he still lived.'

Rides a Dread Legion is set ten years after the events portrayed in Wrath of a Mad God, and introduces yet another cataclysmic threat to Midkemia. A lost tribe of elves, the taredhel or people of the stars, are facing annihilation by a demon horde. Just in time, they find a way back to the place they consider to be their ancestral home; Midkemia.

Many things have changed since they fled the Valheru, none more so than the taredhel themselves. Changed in nature, they are now more at a home in cities than in woodland. Grown both in stature and power the star elves consider themselves rulers, and arrive ready to crush any who stand in their way. Be they lesser races, such as men and dwarves, or Midkemian elves who the taredhel judge as rustic cousins. But this arrogance and aggression has to be tempered by the reality that the taredhel have been losing for a long time, and desperately need allies, not fresh enemies. Once a huge empire spanning several worlds, they are now reduced to survivors. The presence of the taredhel quickly comes to the attention of Thomas, Warleader of Elvandar, and soon after to Pug, master magician and leader of the Conclave of Shadows. Two taredhel brothers, one a Demon Master, set out from a newly founded city in a remote region of Midkemia, on separate covert missions to discover the extent of the demon presence, but also to see if they can win friends. The brothers, who are not without supporters among their race, realise that the taredhel need to change if they are to have any hope of surviving the coming invasion. That the demons will come, is something of which they have no doubt.

The title of this book is a little misleading as the legion is a horde of carnivorous demons, and none of them are riding. For now, what we have is a smartly paced start, which quickly involves many old favourites, and introduces some interesting new blood. Among the newcomers are the Demon Master Amirantha, his grizzled warrior sidekick, Brandos, and Arimantha's former lover, now Knight-Adamant, Sandreena, who in turn works for Father-Bishop Creegan. But chief among the new characters are the two taredhel, Laromendis, an accomplished conjurer, and Gulamendis his Demon Master sibling. This time around, Raymond E. Feist artfully integrates the new with the old, stumbling only occasionally. Once, quite humorously, when a character describes the new elven city as having been christened. Elves are many things, but not a single one on Midkemia has ever worshipped Jesus. The other, more serious issue, is the introduction of a character named Belasco, who is revealed to be a blood relative of an old enemy, someone well known to Feist's readers. Belasco is portrayed as powerful, relentless and very dangerous, but is sprung out of nowhere in terms of Midkemian mythology. A trick which begs the question, why if he's so big and bad has he never before played a part in any Midkemia saga? Perhaps Feist has a good reason in mind, and that will be revealed as the story progresses. Some enticing future revelations are dangled teasingly, including the existence of a traitor in high places, a possible coup among the taredhel, and the strong likelihood of long established characters meeting their end. More than enough to make me eager to read whatever comes next.

It bodes well that Feist is willing to sacrifice one major character in the first book of this new series, which so far appears not to have an overall title. There is also the on-going threat of the prophecy hanging over Pug, that he is doomed to watch everyone he loves die before him. That may or may not be true, given the nature of the gods who have been manipulating the magician for his entire life. Things have an uncomfortable habit of not turning out to be quite the way they seem. But what I can say with certainty is that Feist is back on top form, and really delivering the goods. The characters are in place, the scenes are set, and on the evidence of Rides A Dread Legion, it's going to be a wild ride.

Copyright © 2009 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

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