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Honored Enemy
Raymond E. Feist and William R. Forstchen
HarperCollins Eos, 336 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.

ISFDB Bibliography
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: Jimmy the Hand
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

William R. Forstchen
William R. Forstchen was born in New Jersey in 1950. He was educated by Benedictine monks and graduated from Rider College in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He taught history for ten years and ran workshops on creative writing in Maine. In 1989 he returned to graduate school at Purdue University, where he gained an MA in European history. He is currently finishing a Ph.D, specializing in nineteenth-century American military history. His first novel, Ice Prophet, was published in 1983, and since then he has written many others. He has also written numerous short stories, fiction for young adults, science articles and a number of guest editorials, including a publication with the Chicago Tribune.

William R. Forstchen Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

Honored Enemy One of the standard practices in any war is the vilification of the enemy. This can be as obvious as using derogatory names for them to more insidious propagandistic techniques. In Honored Enemy, the first book of the Legends of the Riftwar series by Raymond E. Feist and William R. Forstchen, the enemy forces of Kelewan and Midkemia find that in order to survive they must work together, and perhaps discover some of their hatred is misplaced.

Dennis Hartraft was forced into the Riftwar on his wedding night, when a band of Kelewan warriors raided his father's holding, killing everyone who was dear to Dennis. Nine years later, he holds a hatred of the enemy close to his heart and a desire to ensure that all the Kelewan soldiers involved in the attack are killed.

The book opens with Hartraft's forces moving in an area where they are skirting the Kelewan troops under Asayaga. However there are indications that a moredhel, or black elf, threat is also in the area and the two forces' only hope of surviving the moredhel is to work together. Feist and Forstchen do an excellent job creating a palpable, and realistic, tension between the two groups. The result of which is that the reader can never be sure that even the most minor incident won't result in conflict.

Even as the two groups fail to mix as a whole, there are indications that friendships can develop. Two of the younger warriors, the Midkemian Richard Kevinsson and his Kelewan counterpart, Osami, are able to strike up a friendship. The priest Corwin is willing to treat the wounds of men on both sides. Even Asayaga and Hartraft are able to treat each other civilly, despite never fully trusting each other and their knowledge that when they are safe from the moredhel they will order their troops to attack each other.

Although Honored Enemy is set against the backdrop of the ninth year of a major war, it isn't a war novel. The active war remains consistently in the background, although its concerns are reflected in the relationships the characters build. It is the relationships which form the crux of Honored Enemy.

While Honored Enemy is billed as book one of the "Legends of the Riftwar," that designation is misleading. The other two novels, written by Feist with Joel Rosenberg then with Steve Stirling, are completely unrelated and, like Honored Enemy stand on their own. To enjoy Honored Enemy, therefore, the reader need have no previous or additional experience with Feist's worlds, although having it will enrich the reading experience.

Honored Enemy demonstrates that it is possible to write a novel of soldiers in a time of war without focusing almost exclusively on the strategies, tactics and logistics of the war. To often, war novels seem to be treatises on how to conduct a war, written with such detail that wargamers and reenactors could recreate every movement and death in the book. Honored Enemy steers clear of this trap and is better for it, a novel that those who dislike warfare can enjoy.

If you're a fan of the Riftwar saga, reading Honored Enemy is a natural progression. If you haven't made an acquaintance with Midkemia, Honored Enemy may not be the best place to start (that would be Magician), but you could definitely read it without prior knowledge and get a feel for the series as a whole and see some interesting and good character development.

Copyright © 2006 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a five-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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