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Murder in LaMut
Raymond E. Feist and Joel Rosenberg
HarperCollins Voyager, 324 pages

Murder in LaMut
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: 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 Steven H Silver

When authors collaborate, each writer should bring something of their own to the collaboration. While most authors work together to create something out of whole cloth, Raymond E. Feist and Joel Rosenberg have attempted something novel in their book, Murder in LaMut. Feist has provided his detailed world of Midkemia, which first impinged on the public conscious in 1982 with the publication of Magician, while Rosenberg introduced his trio of heroes, Pirijol, Kethel and Durine from the Guardians of the Flame series, although without reference to their origins.

As the title of the novel suggests, this is a mystery, although not typical of that genre. For one thing, The vast majority of the novel builds the setting of LaMut and the political situations of the characters as well as the personalities of the protagonists. The authors also lay the groundwork for the different possible motives for the eventual murder. Secondly, once the murder is committed, Feist and Rosenberg reveal that Midkemia has no tradition of criminal investigation. The three protagonists must therefore create their techniques from scratch even as they face a tight deadline and hostility from the assembled nobility and potential employers. Murder in LaMut is paced well, although the authors should have considered lengthening the novel between the discovery of the murder and their ultimate denouement. This period could have been used to additionally build the philosophical question which is eventually raised concerning justice and punishment, which is proposed, but never fully answered to the reader's satisfaction, even though it satisfies the detective dilettantes of the book. Unfortunately, as the mercenary trio works to discover who the murderer is, they cobble together a technique which is extremely familiar. It would have been more interesting, and perhaps more realistic, if they had managed to come up with an alternative technique to the one which has grown out of the standard detective story. Such innovation would also have provided a rationale for the need to have the men figure out how to solve the crime. At the same time, it makes the reader wonder how earlier crimes in Midkemia had been resolved.

While Feist brought his setting to the novel, it is really Rosenberg's characters who take center stage. The general situation on Midkemia is referenced, but most of the action is taking place off stage and the major battle between the Kelewanese and the Midkemians is in a period of a lull when Murder in LaMut takes place. Rosenberg's characters could easily have solved the same problems in another setting, not least of which would include Rosenberg's own world.

Overall, Murder in LaMut is an enjoyable novel which may serve to introduce Feist's readers to Rosenberg's works and Rosenberg's readers to Feist's works. While it is, on the surface, a fantasy, there is little magic appearing in the pages, and the story could have worked, in a way, as an historical fiction novel, which shows the strength of the tale.

Note: I have been assured by one of the authors that the character Steven Argent is not, in fact, named for me, but rather for another SF author.

Copyright © 2003 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). 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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