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12 August 2009

Rides a Dread Legion

Raymond Feist
ISBN-13: 978-0061468360
Rating: Buy, Softcover, New

When I introduced Mrs. Bugbear to the Belgariad it got me reading quite a bit of high fantasy again. Lately, as I've noted previously, I've plowed through most of the late David Eddings works as well as David Weber's War God series (Bahzell Bahnakson) and a lot of Raymond Feist. Mr Feist lives in southern California and I happened to meet him in a bookstore in San Diego about 15 years ago. He was there for a book release signing for Rise of a Merchant Prince, I believe and I ran into him while he was wandering around the store afterwards. I found him to be polite and well-spoken with a good sense of humor.

I've also found his work to be very good although I see a much stronger influence of D&D in his later works. Rides a Dread Legion is the first in a new series by Feist. It follows the further adventures of the Magician Pug as he confronts a new threat to the world of Midkemia. I've generally enjoyed most of the stories from Feist about Midkemia. Unlike most serial fiction lately Feist sets up a story arc that lasts three to four books and then proceeds to a new story. Although he usually uses the same main characters, secondary characters eventually fade into the background or die (sometimes of old age) which has the effect of renewing the setting. Rides a Dread Legion starts with a new tribe of elves invading Midkemia. The elves are a breath of fresh air, they are arrogant, convinced of their own supremacy and a bit evil or bysantine compared to the typical Tolkienesque elves. I greatly appreciated the non-standard elf characterization, now if Feist would just write about an artistic, beneficent, charitable kind hearted dwarf best friends with an intelligent noble-spirited orc, I'd be estatic. It's nice to see stereotypes broken occasionally.

Feist writes a good yarn with good characterization and my only complaint would be that he hasn't got the sequel published yet. A solid novel by Feist and if High fantasy is your tipple with a twist of D&D then you'll enjoy almost any of his books based in Midkemia.

Now if Mrs. Bugbear would just let me put a new bookshelf in the bedroom I'd could stop double stacking my paperbacks.

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