Author: Raymond E Feist
528 pages • £18.99 (hardback)
Riftwars are a way of life on Feist’s world of Midkemia. In the last 26 years they’ve been invaded by more species than you can shake an armour-clad hero at, and this third book of the Darkwar series sees an adversary so numerous – and so skilled at conquest – that this time they need to stop the invasion before it even begins.
To achieve this, magician Pug, son Magnus, mysterious Nakor and god-touched soldier Bek have travelled to the world of the militaristic Dasati. Here they must survive the Dasati’s deadly butcher-thy-neighbour culture and strike at the heart of the enemy. Meanwhile, on the home worlds, Pug’s wife tries to muster the troops, as the Dasati make bloody forays to weaken the opposition before the full-blown invasion starts…
It’s the lightness of style that makes Feist’s writing such a joy. Using less detail than other authors (like Tad Williams), Feist manages to wield his descriptions to maximum effect, making every single word count. The result is highly accessible prose and an increased pace as you slide rapidly over the pages.
Depth and interest comes from the struggling characters, sustained adventure and multiple themes explored. Those themes are a lot darker here than in Feist’s earlier stories – it’ll be interesting to see if this continues into the final six Midkemia books.
Themes like the cost of war have always been inherent in Feist’s writing, so there’s a sense of repetition in Darkwar, particularly in this volume as the invasion gets underway. But there’s also, quite clearly, a resourceful imagination at work and Mad God serves up some brave twists before its tantalising conclusion.