Raymond E Feist : King of Ashes (Review)

Raymond E Feist's picture

Raymond Elias Feist
USA flag (1945 – )
Feist is one of the world’s leading fantasy writers. His Riftwar and Serpentwar Sagas have been global bestsellers for years.
Born and raised in Southern California, Raymond E. Feist was educated at the University of California, San Diego, where he graduated with honours in Communication Arts. He is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Riftwar Saga.

King of Ashes (2015)
(The first book in the Firemane series)

book cover of King of Ashes

For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as “the Firemane” for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.

As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable – and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the “Hidden Warriors,” legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith – will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.

Review

A new Feist, not only a new Feist but a new series, this has been a book i have waited for with some anticipation. I’ve been a fan of this writers work since my early reading days, Magician was a revelation, how fantasy could be written, to be epic and sweeping, and yet immediate and crammed with great characters and prose. Raymond Feist created a unique voice and style and a world that has wowed fantasy readers for over 30 years.

The question is….. can he create a new world?

When i started reading King of Ashes i felt that familiar voice, the voice that had attracted me all those years ago, there was so much familiarity that for the first few chapters it felt like i did when Talon of the Silver Hawk was released a new chapter of the same wonderful world, yet something utterly new, but that was just an echo of the writing style that i have loved, because quickly a new world unfolds before the reader.

Very quickly Raymond Feist brings a new voice to his writing, woven with echos of the past, but certainly something new and exciting. This new world of betrayal, new religion and violence given in such a way that echos Krondor, characters that have the mischievous edge of Jimmy the Hand, but warped and wefted into new people and new societies, new cultures and beliefs. Much is revealed in book one who the firemane child is, how he was raised, and yet i feel we have only just scratched the surface of the world we have entered.  Book one King of Ashes is a full complete and amazing book all in its own right, but like the Riftwar books its chock full of promise and menace for the series to come, its the start…..

This book is a high contender for my fantasy of the year, i admit partly for the nostalgia, but also because this truly is the start of something very special.

(parm)

Series
Riftwar
1. Magician: Apprentice (1982)
2. Magician: Master (1982)
3. Silverthorn (1985)
4. A Darkness at Sethanon (1986)
5. Prince of the Blood (1989)
6. The King’s Buccaneer (1989)
Magician (1982)
The Riftwar Saga (omnibus) (1988)
The Riftwar Saga Trilogy (omnibus) (2012)
Silverthorn / A Darkness at Sethanon (omnibus) (2012)
Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug (2013)
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Riftwar : The World On the Other Side (with Janny Wurts)
1. Daughter of the Empire (1987)
2. Servant of the Empire (1989)
3. Mistress of the Empire (1989)
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Riftwar : Serpentwar
1. Shadow of a Dark Queen (1994)
2. Rise of a Merchant Prince (1995)
3. Rage of a Demon King (1997)
4. Shards of a Broken Crown (1998)
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Riftwar : Legacy
1. The Betrayal (1998)
2. Krondor: The Assassins (1999)
3. Tear of the gods (2000)
4. Jimmy and the Crawler (2013)
The Riftwar Legacy 4-book bundle (omnibus) (2013)
Riftwar Legacy (omnibus) (2014)
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Legends of the Riftwar
1. Honoured Enemy (2001) (with William R Forstchen)
2. Murder in Lamut (2002) (with Joel Rosenberg)
3. Jimmy the Hand (2003) (with S M Stirling)
The Complete Legends of the Riftwar Trilogy (omnibus)(2013)
Legends of the Riftwar (omnibus) (2014)
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Conclave of Shadows
1. Talon of the Silver Hawk (2002)
2. King of Foxes (2003)
3. Exile’s Return (2004)
The Complete Conclave of Shadows Trilogy (omnibus)(2013)
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Darkwar
1. Flight of the Nighthawks (2004)
2. Into a Dark Realm (2006)
3. Wrath of a Mad God (2008)
Darkwar Saga (omnibus) (2014)
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Demonwar Saga
1. Rides a Dread Legion (2009)
2. At the Gates of Darkness (2009)
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Chaoswar Saga
1. A Kingdom Besieged (2011)
2. A Crown Imperilled (2012)
3. Magician’s End (2013)
The Chaoswar Saga (omnibus) (2014)
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Firemane
1. King of Ashes (2018)
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Novels
Faerie Tale (1988)
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Omnibus
Assassin’s Apprentice / Magician (2013) (with Robin Hobb)
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Collections
The Wood Boy / The Burning Man (2006) (with Tad Williams)
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Graphic Novels
Magician Apprentice Volume 1 (2007)
Magician Apprentice Volume 2 (2008)
Magician Master: The Great One (2012)
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Non fiction
Return to Krondor (1987)
The Atlas of Midkemia (2000) (with Stephen A Abrams)
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Anthologies containing stories by Raymond E Feist
David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (1995)

A Magic-Lover’s Treasury of the Fantastic (1998)

Legends (1998)
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