Many thanks to FireAndWater.com (HarperCollins) for sending me this book.
When I first received Shadow of a Dark Queen, I was a bit thrightened by knowing it to be the first thick book in a fantasy-sequence. I have always a hard time to put a book away, if I find it boring, without finishing it. My ultimate fear is getting stuck with a whole sequence of books I feel I have to finish no matter what.
Imagine my surprise when I start to read the book and suddenly find myself have read 300 pages and unable to put the novel away, I just had to know what happend next.
The setting is an alternative world, in which the nights are emitted by three moons. This alternative world has much resemblens with the medieval era.
Shadow of a Dark Queen, which has the subtitle Book 1: Erik's Tale, tells the story about a young man named
Erik, who is a smiths apprentice leading his life in a rather pleasent way.
Dark forces is however lurking around, and the mysterious Emerald Queen is building a giant army of men that destroy all cities in their path. Where to they are going, no-one knows. To find out what the dark forces are up to, the most tough and desperate men are sent on a rather impossible mission;
find out what the Serpent men and their queen is up to, and return to pass this information on.
To anyone that has had the same fear as I about these thick fantasynovels, trust me on that you will surely not even notice how many pages this book consists of, you will have a hard time put the novel away.
Even though the book is the first in the Serpentwar-saga, it is rather free-standing, so you don't have to read the sequels if you don't want to.
Some fantasy-authors tends to clutter up their thick novels with loads of detailed descriptions of everything, which makes you feel like you are stuck in mud and never gets somewhere. Feist does not use this techinque, instead he brings the story forwards quite rapidly, which in my opinion gives a sense of more action and a more interesting novel.
The Serpentwar-sequence is based on settings in Feists Riftwar-sequence, to bring the gap of these two sequences together there are two novels that belongs to neither of the sequences, sort of lives in the twilight-zone of the series.
However, you do not have to read any of the other novels to dig into the Serpentwar-sequence directly.
I think this book is really great, and especially if you are a bit uncertain about the genre fantasy; you will not get stuck with pages after pages with imaginative descriptions, instead you will get a thrilling plot and story.
You can read more about this book and order it online at Amazon.co.uk.
About the author
Raymond (Elias) Feist (1945-) were born in Los Angeles, USA. He studied communication arts at the University of California, San Diego and graduated with honours and received a B.A. in 1977. He started writing as a hobby in 1977, and started to write seriously in 1978. Among authors that has influenced him he lists Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Harold Lamb, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rafael Sabatini. He has been much influenced by adventure writers from the 50s and forwards. As his fellow collegaue Terry Goodkind, Feist suffers from a form of dyslexia. He lives in San Diego, Califronia together with his wife Kathlyn Starbuck (also an author), their two children and two cats. Among his interests are collection movies, wine and horses. He is very actively around on the net and participates on mailinglists.
He has written three sequences that all are set in the same world.
The Riftwar-series, consisting of Magician (1982), Silverthorn (1985) and A Darkness at Sethanon (1986).
Two other books were added that ties together the Riftwar-series with the Serpentwar-series: Prince of the Blood (1989) and The King's Buccaneer (1992).
The Riftwar-series have been told to have traces of Feists experience as a designer of role-playing games.
The Empire-sequence were written together with Jennifer Wurtz, consisting of Daughter of the Empire (1987), Servant of the Empire (1990) and Mistress of the Empire (1992).
The Serpentwar-saga consists of Shadow of a Dark Queen (1994), Rise of a Merchant Prince (1995), Rage of a Demon King (1997) and Shards of a Broken Crown (1998)
The Riftwar legacy:
Krondor the Betrayal (1998), Krondor: the Assassins (September 1999) and Krondor: Tear of the Gods (2000).
Other books: Faerie Tale (1988)
Betrayal at Krondorm, Return to Krondor (1999)