Author – Raymond E Feist

Year – 1986

Pages – 527

Genre – Fantasy

Series – The Riftwar Cycle

(Book 6 of 2022)

In 2017 I started rereading The Riftwar Cycle of books by Raymond E Feist by again picking up Magician. Nearly five years on and I have finally gotten around to finishing the first trilogy of these books. A little bit of research tells me that there are now thirty books in this series, so I still have a bit of reading to go. At this rate I will be done by nearly 2050.

A Darkness at Sethanon concludes the first trilogy of this lengthy series. A year after the events of the previous book, Silverthorn, and Prince Arutha is again under threat from assassins. With the help of Jimmy the Hand, he has to avoid being killed so that he can gather his small band of trusted friends and overcome the threat of Murmandamus and his army of goblins and dark elves. Meanwhile, the magician Pug and his friend, the powerful Tomas, must find the enigmatic Macros the Black and uncover the secrets of the universe in order to defeat The Enemy who is pulling all of the strings.

That last paragraph hits possibly every single trope of fantasy fiction – and any I missed such as dragons, you can rest assured that they are still included. And as I have been recovering from COVID the past week or so, that is exactly what I needed. A hit of pure, unabashed fantasy fare. In stark contrast to the Richard Osman book I just read, it really does roll along at some speed, and you are hit time and again with Dukes and honour and magical fires and trolls and everything else that you would expect from a major fantasy player.

In my blog of the last book in the series, I mentioned how I had misremembered it as a weak link in the series. Having read this follow up which finishes the first trilogy, I can remember what the issue was however. It isn’t that these two books are weak at all. It is simply that the first book is so incredible, and then the books that follow them really make a grand job of developing the whole world around them. These ones are a little more formulaic. The things that made this brilliant for me in the current plague-fog that I have are not the best bits of Feist’s writing. What makes him brilliant is the development of this world over a huge period of time. But that, I still have to look forward to.