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A Kingdom Besieged (Chaoswar Saga Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

An enjoyable return to Midkemia . . . and a taste of The End

When I heard Feist was working on the story of the 'final' Riftwar, I knew it was time to catch up, to re-familiarize myself with the world, and see things through to the ominously titled Magician's End.

That brings us to A Kingdom Besieged, the first book of The Cha...
When I heard Feist was working on the story of the 'final' Riftwar, I knew it was time to catch up, to re-familiarize myself with the world, and see things through to the ominously titled Magician's End.

That brings us to A Kingdom Besieged, the first book of The Chaoswar Saga. Much to my delight (and relief), reading this opening volume was very much like revisiting old friends. The same 'epic' sense of storytelling that I remembered was back, along with myn old friend Pug at the forefront, once again a major force to be reckoned with. Feist does a superb job of casually recapping the prior sagas, bringing up details in conversation, or reflecting on past events in the character's thoughts. He never info-dumps or delays the story, just slowly and naturally brings the world and the reader back together.

There's a lot to like here, not the least of which is the story of Child, the rather unusual demon who grows in both stature and power, all the while approaching a level of sophistication that's almost human. It's not clear what role she will have to play in things, whether she'll offer salvation from the darkness devouring the land, or prove to be a harbinger of the end-times, but she's a compelling character. In fact, she just may be the most chilling character I've encountered in an epic fantasy, a character with the potential to destroy the world . . . along with the intelligence and cunning to know precisely what she's doing and why.

Similarly, the reintroduction of Pug into world affairs is a welcome addition to the story, acknowledging the tragedies that have come before and gently, politely, respectfully resolving them. His relationship with his sole surviving son is an interesting one, especially given the dark pact he made with the future in the original saga, but you can't help but hope Feist will find away around demanding the ultimate sacrifice. More importantly, Pug seems ready to take a role in world affairs once again, which promises to set up some interesting confrontations, but also ensures the possibility of survival for Midkemia.

What I appreciated most about the story, however, is the novelty of Kesh's plans for conquest. Feist has done conquering armies before, both human and inhuman, and done a solid job of directing battles and armies in ways that make logical sense, but which still manage to surprise. Here he takes things in an entirely new direction, introducing us to armies that are designed solely to make landfall and send the residents scurrying for cover. Rather the press the advantage and invest themselves in siege, however, the armies simply hold their ground while the refugees they've collected are set loose to colonize the land. This is not a conquest by swords, pole-arms, pikes, and magic spells, but one by spades, hoes, shovels, and farming. This is not a war of attrition, but a simple matter of displacement.

It's not year clear how all these events will converge, what role the elves will deign to play, or just how much the Pantathians (surprise!) are responsible for, but it's clear that change is in the air. It's a next-generation Riftwar, with grandsons and great-nephews stepping up to take the place of their heroic forefathers, guided by the continuity of Pug. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am glad I decided to revisit Feist's world. On to At the Gates of Darkness next.

posted by Beauty_in_Ruins on April 9, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

slooow reading

Not one of David's best works. He sets scenes in this writing exercise that are full of words but do little to advance the story line.

posted by jhinman on October 5, 2011

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  • Posted April 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    An enjoyable return to Midkemia . . . and a taste of The End

    When I heard Feist was working on the story of the 'final' Riftwar, I knew it was time to catch up, to re-familiarize myself with the world, and see things through to the ominously titled Magician's End.

    That brings us to A Kingdom Besieged, the first book of The Chaoswar Saga. Much to my delight (and relief), reading this opening volume was very much like revisiting old friends. The same 'epic' sense of storytelling that I remembered was back, along with myn old friend Pug at the forefront, once again a major force to be reckoned with. Feist does a superb job of casually recapping the prior sagas, bringing up details in conversation, or reflecting on past events in the character's thoughts. He never info-dumps or delays the story, just slowly and naturally brings the world and the reader back together.

    There's a lot to like here, not the least of which is the story of Child, the rather unusual demon who grows in both stature and power, all the while approaching a level of sophistication that's almost human. It's not clear what role she will have to play in things, whether she'll offer salvation from the darkness devouring the land, or prove to be a harbinger of the end-times, but she's a compelling character. In fact, she just may be the most chilling character I've encountered in an epic fantasy, a character with the potential to destroy the world . . . along with the intelligence and cunning to know precisely what she's doing and why.

    Similarly, the reintroduction of Pug into world affairs is a welcome addition to the story, acknowledging the tragedies that have come before and gently, politely, respectfully resolving them. His relationship with his sole surviving son is an interesting one, especially given the dark pact he made with the future in the original saga, but you can't help but hope Feist will find away around demanding the ultimate sacrifice. More importantly, Pug seems ready to take a role in world affairs once again, which promises to set up some interesting confrontations, but also ensures the possibility of survival for Midkemia.

    What I appreciated most about the story, however, is the novelty of Kesh's plans for conquest. Feist has done conquering armies before, both human and inhuman, and done a solid job of directing battles and armies in ways that make logical sense, but which still manage to surprise. Here he takes things in an entirely new direction, introducing us to armies that are designed solely to make landfall and send the residents scurrying for cover. Rather the press the advantage and invest themselves in siege, however, the armies simply hold their ground while the refugees they've collected are set loose to colonize the land. This is not a conquest by swords, pole-arms, pikes, and magic spells, but one by spades, hoes, shovels, and farming. This is not a war of attrition, but a simple matter of displacement.

    It's not year clear how all these events will converge, what role the elves will deign to play, or just how much the Pantathians (surprise!) are responsible for, but it's clear that change is in the air. It's a next-generation Riftwar, with grandsons and great-nephews stepping up to take the place of their heroic forefathers, guided by the continuity of Pug. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am glad I decided to revisit Feist's world. On to At the Gates of Darkness next.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2011

    Welcome back, Mr. Feist!

    If you're an old fan, be happy. This book reads like the "old Feist." If you're like me, you were disappointed in the last 2 novels but this installment is more of the original. The new characters are enjoyable, the older ones introdueced in the last 2 books are more thought out. The story is slow in a couple of places but overall is well thought out. I am looking forward to the 2nd book--next year. New readers will be able to jump right in without worrying they are missing something from the other books-Feist does an excellent job of filling in the blanks without boring us old fans. There are a couple of plot twist that I think old fans will LOVE-sorry, no spoilers or even hints. Thank you Mr. Feist for returning--now if you could take care of the Crawler.....

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The first thriller in the alleged fifth and final Riftwar saga is an exciting opening act

    On the world of Midkemia, the Lands of the Kingdom and the Empire seem at peace as the former gained land lost to the latter during the last war. Surface serenity proves deceiving because for years the Empire secretly have prepared for a return to hostile engagements. The Kingdom realizes they may have a major problem when intelligent agents fail to come home with useful information.

    The mighty army of Kesh marches into the Kingdom and capture towns and killing residents as they plan to retrieve what they lost in the last Riftwar. They replace townsfolk with Kesh colonists who prefer the more fertile land than what they had back home. Their force reaches the strategic estate of the Duke of Credy as the Kesh know whoever controls this land has the upper hand in the hostilities. While the siege is occurring, Pug, the mightiest magician in the world, realizes something is brewing in the Demon Lands. Though he prefers to ignore the threat and stay home, Pug knows he must travel there to learn what is happening and how to prevent a calamity from occurring while helping the Kingdom fight the Kesh.

    The first thriller in the alleged fifth and final Riftwar saga is an exciting opening act although another invasion feels somewhat weary for fans of the long running series. Still with what appears to be coming from theDemon Land provides the freshness to what would have proven trite by most fantasists. Readers will root for the Kingdom as the loyal cast fear they may be losing, but refuse to abandon ship. Although Pug should be ancient and scarred, as his son reminds him, he prepares for combat on an arcane plane as fans of the Riftwar will relish the first tale in the Chaoswar military fantasy in which the Demon horde led by a powerful Demon female and her followers prepare to enter Midkemia.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Disapointment

    I'm half way thrugh the book and so far I can summerize my investment in time spent as total crap. What happened, his books use to be good.
    I want my four hours back.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    A welcome improvement

    I have been a Feist fan since I discovered "Magician" in 1999. Some of his recent work was a bit disappointing, but for me "Kingdom Besieged" marks a return of the Feist I know and love. I am very excited for the next book in this series--only a few weeks away!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    slooow reading

    Not one of David's best works. He sets scenes in this writing exercise that are full of words but do little to advance the story line.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 19, 2011

    Wonderful

    I can't wait until next one. As usual very well written. I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Not as good as previous books

    Starts of slow with the introduction of mutliple characters and locations. So many in fact, that you find yourself wondering what's going on. The story moves slowly and though I finsihed the book, I don't think I'll finish the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Slow start but great book

    Recommend to anyone who enjoys Feist's writing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    worth reading

    In line with the his other trilogy's. A good tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Guthix

    *hums*

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    Highly recommended - please check it out!

    Outstanding book. Can't wait to start on the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Highly Recommended !!!

    Had been waiting for this book.
    Avid readers : that there is a new chapter in the world of PUG that a lot of readers are going to be waiting for - the return of some familiar characters and a reinforcement at a time that it is needed most.
    This is going to be a fun read. cant wait for the next book.

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    Uru"

    Uru-u::n- u:: g ::

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Best in a long time

    Good story...some great characters coming back...was a good read. It sets up for a lot more in next book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Yawn

    I think Feist is running out of ideas. He needs to learn that people are not going to auromatically buy anything with his nane on it. Still love the early stuff, though.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Amazing!

    Another stunning read from a master storyteller! Wonderful plotline and charecter continuity. A tale with many beloved charecters and some new ones to follow through another epic saga.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2011

    Typical Feist but extremely short

    This book is typical Feist in so many ways and was a good read, but I was disappointed in how short it was. Paying full price for the ebook edition was twice too much. Hold out until it is under $10.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    Feist staisfies again

    While keeping with his usual style this was still a good read. If you are looking for a surprise from Feist this may not provide it but still a ripping yarn.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    Stop Insulting Our Intelligence

    *tsk**tsk* HarperCollins. $0.05 discount for the digital version ($14.99 vs $15.04 at the time of this review). I'll be back to purchase when you price this version at an amount that makes logical sense.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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