Magician: Apprentice (Riftwar Series #1)

( 96 )


To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry. Yet Pug's strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order ...
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To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry. Yet Pug's strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Totally gripping ... . A fantasy of epic scope, fast-moving action and vivid imagination." -- The Washington Post Book World.

"Most exciting ... a very worthy and absorbing addition to the fantasy field." -- Andre Norton

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553564945
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Series: Riftwar Series, #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Author's Preferred Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 66,448
  • Product dimensions: 4.00 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond E. Feist is the international bestselling author or co-author of twenty one novels, including Magician, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon, Faerie Tale, The Kings Buccaneer, Talon of the Silver Hawk, and King of Foxes. Feist is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, and resides in Southern California with his family. He travels, collects wine, and lives and dies with the San Diego Chargers.
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Read an Excerpt



The storm had broken.

Pug danced along the edge of the rocks, his feet finding scant purchase as he made his way among the tide pools. His dark eyes darted about as he peered into each pool under the cliff face, seeking the spiny creatures driven into the shallows by the recently passed storm. His boyish muscles bunched under his light shirt as he shifted the sack of sandcrawlers, rockclaws, and crabs plucked from this water garden.

The afternoon sun sent sparkles through the sea spray swirling around him, as the west wind blew his sun-streaked brown hair about. Pug set his sack down, checked to make sure it was securely tied, then squatted on a clear patch of sand. The sack was not quite full, but Peg relished the extra hour or so that he could relax. Megar the cook wouldn't trouble him about the time as long as the sack was almost full. Resting with his back against a large rock, Pug was soon dozing in the sun's warmth.

A cool wet spray woke him hours later. He opened his eyes with a start, knowing he had stayed much too long. Westward, over the sea, dark thunderheads were forming above the black outline of the Six Sisters, the small islands on the horizon. The roiling, surging clouds, with rain trailing below like some sooty veil, heralded another of the sudden storms common to this part of the coast in early summer. To the south, the high bluffs of Sailor's Grief reared up against the sky, as waves crashed against the base of that rocky pinnacle. Whitecaps started to form behind the breakers, a sure sign the storm would quickly strike. Pug knew he was in danger, for the storms of summer could drown anyone on the beaches, or if severe enough, on the low ground beyond.

He picked up his sack and started north, toward the castle. As he moved among the pools, he felt the coolness in the wind turn to a deeper, wetter cold. The day began to be broken by a patchwork of shadows as the first clouds passed before the sun, bright colors fading to shades of grey. Out to sea, lightning flashed against the blackness of the clouds, and the distant boom of thunder rode over the noise of the waves.

Pug picked up speed when he came to the first stretch of open beach. The storm was coming in faster than he would have thought possible, driving the rising tide before it. By the time he reached the second stretch of tide pools, there was barely ten feet of dry sand between water's edge and cliffs.

Pug hurried as fast as was safe across the rocks, twice nearly catching his foot. As he reached the next expanse of sand, he mistimed his jump from the last rock and landed poorly. He fell to the sand, grasping his ankle. As if waiting for the mishap, the tide surged forward, covering him for a moment. He reached out blindly and felt his sack carried away. Frantically grabbing at it, Pug lunged forward, only to have his ankle fail. He went under, gulping water. He raised his head, sputtering and coughing. He started to stand when a second wave, higher than the last, hit him in the chest, knocking him backward. Pug had grown up playing in the waves and was an experienced swimmer, but the pain of his ankle and the battering of the waves were bringing him to the edge of panic. He fought it off and came up for air as the wave receded. He half swam, half scrambled toward the cliff face, knowing the water would be only inches deep there.

Pug reached the cliffs and leaned against them, keeping as much weight off the injured ankle as possible. He inched along the rock wall, while each wave brought the water higher. When Pug finally reached a place where he could make his way upward, water was swirling at his waist. He had to use all his strength to pull himself up to the path. He lay panting a moment, then started to crawl up the pathway, unwilling to trust his balky ankle on this rocky footing.

The first drops of rain began to fall as he scrambled along, bruising knees and shins on the rocks, until he reached the grassy top of the bluffs. Pug fell forward exhausted, panting from the exertion of the climb. The scattered drops grew into a light but steady rain.

When he had caught his breath, Pug sat up and examined the swollen ankle. It was tender to the touch, but he was reassured when he could move it: it was not broken. He would have to limp the entire way back, but with the threat of drowning on the beach behind him, he felt relatively buoyant.

Pug would be a drenched, chilled wretch when he reached the town. He would have to find a lodging there, for the gates of the castle would be closed for the night, and with his tender ankle he would not attempt to climb the wall behind the stables. Besides, should he wait and slip into the keep the next day, only Megar would have words for him, but if he was caught coming over the wall, Swordmaster Fannon or Horsemaster Algon would surely have a lot worse in store for him than words.

While he rested, the rain took on an insistent quality and the sky darkened as the late-afternoon sun was completely engulfed in storm clouds. His momentary relief was replaced with anger at himself for losing the sack of sandcrawlers. His displeasure doubled when he considered his folly at falling asleep. Had he remained awake, he would have made the return trip unhurriedly, would not have sprained his ankle, and would have had time to explore the streambed above the bluffs for the smooth stones he prized so dearly for slinging. Now there would be no stones, and it would be at least another week before he could return. If Megar didn't send another boy instead, which was likely now that he was returning empty-handed.

Pug's attention shifted to the discomfort of sitting in the rain, and he decided it was time to move on. He stood and tested his ankle. It protested such treatment, but he could get along on it. He limped over the grass to where he had left his belongings and picked up his rucksack, staff, and sling. He swore an oath he had heard soldiers at the keep use when he found the rucksack ripped apart and his bread and cheese missing. Raccoons, or possibly sand lizards, he thought. He tossed the now useless sack aside and wondered at his misfortune.

Taking a deep breath, he leaned on his staff as he started across the low rolling hills that divided the bluffs from the road. Stands of small trees were scattered over the landscape, and Pug regretted there wasn't more substantial shelter nearby, for there was none upon the bluffs. He would be no wetter for trudging to town than for staying under a tree.

The wind picked up, and Pug felt the first cold bite against his wet back. He shivered and hurried his pace as well as he could. The small trees started to bend before the wind, and Pug felt as if a great hand were pushing at his back. Reaching the road, he turned north. He heard the eerie sound of the great forest off to the east, the wind whistling through the branches of the ancient oaks, adding to its already foreboding aspect. The dark glades of the forest were probably no more perilous than the King's road, but remembered tales of outlaws and other, less human, malefactors stirred the hairs on the boy's neck.

Cutting across the King's road, Pug gained a little shelter in the gully that ran alongside it. The wind intensified and rain stung his eyes, bringing tears to already wet cheeks. A gust caught him, and he stumbled off balance for a moment. Water was gathering in the roadside gully, and he had to step carefully to keep from losing his footing in unexpectedly deep puddles.

For nearly an hour he made his way through the ever growing storm. The road turned northwest, bringing him almost full face into the howling wind. Pug leaned into the wind, his shirt whipping out behind him. He swallowed hard, to force down the choking panic rising within him. He knew he was in danger now, for the storm was gaining in fury far beyond normal for this time of year. Great ragged bolts of lightning lit the dark landscape, briefly outlining the trees and road in harsh, brilliant white and opaque black. The dazzling afterimages, black and white reversed, stayed with him for a moment each time, confusing his senses. Enormous thunder peals sounding overhead felt like physical blows. Now his fear of the storm outweighed his fear of imagined brigands and goblins. He decided to walk among the trees near the road; the wind would be lessened somewhat by the boles of the oaks.

As Pug closed upon the forest, a crashing sound brought him to a halt. In the gloom of the storm he could barely make out the form of a black forest boar as it burst out of the undergrowth. The pig tumbled from the brush, lost its footing, then scrambled to its feet a few yards away. Pug could see it clearly as it stood there regarding him, swinging its head from side to side. Two large tusks seemed to glow in the dim light as they dripped rainwater. Fear made its eyes wide, and it pawed at the ground. The forest pigs were bad-tempered at best, but normally avoided humans. This one was panic-stricken by the storm, and Pug knew if it charged he could be badly gored, even killed.

Standing stock-still, Pug made ready to swing his staff, but hoped the pig would return to the woods. The boar's head raised, testing the boy's smell on the wind. Its pink eyes seemed to glow as it trembled with indecision. A sound made it turn toward the trees for a moment, then it dropped its head and charged.

Pug swung his staff, bringing it down in a glancing blow to the side of the pig's head, turning it. The pig slid sideways in the muddy footing, hitting Pug in the legs. He went down as the pig slipped past. Lying on the ground, Pug saw the boar skitter about as it turned to charge again. Suddenly the pig was upon him, and Pug had no time to stand. He thrust the staff before him in a vain attempt to turn the animal again. The boar dodged the staff and Pug tried to roll away, but a weight fell across his body. Pug covered his face with his hands, keeping his arms close to his chest, expecting to be gored.

After a moment he realized the pig was still. Uncovering his face, he discovered the pig lying across his lower legs, a black-feathered, cloth-yard arrow protruding from its side. Pug looked toward the forest. A man garbed in brown leather was standing near the edge of the trees, quickly wrapping a yeoman's longbow with an oilcloth cover. Once the valuable weapon was protected from further abuse by the weather, the man crossed to stand over the boy and beast.

He was cloaked and hooded, his face hidden. He knelt next to Pug and shouted over the sound of the wind, "Are you 'right, boy?" as he lifted the dead boar easily from Pug's legs. "Bones broken?"

"I don't think so," Pug yelled back, taking account of himself. His right side smarted, and his legs felt equally bruised. With his ankle still tender, he was feeling ill-used today, but nothing seemed broken or permanently damaged.

Large, meaty hands lifted him to his feet. "Here," the man commanded, handing him his staff and the bow. Pug took them while the stranger quickly gutted the boar with a large hunter's knife. He completed his work and turned to Pug. "Come with me, boy. You had best lodge with my master and me. It's not far, but we'd best hurry. This storm'll get worse afore it's over. Can you walk?"

Taking an unsteady step, Pug nodded. Without a word the man shouldered the pig and took his bow. "Come," he said, as he turned toward the forest. He set off at a brisk pace, which Pug had to scramble to match.

The forest cut the fury of the storm so little that conversation was impossible. A lightning flash lit the scene for a moment, and Pug caught a glimpse of the man's face. Pug tried to remember if he had seen the stranger before. He had the look common to the hunters and foresters that lived in the forest of Crydee: large-shouldered, tall, and solidly built. He had dark hair and beard and the raw, weather-beaten appearance of one who spends most of his time outdoors.

For a few fanciful moments the boy wondered if he might be some member of an outlaw band, hiding in the heart of the forest. He gave up the notion, for no outlaw would trouble himself with an obviously penniless keep boy.

Remembering the man had mentioned having a master, Pug suspected he was a franklin, one who lived on the estate of a landholder. He would be in the holder's service, but not bound to him as a bondsman. The franklins were freeborn, giving a share of crop or herd in exchange for the use of land. He must be freeborn. No bondsman would be allowed to carry a long-bow, for they were much too valuable--and dangerous. Still, Pug couldn't remember any landholdings in the forest. It was a mystery to the boy, but the toll of the day's abuses was quickly driving away any curiosity.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 96 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 96 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:


    The Riftwar Saga was one of the very first fantasy series that I read and was partly responsible for getting me forever hooked on the genre. That was about 15 years ago, and I still felt like I remembered the entire plot, it had such an effect on me. I decided to revisit the world of Midkemia to see how the story holds up to my slightly more mature perception and much more critical nature.<BR/>Needless to say, I was most thoroughly impressed! For this to be Feist's first novel is incredible. IMO this story surpasses some of the great fantasy work of all time, including Tolkein. Maybe not K S Michaels, but good work just the same. The first book introduces a familiar but complex world with characters that you can't help but fall in love with. The plot is so intricate and all-encompassing as to be almost mind-blowing. Watching as Feist flawlessly develops the story of a common seeming medieval town with a couple of normal seeming boys into a grand tale of war, magic, love, and tragedy is a joy. The overriding theme of this first book in the story is one of growing and maturing as a man. Watching as Pug and Tomas encounter hardships and trials, then come out stronger is the primary focus.<BR/>Remember this book from when you were young? Try it again, it will still impress!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2005

    I'm no novice.

    I'm no novice where fantasy books are concerned. As my genre of choice I have very high standards for authors that choose to write of magic in particular. As an avid reader, I have done nothing but sing Feist's praises to anyone who will listen. What a glorious world he creates. I have been enthralled with Midkemia since I first picked up Magician when I was nine years old. Now, twenty-one years later, I am still eagerly anticipating each new story. I love the fact that I can revisit old friends in new settings. I have all of Feist's books in hardback. TWICE a year I disappear from my family, friends, and co-workers to take a vacation in The Kingdom of Isles.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Magician- Apprentice

    Raymond Feist is a awesome writer.The storyline is great the way he bring the two worlds together, and the way Pug struggles to understand his powers as a great magician. This is one of many books by this author that are both great and thrilling until the end. I have read all the books in the series. All the books take you out of this worlk and into the world of Pug's two worlds that he is tring to save. Great read

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Love Raymond E Feist

    I have read this book countless times and it never fails to entertain me.
    Feist has to be one of the best Sci-Fi writers of all time, in my opinion.
    His characters are so real and the stories keep you riveted. Once I start
    reading this book I can't put it down. I love the little twists and turns he puts into this book, but most of all I love the characters. You feel like you know his characters personally and are sharing the adventure with them. I highly recommend this book to anyone and of all ages. Then...get ready for the next book in the series - Magician: Master

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    I loved this book and this series. However, I recently purchase

    I loved this book and this series. However, I recently purchased a NOOK and am buying all my favorite series for it, except this one. It isn't available for NOOK. Why not?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Loved the Series

    First book I read from Raymond and now I cannot wait to read more from him

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  • Posted April 13, 2011


    This is a classic fantasy novel that will always be on my shelf at home. This is where it all began. The riftwar saga. It shows the very beginnings of Pug the Magician (who remains a character througout most of Feist's series).

    If you're looking for a good fantasy read, you can not go wrong with this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011


    Good plot but honestly I think it is poorly written the author seems to contradict himself in his writing and some situations are unrealistic

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Better the 2nd time around

    this was great when i read it years ago and even better now ;0

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Classic Fantasy Novel

    An interesting start to a good story. Though I would have liked to have a more complete story in this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting start to a long saga

    I have just started the Rift War Saga. It is a very good start. I know from what I have read that it gets better. This first book in the saga leaves a lot of explanation out, i.e., who are the invaders? Why are they coming to Midkemia? WHat does their world look like?
    This makes the reading even more thrilling actually as we ask for more.

    The action is fast-paced. My only critique against that book is the carbon-copy of Lord of the Rings with section where Pug and his friends cross a mountain through an ancient dwarf mine, with a similar dramatic exit... but I won't spoil this to anyone.

    This said, it is a great start to an interesting saga that keeps you wanting more.

    Having started the second book, a lot of answers are answered about the invaders, as the action takes place mostly in the world on the other side of the rift.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Magician Apprentice

    This set of storys will grab you and suck you in....Once started you have to read them all!!!

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  • Posted August 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Just Your Average Fantasy Novel

    When I was in Middle School, I was an avid Feist reader. I read just about all of his books and loved them at the time. However, as I look back on these books, I can't notice anything special about them. Similar to all modern fantasy there's a protagonist who didn't know his full place in the world until an old guy reveals to him that he's special and then embarks on a protracted "epic adventure". How cliche. I honestly could not think of reading anything more mundane. If your a middle schooler or someone who just wants to read a mediocre fantasy book, be my guest. If you're the type of person that wants to read a novel with substance, I would suggest looking at Barnes and Noble Classics. Anyone of those will amount to more in the end than this one. Trust me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A truly majestic journey

    This book was wonderfull, and it only gets better throughout the series. A well written and believable world. Full of unique and interesting characters that come alive and captivate your very mind. The author writes as if he is taking you with him across the world of Midkemia. You come to care about all the characters and can also relate to them all..The story is filled with many places, people, things, magics, beast and etc...Its has all a fantasy lover could ask for. It's a story that never gets old when told. Please take time and take in EVERYTHING as you read this series. Trust me, you will want to experience this journey as long as you can. I love this series so much that Im making a big map of the world "Midkemia" to hang on my wall, so I can better understand where places are. It makes the experience and journey more real...I have read fantasy all my life and nothing compares to the adventures of Feists' world or characters....From Pug, Thomas, Kulgan, Tully, Arutha, Jimmy the hand, The elves, dwarves, keshians, tsurani. Vast oceans, far off lands,mystic beings and races of people. long journeys, heart aches, horrors, battles, blood, magic, prophecies, gods, godesses, victory, defeat, destruction, unity, deception, murder, bravery, cowardness, sadd, happy, etc.....You will laugh and you will cheer. You will also cry. I highly recommend you read this book and series, and after reading book 2. take a break and read the daughter of the empire books to better understand the world of the Tsurani.....PLEASE READ WITH PLEASURE AND ENTER THE WORLD OF MIDKEMIA.....ENJOY!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    The Beginning of an Epic World

    Magician: Apprentice is the debut to Raymond E. Feist's epic world of Midkemia. This novel tells the story of a young orphan castleboy named Pug whose luck turns as he is seleted to become the apprentice to a wily old wizard. The adventure begins when Pug and his friend Tomas discover the wreck of a warship the likes of which no one has seen before. This novel, along with all of Feist's stories in the world of Midkemia are among the greatest fantasy works of recent times. I highly recommend this novel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2006

    Impressive, yet I didn't quite get the plot.

    Magician: Apprentice... Hm, now I understand MORE about the whole world of Midkemia, hence first reading Tear of the Gods before this, which I proudly would rate ***** stars. I came to this book particularly because I wanted to understand this whole concept of fantasy, and how Pug from a youth became to be a great magician. Honestly, though enjoyable, I felt as if this book was devoid of plot (or hardly recognizable). I might sound peevish and ignorant, thus I must read Magician: Master next to fully comprehend whats going on, but overall I would have rated this a good 'build-up' to the more desirable novels by Feist, particularly Tear of the Gods (which I've read 3 times--so be-a-utiful!) Anyhow, though understandable and imaginative, I only could give 4 **** save that the plot was kinda weak and the book seemed to jump from place to place and that the Tsurani invasion was WAY to fast for my taste (The Riftwar Legacy books seemed to overrate the neccessity of the Riftwars). OKAY, now that I revealed my blunt side... AHEM... OVERall, this book is highly recommended... and every part of fantasy is tangible enough to make you desire more of Midkemia and Kelewan!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    480 Pages - One Spell - Magician?

    For a book titled 'Magician's' anything - I would have expected more than ONE spell, not just one spell cast many times - I mean ONE SPELL! The book should be titled, 'Another Medieval story - now with Marshmallow Aliens!'. Where's a good fireball when you need one.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2005

    very good book

    This book, and the 2nd riftwar saga book are great. I didn't read the third riftwar saga book, but Im sure I'll like it. I could not put this book down when I started.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2005

    Awesome book

    I wasn't much of a fantasy reader untill I read this was so captivating and just kept me turning pages!!! i now read fantasy books like no other thanks to this book!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Fantasy for any reader...

    I am a constant reader and have been known to pick up a few fantasy novels here and there, but I had been away for awhile. I asked my fiancee, who reads mostly fantasy, to recommend something for me. He gave me his Riftwar Saga. It's been sitting on my shelf for months, as I was hesitant to get into something that would draw me into a whole series of books...but I finally opened up Magician: Apprentice and couldn't put it down! Feist is a master at character development. I didn't mind the jumping from one character to the next, one storyline to the next. It only made the book as a whole more interesting. The medieval language and names and places of Midkemia are not overwhelming; I didn't find myself losing patience with the language and losing sight of the story. Rather, it added to the story and created a whole other world in my mind. The characters are accessible and likeable, (or delightfully evil)and Feist builds a story that keeps you guessing and wanting more. His descriptives paint a clear picture, and yet he maintains a sense of mystery that keeps you turning the pages (What is Tomas turning into? What will Pug's role be in this war? What lies ahead for Princess Carline? Who are the Tsurani and what do they want?) I love Tolkein, but I always needed a break between books to read something lighter and give my mind a breather from the language. As soon as I finished 'Apprentice,' I started right in on 'Master.' This read is enjoyable and accessible while still being rich in characters and story. Loved it! Recommend for anyone, even if you don't typically read fantasy.

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