Shards of a Broken Crown (Serpentwar Saga Series #4)

( 54 )

Overview

The demon is no more. The enemy has been routed. But all is not well . . .

Winter's icy grasp is loosening on the world. The Emerald Queen's vanquished army has its broken back to the Bitter Sea. And treachery is its only recourse.

A lackey has declared himself Lord of the defeated, amassing the still fearsome remnants of a ruthless fighting force together for one final assault on a weakened, vulnerable ...

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Shards of a Broken Crown (Serpentwar Saga Series #4)

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Overview

The demon is no more. The enemy has been routed. But all is not well . . .

Winter's icy grasp is loosening on the world. The Emerald Queen's vanquished army has its broken back to the Bitter Sea. And treachery is its only recourse.

A lackey has declared himself Lord of the defeated, amassing the still fearsome remnants of a ruthless fighting force together for one final assault on a weakened, vulnerable realm.

For the warriors who remained steadfast against terrible numbers, for the courageous souls who barely survived a devastating onslaught upon their homeland, the time to rebuild and renew has not yet come. The war is not over in Midkemia. And Jimmy and Dash—two young noble brothers who stand at the center of a gathering storm—are impelled to action that could secure a tenuous peace . . . or turn triumph into catastrophe.

The demon is no more.

The enemy has been routed. But all is not well . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Fourth and final part of Feist's Serpentwar Saga (Shadow of a Dark Queen, 1994; Rise of a Merchant Prince, 1995; Rage of a Demon King, 1997). The Emerald Queen and the Demon King have both been vanquished, but poor old Midkemia, battered and smoking, is still threatened, this time by the Queen's sidekick, General Fadawah. He'll be opposed by supremo magician Pug's great-grandsons, Jimmy and Dash Jameson, as war (again) gets under way. Simultaneously, Feist seems to be setting up yet another series, as Pug, Miranda, and other good-guy magicians declare a Conclave of Shadows to oppose the madness of the Nameless One. Meantime, readers can amuse themselves by rearranging the Serpentwar titles into new, likely- sounding combinations: Rise of a Demon Crown, or Rage of a Broken Prince? Fans only—but there are lots of them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380789832
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Series: Serpentwar Saga Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 193,252
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond E. Feist is the multiple New York Times bestselling author or coauthor of thirty previous books—all but one of which are Riftwar Cycle novels. He lives in San Diego.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Winter

The wind had died.

Dash waited. The frigid bite of the air still brought tears to his eyes as he scanned the road below. The reconstruction of Darkmoor had been tedious, slowed by continuous snows and rain, as the winter proved a fickle one. If slippery ice wasn't making footing treacherous for those workmen attempting to rebuild the walls around the western portion of the city, then knee-deep mud stalled wagons carrying needed supplies.

Now it was icy again, but at least Dash was thankful there was currently no snow. The sky was clear, the late afternoon sun hinting at warmth that wasn't really there. Dash knew it was his mood as much as the weather, but this particular winter seemed to have lasted longer than any in his young life.

The sounds of the city carried through the still, icy air as the day wound down. With luck the new gate would be finished before sunset, and an extra modicum of security would be added to the sum of things that needed to be done yesterday.

Dash was tired, fatigued beyond anything he could remember in his twenty years of life. Part of it was from the seemingly endless list of things that needed attention, and

the rest was from worry; his brother Jimmy was overdue.

Jimmy was acting the part of exploring officer, a scout behind enemy lines. Prince Patrick of Krondor had decided to move hard and fast against a threat of Keshian expansion into the southern flank of the Kingdom in the spring. That meant that the retaking of lands lost during the invasion the previous summer would be left to OwenGreylock, Knight-Marshal of Krondor, and Erik von Darkmoor, Knight-Captain of the Crimson Eagles, an elite mobile force of handpicked men.

Which had meant the Prince needed information on what the invaders were doing between Darkmoor and Krondor. And Jimmy had volunteered to go see what was going on.

He was now three days overdue.

Dash had come to the edge of the patrolled area, a series of burned-out walls that marked the western edge of the foulbourgh of Darkmoor. The Prince's army in the city insured that there was little danger within a day's ride of the city, but these partial walls and piles of tumbled masonry provided ample cover for ambush and had been refuge to more than one band of scavengers or outlaws.

Dash scanned the horizon, watching for his brother. The sounds of the winter woodlands below were few and infrequent. An occasional rustle as snow fell from tree branches, or the crack of ice some miles away as the thaw began. A bird call or the rustle of some animal in the brush. Sound carried for miles in the winter cold.

Then Dash heard something. A faint sound, coming from far away. It wasn't the sound of hooves striking hard dirt and rock Dash had hoped to hear. Rather it was the rolling crunch of ice underfoot. And whoever made the sound was coming toward him with a methodical step, even and unhurried.

Dash flexed his gloved fingers and slowly pulled his sword from his scabbard. If the previous conflict had taught him nothing else, it was to always be ready. There were no safe positions outside the fortress that was the city of Darkmoor.

In the distance he detected motion, and he focused on it. A single figure trudged along the road. He was moving at a plodding walk, and as Dash watched, he hurried to a slow trot. Dash knew he was walking one hundred paces, then trotting one hundred paces, a practice drilled into Dash and his brother by their arms teachers as boys. For a man without a mount it could cover almost as much distance as a horse could in a day, more over the course of weeks.

Dash watched. The figure resolved itself into a man wrapped in a heavy grey cloak; clothing designed to make it difficult to see the wearer from any distance in the gloom of winter. Only on the bright days when the sky was clear would the wearer be easy to spot.

As the man on foot came closer, Dash saw he was without a hat, but had his head covered in a thick cloth, a scarf or torn remnant of another piece of clothing. He carried a sword at his side, and his hands were clad in mismatching gloves. His boots were filthy with mud and ice.

The crunching of snow under his tread became louder by the moment, until he stood before Dash. He stopped and looked up, and at last he said, "You're in my way."

Dash moved his mount aside and swung the horse's head around toward Darkmoor. He put his sword away, urged the animal forward and walked beside the man on foot. "Lose your horse?" he asked.

Jimmy, Dash's brother, hiked his thumb over his shoulder. "Back there."

"That was pretty careless," said the younger brother. "That was an expensive horse."

Jimmy said, "I know. But I didn't feel like carrying him. He was dead."

"Pity. That was a really good horse."

"You don't miss him nearly as much as I do," said Jimmy.

"Would you like a ride?" asked Dash.

Jimmy stopped, turned, and regarded his brother. Neither son of Lord Arutha, Duke of Krondor, resembled the other. James looked like his grandmother, slight, blond, and possessing features that could only be called finely drawn, with sapphire eyes. Dash looked like his grandfather, with tight curls of light brown hair, dark eyes, and a mocking expression. In nature, they were as alike as twins. "About time you offered," said Jimmy, reaching up to take Dash's hand.

 

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Before the live bn.com chat, Raymond Feist agreed to answer some of our questions:

Q:  Who would you consider your literary influences?

A:  My main influences were storytellers, irrespective of genre, when I was growing up. There used to be a category in publishing that doesn't exist today, called "Boy's Adventure Fiction," and that sums up a lot of those writers -- Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexandre Dumas, Rafael Sabatini, Anthony Hope. And then there were the pulp fiction writers of my youth: E. R. Burroughs, H. P. Lovecraft, and the great historical novelists Thomas Costain, Mary Renault, and Rosemary Sutcliff.

Q:  You've been quoted as saying, "I don't write fantasy; I write historical novels about an imaginary place." Have you read any historical novels in the past year that you would highly recommend?

A:  I reread Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset, which is still one of the best Arthurian historicals around. As for new historicals, not yet.

Q:  How vital do you think it is to read the first three books in your Serpentwar Saga before reading Shards of a Broken Crown? Would an unfamiliar reader be okay with picking up Shards of a Broken Crown?

A:  Not as vital as the first two are to reading Rage of a Demon King, but helpful. Shards is about cleaning up the mess after a war, so all you really need to know before that is that there was a really big nasty war that just ended.

Q:  How do you like living in San Diego? Do you ever see yourself leaving California?

A:  I love living in San Diego County. Except when El Niño is blowing, it's the best weather on the planet, and my kids get to play outside most every day; the lifestyle is relaxed and most of our friends live there. No, I don't see leaving -- but anything's possible.

Q:  What do you think was the best science fiction book and the best SF movie of the past year? Why?

A:  Haven't had time to see a lot of films, and I don't read that much fiction anymore. Let me see. I'd probably say the best SF film I've seen in the last year was "The Fifth Element," because it had an idea at its core, and despite the usual pyrotechnics onscreen it actually was about something. Best SF book? Again, I don't read a lot of fiction, so I'll have to say probably Bill Forstchen's latest installment in the Lost Regiment Series, which I'm a sucker for, and I'll add Tim Powers's Expiration Date, because he just writes amazing stuff.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 54 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2001

    An outstanding read

    This book makes the serpent war saga complete. I can honestly say i am sad to have finished this book aswell as the rest of Raymond E. Fiests novels and desperatly hopes that he gets on with writing some more amazing sagas centered in the world of midekemia. If you havent read this perfect finaly to this particular saga or any of Raymond E. Fiests books then start with Magician and work from there because i have to say that they are the best books i have ever read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Feist is a Master Storyteller!!!

    I never get tired of Feist's excellent characters and well-crafted plots! Every last book I have read by this author has been great, and this one was no exception! For the first time in quite a while, I finished a series completely jazzed to read the next book. If you are a fantasy-lover, Raymond E. Feist is a MUST for your bookshelf!

    If you enjoyed this series as much as I have, you will definitely like the trilogy he wrote with Janny Wurts (The Empire series from the Tsurani home world). Also, if you liked the feel of the story, you might also like the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks.

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  • Posted December 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Shards of a Broken Crown, the Serpentwar Saga, Book 4

    Coming soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2003

    Very well written like all of Feist's books.

    I really enjoyed reading this final book to Feist's latest series. I have at this point read all of Feist's work except those he coauthored with Jany Wurts and his latest work, The Conclave of Shadows Series, which I am getting soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2002

    Awesome ending to a good series!

    I was sorry to see this end! I got about half way through the book and and just couldn't put it down. I looked forward to my evenings to sit for a couple of hours and read!!!! I hope Mr. Feist will have another series to follow involving Jimmy the Hand's grandsons.

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