Krondor: The Assassins (Riftwar Legacy Series #2)

Krondor: The Assassins (Riftwar Legacy Series #2)

by Raymond E. Feist

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Overview

Krondor: The Assassins (Riftwar Legacy Series #2) by Raymond E. Feist

New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist returns us now to a place of unparalleled wonders--a sprawling kingdom coveted by enemies on all sides; a bustling center of commerce and magic, vibrantly alive and eternally in conflict. This is Midkemia, where great heroes are bred, and its glorious center...

Krondor

Prince Arutha--newly returned from battle--is concerned about a rash of unexplained assassinations that plagues his capital city. And so he commissions his most trusted agent, Squire James--formerly the thief known as "Jimmy the Hand"--to discover the source of the deadly epidemic. The answers seem to lie far beneath the streets in the dank depths of Krondor, where a terrible war rages in secret between two rival criminal gangs: those who call themselves "Mockers" and others in the thrall of a mysterious being known as "The Crawler." But the deeper the Squire delves, the closer he gets to the true nature of the horror that has left untold dead in its wake. And unless James can prevent one last, unthinkable slaying, the nightmare forces of corruption and deceit will destroy his liege and reduce his beloved Krondor to ruins.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380803231
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/07/2000
Series: Riftwar Legacy Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 279,253
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The sounds of pursuit echoed through the dark tunnels.

Limm was nearly out of breath from attempting to evade those determined to kill him.The young thief prayed to Ban-ath, God of Thieves, that those who followed were not as knowledgeable about the sewers of Krondor as he was.He knew he could not outrun them or fight them; his only hope was to outwit them.

The boy knew that panic was the enemy, and he struggled against the terrible fear that threatened to reduce him to a frightened child, clinging to anything that might provide warm comfort while he huddled in the shadows, waiting for the men who would kill him.He paused for a moment at an intersection of two large channels and then took off to the left, feeling his way through the gloom of the deep sewers, his only illumination a small, shuttered lantern.He kept the sliding window closed to the narrowest setting, for he needed only the slightest light to know which way to go.There were sections of the sewer in which light filtered down from above, through culverts, gratings, broken street stones, and other interstices.A little light went a long way to guide him through the stinking byways under the city.But there were also areas of total darkness, where he would be as blind as one born without eyes.

He reached a narrowing of the sewer, where the circumference of the circular tunnel grew smaller, serving to slow the flow of sewage through this area.Limm thought of it as a "dam," of sorts.He ducked to avoid hitting his head on the smaller opening, his bare feet splashing through the filthy water which collected at the end of the larger sewer until the level rose up enough to funneldown the rough and rusty narrow pipe.

Spreading his legs, Limm moved in a rocking motion, his feet high up on the' side of the circular passage, for he knew that in less than ten feet a nasty outfall sent waste to a huge channel twenty feet below.Hard calluses kept the jagged build-up of sediment on the stonework from slicing open his soles.The boy shuttered the lantern as he intersected a tunnel with long lines of sight; he knew exactly where he was and was fearful of even the smallest light being seen by his pursuers.He moved by touch around a corner and entered the next passage.It was hundreds of feet long, and even the faintest spark would be visible from one end to the other.

Hurrying as best he could in this awkward fashion, he felt the tug of air as the water fell below him from a hole in the pipe he was in, splashing noisily.Several other nearby outfalls also emptied in this area, known as "the Well" to the local thieves.The sound of all the splashing water echoed in the small pipe, making its exact source difficult to locate, so he proceeded slowly.This was a place in which a six-inch misjudgment could send him falling to his death.

Reaching a point another ten feet further, Limm encountered a grate, almost bumping into it, so focused was he on the sound of those who came behind.He crouched, making himself as small a target as possible, in case a mirrored light was shone into the tunnel.

Within moments he heard voices, at first only the sound of indistinguishable words.Then he heard a man say, "--can't have gone too far.He's just a kid."

"He's seen us," said the leader, and the boy knew full well who the speaker was.He had the image of that man and those who served him etched in his memory, though he had only glimpsed them for a few seconds before turning and fleeing.He didn't know the man's name, but he knew his nature.The boy had lived among such men all his life, though he had known only a few who might be this dangerous.

Limm had no illusions about his own abilities; he knew he could never confront such men.He was often full of bravado, but it was a false courage designed to convince those who were stronger that he was just a little more trouble to dispose of than he was in actuality.His willingness to look death in the eye had saved the boy's neck on more than one occasion; but he was also nobody's fool: Limm knew that these men wouldn't give him the time to even try a bluff.They would kill him without hesitation, because he could link them to a horrible crime.

Looking around, the young fugitive saw a trickle of water coming from above.Risking detection, he briefly shone the barest light he could manage above him.The top of the grating didn't reach the roof of the tunnel, and just the other side of the grate was a passageway running upward.

Without hesitation the youth climbed up on the grate and pushed his free arm through, experience showing him how likely it was that he might pass through such a tiny passage.Praying to Ban-ath that he hadn't grown too much since the last time he had tried such a stunt, Limm pushed upward and turned.His head went first.Twisting it slightly, he thrust his face forward between the top bar and the stones above.Practice had taught him that his ears would suffer less if not bent backwards as he tried to pull his head through.A rising sense of urgency battled the pain he felt, as he sensed his pursuers clos-ing in.Yet the pain from his cheeks as he slowly pressed through the gap grew more intense.He tasted the salty, iron tang of blood and sweat and he continued to wiggle his head through the gap.Tears flowed freely, yet he held his silence as he cruelly scraped both ears, one against stone and the other against filthy iron.

Krondor The Assassins. Copyright © by Raymond Feist. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Interviews

Barnes & Noble.com: For the benefit of those who've yet to discover The Riftwar Legacy, please set your new series up for us.
Raymond Feist: The Riftwar Legacy arose as a concept when I was first contacted about doing a computer game (which became Betrayal at Krondor). After the game was published, I began to believe the concept underlying the game was one that really needed to be told in a novel. There were story elements from the Riftwar that carried over to the game: What exactly did the Tsurani think about what went on at Sethanon? What were the moredhel up to now that Murmandamus had vanished? By the time RETURN TO KRONDOR was in production, I found myself considering this "story arc," to use a Hollywood term. Not only could I wrap up elements of the Riftwar (hence the "Legacy" part) but I could also set the stage for events that would foreshadow my next series, The Conclave of Shadows, which I'll start work on in early 2000. Besides, the stories featured some of my favorite characters and some interesting new ones, so it was irresistible.

bn.com: Since J.R.R. Tolkien is the "granddaddy" of modern fantasy fiction, how would you compare and contrast your Riftwar, Serpentwar, and Riftwar Legacy novels to his Lord of the Rings?
RF: Well, to start with, I wouldn't. I think that sort of comparison is often done, but Tolkien began with a pair of missions that are alien to me: to write a "myth for Britain" and to create a world predicated upon linguistic differences, a very "Whorfian Hypothesis" (linguist Richard, not "Star Trek" Klingon) approach. I set out to tell "ripping yarns." There are obviously common elements, and in part, that was deliberate. I even borrowed a couple of words from his lexicon (moredhel, eledhel, and so on) for my elves, to give them an almost familiar feel. That was due, in the main, to my desire to set up a very familiar environment in the first half of Magician before hitting the reader between the eyes with the very alien world of Kelewan. Tolkien wrote in a style very reminiscent of the 19th-century writers, which is not surprising given his age, background, and education. His stories are most enjoyed if you're thinking of them being read aloud by your favorite old uncle. My stories tend to be very modern and probably don't sound anywhere near as elegant if read aloud. Were I to pick a writer who I feel is far more akin to the role of "stylistic grandfather" to my generation of writers, it would be Fritz Leiber, not Tolkien.

bn.com: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What drew you to write fantasy fiction in the first place? Have you ever considered writing in other genres?
RF: I never wanted to be a writer as a kid. I hated English class and despised writing papers. I didn't realize I could write until I was in my late 20s, after returning to college. I then discovered that I could churn out "A" papers and skip the finals in a lot of classes. It made for a very relaxed finals week at the University of California, San Diego. I "dabbled" with story ideas until I started to write Magician, and that book took on a life of its own. It grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let me stop work for 14 months. After someone paid me money to publish it, I started to get the idea I might, indeed, be a writer.
As for other genres, I have written in them. Faerie Tale is a modern, dark fantasy or "light" horror novel. But as far as something farther afield, yes, I'd love to do a thriller, or a police procedural. I even might -- someday. I will do a science fiction novel or two before I'm done. I've got two ideas that have been stuck in my head for over ten years and I'm tired of them being in there. I've got to get them out and down on paper one of these days.

bn.com: What was the worst job you've ever had?
RF: The worst job I ever had was between my freshman and sophomore years in college. You know those souvenir slide packs they used to sell at Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo? You know -- long strips of ten slides for people who didn't bring their cameras? Well, I "loaded them," put them together. I'd get these stacks of film and have to slip them between the cardboard frame, then slip them through a hot sealing machine and get them out the other side. I got paid one cent a slide. If you really hustled, you could do 125 to 150 an hour. It was the most mind-numbing, stressful, boring job I've ever had. I lasted a little over a week.

bn.com: Your fantasy has developed an enormous following. How does it feel to have such a large and enthusiastic fan base? Does it add pressure or comfort, knowing there are so many people who are waiting for each new release?
RF: The size of my readership is a constant source of amazement to me. When I wrote Magician I still thought of my writing as "something on the side," while I continued my "real work" in the health-and-human services field. Little did I know.
As far as whether I find it to be pressure or comfort -- well, it's not really either. I grew up in the entertainment industry -- my father was a producer, director, and writer; he was best known as the producer of Peyton Place the year of his death. I know how fickle the reading public can be. But, as Stephen King observed, "writers have a long arc." That being so, it takes a while for the public to totally give up on you after you hit a certain level, so in that I'm very reassured (comforted) that I'll be doing this for a while longer. As far as pressure goes -- not really. If I start worrying about what my readers want, I'll probably start writing grim stuff. I write what I like to read, and that's always been the key. I just find it astonishing that so many other people like to read the same stuff, in so many different languages.

bn.com: Do you read other contemporary fantasy series? Or do you intentionally avoid reading other fantasy for fear that your writing will be influenced by what others are doing?
RF: I've read very little, actually, and that includes fantasy. Not that I don't enjoy reading, but I basically have very little time after the day is done (not to mention I'm blind after eight hours in front of the word processor). When I do have time to read, I usually stick to nonfiction -- history, books on wine. But I do squeeze in fiction here and there. For example, I'm reading Stephen King's Bag of Bones right now, which I started two weeks ago on a business trip; if I can get a couple of pages a night, I'm doing okay.
I don't care to read much fantasy, simply because it tends to fall too close to my own stuff. There are writers for whom I make exception, friends and colleagues whose work I enjoy too much to let pass, but I usually save those for those rare lulls when I'm not currently working on something.

bn.com: Even though fantasy fiction is loaded with magic, dragons, elves, demons, and other goodies, many characteristics are also grounded in reality, specifically medieval European history. What type of research do you do in preparation for each new novel?
RF: Well, the "history" is all gloss, actually. There is no recognizable model from Earth in my work as far as social structures go. There are things I've used as a basis. For example, the Kingdom of the Isles believes in the concept of the "Great Freedom," which was the central pillar of the Polish kingdom of the 13th to 15th century -- the idea of a shared responsibility and freedom among all, from royalty to peasant. But no Earth nation had nonhuman sentient races as neighbors, especially those few trying to obliterate them. So I use no "research" in the academic sense. But everything a writer reads "sticks," as it were. So my Eastern Kingdoms will look a bit like the Italian or German states of the 17th century.

bn.com: Do you have a favorite character to write? Or, do you love them all equally? I have to say, James is my favorite.
RF: Well, Jimmy/James is an easy character to write. I guess that's the key. Some characters are easier than others. Jimmy, Amos, Nakor, to cite three, all have unique and colorful "voices." In the sense they make it easy to write, I guess you could say those three (James, Amos, and Nakor), plus Roo, Jimmy, and Dash, and a few others. I'm discovering that William, Pug's son, who's a major character in Krondor: The Assassins, is turning out to be a lot more fun to work with than I had imagined he would be. With other characters -- even Pug at times -- I have to work at what they're going to say and do.

bn.com: How much involvement do you have with the production of the Krondor-based computer games? Can we expect more as the Riftwar Legacy continues?
RF: I had some input in Betrayal at Krondor, and more with Return to Krondor. Both production houses asked lots of questions. Irrespective of the games themselves, in terms of play, quests, and action. I felt both did a fine job of "feeling" like Midkemia. If we do a third game, I'll probably stick my oar in again.

bn.com: What do you think is the appeal of epic/high fantasy fiction? Have you heard much about the massive, live-action Lord of the Rings film that's slated for next year? If so, what do you think?
RF: I think fantasy has always been around. Look at The Epic of Gilgamesh. There are lots of gods and magic in that. I think for a while we became "too hip for the room," as the comics say. By that I mean science fiction (which is really a subcategory of fantasy -- fantasy about science) dominated, but over the history of humanity there's always been the fantastic to consider. Fairy tales and myths abound in every culture. The modern fantasy writer is merely plugging into that very human, very well-established appetite. I think fantasy is appealing because it strikes right to the core of a very human concern: how to function in a larger reality where many other "powers" impact and control your life. In real life, it's Congress, the IRS, international terrorism, the stock market, your employer, street violence -- but the risk of alienation is there every day. In fantasy, we see "little guys" overcoming huge adversaries on a regular basis. That's very appealing stuff for many of us. I think fantasy will always have a following, and the rise of major fantasy films reflects that appetite in the larger audience.

bn.com: When you aren't writing, what do you do to pass the time?
RF: I write a lot, so I don't have a lot of free time. I spend time with my kids, who are growing so fast I can't believe it. I drive them to school/camp every morning. I spend time online, especially with my mailing list, and on several football-related groups and boards (Go Chargers!). I live and die (mostly die, lately) with the San Diego Chargers and am a season ticket holder. I drink wine and have wine tastings on a regular basis with friends. And I travel for business (though when the kids are older, it'll be for pleasure). My favorite destinations are Australia and the British Isles. Sometimes I manage to steal a nap.

bn.com: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions, Mr. Feist. We're already looking forward to the third volume of the Riftwar Legacy.
RF: Well, just in case readers would like to know what's coming: After finishing Legacy, I'll be working with three other writers -- William R. Fortschen, Joel Rosenberg, and S. M. Stirling -- on a collaborative three-book series called Tales of the Riftwar. We'll write a "Tsurani-and-Kingdom-forces-facing-the-moredhel-together" novel (with Bill); a murder mystery during a blizzard in LaMut (with Joel); and a Jimmy the Hand novel (with Steve). They'll all be set during the Riftwar. And I'll be doing an atlas of Midkemia with my old friend Stephen Abrams. It's an atlas "written" by Macros the Black, that we're "translating." And I'll be starting the new series, Conclave of Shadows, early next year.
Thanks very much for the interest and enthusiasm.

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Krondor: The Assassins (Riftwar Legacy Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
Although the first Krondor novel felt a little rushed, the second book was much better! This series is great in particular because it involves some of the best characters in fantasy: Jimmy the Hand and Arutha. Overall, if you are a Feist fan, read this series. If you just want a great fantasy, read this series!! If you like Feist, you might also like his "Daughter of the Empire" series with Janny Wurts. Also, "The Last Stormlord" by Glenda Larke, and "Thief's Gamble" by Juliet E. McKenna were comparable reads!
readafew on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
This is the 2nd book in the Riftwar Legacy. Krondor seems to be having an unusually large number of strange deaths, which Jimmy the Hand is able to trace to the Night Hawks, but there seemed to be someone controlling several different groups that by all rights shouldn't be coordinating together. Whispers of The Crawler get back to Arutha through Jimmy. The trail takes them deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of plots. Our daring heroes try to keep the kingdom safe.
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