Book Review – A Darkness At Sethanon

A Darkness At Sethanon (The Riftwar Saga, #4)A Darkness At Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Darkness At Sethanon is the third (fourth if you’re reading the American edition) and final instalment in Raymond E. Feist’s epic Riftwar Saga, and brings to a close many of the plot threads originally started in the earlier books.

This is essentially a book of two separate stories that gradually draw closer to each other. In one, Prince Arutha of Krondor uses an assassination attempt to fake his own death in order to run off and confront Murmandus from the second book. Meanwhile, in the other half of the story Pug and Thomas get together and set off in search of the missing (and presumed dead) sorcerer Macros the Black. Alternating between the two stories, we eventually learn that it’s all tied together, and that the fate of not one, but two worlds (and perhaps the rest of reality along with them) are in the balance.

I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the first two, though I think that may have more to do with the Pug and Thomas storyline than with anything to do with the book as a whole. Arutha’s quest to confront Murmandus is classic epic fantasy, and includes a goodly number of battles, politics, camaraderie and heroic action aplenty. Unfortunately, when it comes to Pug and Thomas, their journeys through space and time simply didn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the narrative, and in places came across as almost psychedelic in nature. While I can see some definite links to the more esoteric works of earlier writers, particularly Michael Moorcock, I’m not sure the world-hopping or the ‘city at the end of the universe’ worked quite so well here.

Despite that, I’d still consider this to be a good book, and a worthy ending to the first Riftwar trilogy, and will continue reading the rest of Feist’s work for as long as it continues to entertain me.

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