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This first of a new fantasy trilogy from bestseller Feist (Exile's Return) reintroduces a now ancient but well-preserved Pug (the juvenile hero of Magician) plus numerous generic situations, not the least of which is the return of Pug's old nemesis, the evil wizard Sidi, and a further menace that threatens the land of Midkemia. All the characters talk in completely 21st-century vocabulary, and while some of the inhabitants of the imaginary setting have unusual names suggestive of alien language and culture, we also meet folks named Miranda, Tomas, Magnus, Caleb and Zane. The result does not add up to any sense of a real, other place like Middle Earth or Earthsea, in which mythic events might plausibly occur. Those looking for the numinous wonder of Tolkien or the beautiful language of Ursula Le Guin will have to look elsewhere, but readers seeking to move one step up from adventure-gaming tie-in novels will find this a good starting place. (Apr.)
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Feist expands the uber -saga of Midkemia again with a new trilogy, The Darkwar Saga. In it eventual arch-mage Pug (see Exile's Return, 2005) is much younger, his vast powers are still forming, and he hasn't yet acquired the array of family ties that will make him so wonderfully human later on. Right now he is trying to contend with evil sorcery and win the tolerance, if not allegiance, of the emperor. Reinforcing him are two fugitive farm boys, Tad and Zane, and their mentor, Caleb, whose aid proves invaluable as all three youngsters mature, the farm boys with the additional help of another mage's daughters. The boys' growth entails some of Feist's most notable feats of characterization, feats that testify to the substantial improvement he has made as a writer during a career now approaching the 20-year mark. He leaves us curious, even eager, to see what the succeeding two books will reveal about Midkemia's history and what parts Tad and Zane play in it, though perhaps under new and different names. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.