I actually read "Rage of a Demon King" prior to any of the other books in the "Serpentwar Saga", and have still not read the original "Riftwar". So, the first time I read this book, I had no idea about Fiest's world. As such, I enjoyed "Rage", and felt that, although loaded with cliches and the sudden arrival of huge amounts of plot at inconvinent places, it wasn't a bad book. Imagine my shock, therefore, when I read the other three books in the series and discovered they were AWFUL. There is simply no other word for it; no apparent thought has gone into any of the others. "Shadow of a Dark Queen" is filled with points where the most unlikely events happen and no-one raises an eyebrow, or if they do they have the entire history of a supposedly secret war explained to them over several pages. "Rise of a Merchant Prince" is pathetic in the extreme, filled with needlessly boring detail about marketeering and, frankly, if Roo Avery really was the person depicted - cunning, vengeful and arrogant - and the world of Krondor finace was really as Fiest portrays it - cutthroat and bloodthristy - Avery would have ended up with a knife in his neck no matter how well trained with a sword he was. As for "Shards of a Broken Crown", it is basically just an enormous set up for the Rabbitwar Saga, or whatever Fiest wants to write next. "Rage" is definately the best of a bad lot, and it deserves better company. My advice: read "Rage of Demon King", and then make up the other three on your own, they're bound to be better than the tosh Fiest has thrown out.