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Rides a Dread Legion: Book One of the Demonwar Saga Mass Market Paperback – April 13, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Demonwar Saga Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“With his storytelling mastery and ear for colorful language and nuance, the author of numerous books set in the dual worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan here launches a series that takes his fantasy universe into a whole new phase. ” (Library Journal)

From the Back Cover

The last remnants of an ancient advanced race, the Clan of the Seven Stars, are returning at long last to their lost homeworld, Midkemia—not as friends, but as would-be conquerors. Led by the conjurer Laromendis, they are fleeing the relentless demon hordes that are sweeping through their galaxy and destroying the elves' vast empire planet by planet. Only by escaping to Midkemia and brutally overtaking the war-weary world can the last remnants of a mighty civilization hope to survive . . . if the Dread Legion does not pursue them through the rift.

The magician Pug, Midkemia's brave and constant defender, is all too familiar with the Demon King Maarg and his minions and their foul capacity for savagery and horror, and he recognizes the even graver threat that is following on the heels of the elven invasion. The onslaught to come will dwarf every dire catastrophe his imperiled world has previously withstood, and there is no magical champion in all of Midkemia powerful enough to prevent it. Only one path remains for Pug and Midkemia's clandestine protectors, the Conclave of Shadows: forging an alliance of formidable magical talents, from the demon-dealing warlock Amirantha, brother of Pug's hated foe, and the demon-taming cleric Sandreena, to the elven Queen Miranda, to the warrior Tomas. However, uniting enemies and bitter, vengeful former lovers will be no easy task, and even together they may ultimately be unable to turn the death tide. But a failure to do so will most certainly ensure Midkemia's doom.

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Product Details

  • Series: Demonwar Saga (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061468355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061468353
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick J. Sullivan on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The awkwardly-titled Rides a Dread Legion is a more promising beginning than Feist's last several series have started with. Although new characters, even a newly discovered people, play an important part in the story, old favorites Pug and Tomas again assume important roles in the story.

Most readers who have stuck with Feist since the 1980s have become accepting of his style, reminiscent of the space opera of Doc Smith, of following up a universe-saving battle in one book with a far more vital multi-universe struggle ten years later in the next series. That's been the Feist pattern so long that it can't be regarded as a bug, it's simply a feature.

We're back to the threat to Midkemia and other worlds coming from the various demon circles, and this book makes use of several new demon raising characters to more systematically explore what these beings are and what they want. There's a fair amount of conferencing between the various principals and experts, but action is not neglected either. The book does bog down in such scenes at times when Feist suddenly jumps to a fight between obscure characters or peoples who were only briefly introduced in prior series.

Really this book's strengths lie in the interplay between the various characters - especially Tomas, Pug and his family, and new additions Amirantha and Gulamendis, a being with a very different background than most of Midkemia's races, despite his people's connection to the world. Tomas again gets to flex his Valheru muscles on the side of good.

If you have no idea what that last sentence means, this would NOT be a good place to start reading Feist.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to start by saying that I am a long term fan and have read the entire series from that first book from the SciFi/Fantasy Book Club many years ago. I would have loved to give this book a 5, or even a 4, but I just couldn't do it.
First off, there just is not that much to the book. Ray (Hey, I've been a fan long enough to use a personal version of his name) must at this point believe that his fans know all about Midkemia and therefore does not need to waste much time with world building. Not that it was ever a strong feature of earlier works, but it was far better than represented here. Maybe that explains why the book is so short. In a time when I am reading contemporaries of R.F. (some newer to the scene) and finding massive stories loaded with rich characters and easily twice the length, I just have to ask, "What's up!"
I will, of course, continue to read the stories, just to know where Pug goes next. And I will admit that in the last few pages, he finally starts to realize that he has to not be just a player in the grand opera understanding only his part, but he needs to understand the opera itself. Launching himself towards godhood perhaps?
Anyway, read it, enjoy it, just don't get too disappointed when after a few hours of reading you turn the page and realize the book is done and you now have to wait for another year for the next, short installment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As soon as the "biggest threat ever" is vanquished, Feist's next series introduces a bigger threat. This is part of his formula, and his ultra-powerful protagonists struggle mightily before winning the day, while the world around them is slowly wrecked.

In this book, Feist takes a very long time to set up his pieces on the board and introduces the massive danger that is so bad it is destroying the newly introduced race of super-elves.

While the reading is good, it does take a long time to set up, without much of the action I've come to expect.

Which is why the ending seems so strong and shocking. There is a twist which I didn't see coming, and a reminder that the reader shouldn't rely on the preconceptions which might be brought from earlier Feist novels.

My review is 3.5 stars, boosted up by the better than expected close to the story. In fact, I think the ending is the only thing that salvaged a book which sort of dragged.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With Feist's mix of normal lifespan, extended lifespan, and effectively immortal characters, it takes a while to figure out hen and where this one starts. I spent most of the first two chapters wondering fi this was going to be an entirely new set of characters, then we started encountering the sons and grandsons of earlier characters. If it's been a while since you've read the earlier books, you may have trouble remembering who the players are supposed to be, but eventually you make your way to Crydee, Jimmy the Hand's descendents get involved, Pug and Tomas show up, and it starts to feel more familiar. As seems to be the standard for a new Midkemia series, you develop a good feel for where this one is going, but it takes forever to get any speed going. Near the end you have the obligatory hallmarks of a first volume Midkemia book - Oh look, it's worse than we thought, there are layers of villain manipulating the ones we've seen so far, something out of Pug's (or Tomas', or one of the elves, or all of the above) past, and a secondary character close to a main character dies in a mostly pointless way to remind everyone that this world is dangerous and to provide some heroic angst. But, in spite of being as predictable at this point as an Anita Blake novel it's still a fun read, and Feist slips in some very good turns of phrase and character interplay.
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