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Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug Hardcover – November 5, 2013
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From the Back Cover
Raymond E. Feist's legendary Midkemia comes to life in this illustrated deluxe volume complete with sixty full-color illustrations, including maps, blueprints of key locations, and character sketches, and featuring commentary from one of the most beloved characters in fantasy, the magician Pug of Stardock.
Based on Pug's journal, reorganized and edited with observations and insights by his son, Magnus, this lush visual compendium charts the evolution of the remarkable world of Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga.
Part journal, part atlas, Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug begins at the Far Coast, where the magician recounts his childhood and the eventual journey that takes him to the Grey Towers, Sorcerer's Isle, and Krondor. The book also documents Pug's encounters with several favorite characters he meets along the way, including Jimmy and Locky, the Saaur, and Erik and Roo in Ravensburg. Beautiful hand-drawn maps—collected by Pug throughout his life—detail changes in Midkemia's geography as war ravages the land, and thirty pieces of specially commissioned artwork illustrate key moments in the Riftwar Saga.
An in-depth look at an extraordinary world and its brilliant creator, this remarkable companion imaginatively captures the magic, wonder, and drama of Midkemia.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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.
Stephen Abrams is a longtime cocreator of the fictional world of Midkemia. He lives in San Diego.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are a fan of Feist's work, I Highly recommend purchasing this.
But the most disappointing aspect of this compendium, this supposed encyclopedia is the spelling mistakes and the errors in the character bio section. Simple mistakes that I found at first glance. Arutha had 2 sons, Borric (II) and Erland (II) not Lyam (II). And later Nicholas: youngest son of Arutha (I), brother to Borric (I), Erland (I), and Elena... And Eick von Darkmore.
These are not throwaway characters or simple background people. Books Have been devoted to this line throughout the series. It's this type of sloppy work and expecting fans to shrug and say "oh well" that infuriates me. I'd be embarrassed to have my name on a book of this low quality and work if I were Feist.
Thirty-five years later, Feist and Abrams have regrouped to deliver a companion book to The Riftwar Cycle, featuring maps, artwork and further information on the world of Midkemia not given out in the novels. Whilst I haven't followed the later Riftwar novels (I bowed out after the quite amazingly boring Talon the Silver Hawk), I did enjoy the early ones and particularly liked the worldbuilding (haphazard as it was) depicted in the books and the spin-off computer games (Betrayal at Krondor and Return to Krondor), so I was looking forward to seeing that background fleshed out.
I was disappointed. As a companion book, Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug is sorely lacking in almost every department. The first thing that grates is a lack of proof-reading: the book is riddled with spelling errors on both the maps and in the text (Shamata is frequently rendered as 'Shomata', whilst 'Murmandamus' is spelt in several different ways depending on the writer's whim of the moment). The maps are pretty, but difficult to use. The fonts render many names difficult to read and the artist seems to frequently get bored and only fill in the trees around the edges of the forests, making it look like Midkemia's woodlands are all plains surrounded by a ring of trees. Also - though this is a long-standing problem from the book maps as well - the mountains are depicted as quite ludicrously-sized given the scale used. The continent of Novindus continues to look like a small island instead of a huge landmass. There is also a discrepancy between the size of the Empire of Great Kesh on the maps and its reported size in the books (several times that of the Kingdom, whilst the maps show it as roughly the same size), and contradictory statements in the book which say that Kesh is sparsely-populated with the cities separated by vast gulfs of wasteland, whilst the novels report that Kesh has many times the population of the Kingdom. There's also the problem of the maps featuring locations that don't actually exist when the map was supposedly made: Port Vykor (or Vikor, as the maps never seem to agree on a spelling), founded after Rage of a Demon King, is shown on maps pre-dating Magician, more than fifty years earlier. Oh yes, and there's supposed to be two world maps of Midkemia, showing the state of the world at the start of Magician and after Magician's End (both visible on various fansites promoting the book) but only one of the two world maps is actually in the book. The other one seems to have simply been forgotten. This is made more amusing by the surviving book having 'MAP II (2)' written on it with 'MAP I (1)' nowhere to be found (in the UK first edition, it should be noted; the US edition and later editions may have fixed this).
Then there's the actual text itself. Those expecting a book which talks about geography, history, society, customs, cultures and so on like previous fantasy companion books (like The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, The World of Shannara and next year's World of Ice and Fire) will be in for disappointment. The text is a fairly basic plot summary of the events of The Riftwar Cycle. Sidebars and illustrations show there is some potential in this approach: a map of Sorcerer's Isle appears at the relevant point in the text, followed by maps of the Sunset Islands when they first appear and so on. Occasionally the summary of plot elements the reader is probably already familiar with is interrupted by a little bit of background information on politics or culture, but such moments are rare and fleeting. The depth and usefulness of the plot summary amusingly mirrors the general consensus of the quality of the books: the events of Magician are covered in substantial depth, then Silverthorn through Rage of a Demon King in somewhat less detail, and then all of the books afterwards (which is almost two-thirds of them) are covered in just a few pages of confusingly repeated names and events which sound generic to the point of painfulness (having bailed out after Talon of the Silver Hawk, I see I'm not missing very much).
The book is accompanied by artwork from Steve Stone. These aren't actual illustrations, however, but rather stiff and unconvincing 'photo art' featuring posed models in front of CG backgrounds. Occasionally this is effective (Amos Trask's ship running the Straits of Darkness is pretty good) but most of the time it's awful, not helped by occasional re-use of the same model to depict completely different characters.
There are moments when the book comes to life: the opening couple of chapters feel more inspired and some of the maps expanding on the somewhat-confused geography of Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon are genuinely useful. Occasional bursts of background material hint at much more interesting detail. Getting 'canon' maps of the Keshian Confederacy and the full Empire is also gratifying (though it turns out they are pretty much the same as the ones that have been available on the Elvandar website for many years). But ultimately this is a companion book which tells us almost nothing about the history, chronology, societies and cultures of the world it's named after, which is a baffling choice.
Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug (**) is a disappointing volume, featuring almost none of the information that I suspect readers will really be interested in or expecting. Instead, it's an unproofed plot summary of books they've already read, interspersed with bad artwork, ill-detailed maps and an astonishing number of spelling mistakes. There are a few, scant interesting nuggets of new information to be found and some maps that helpfully clarify confusing descriptions in the books, but beyond that this book is not really that useful. One for die-hard fans and completists only. The book is available now in the UK and USA.