The Qwillery | category: Raymond E. Feist


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Raymond E. Feist

Please welcome Raymond E. Feist to The Qwillery. Queen of Storms (The Firemane Saga 2) is published today by Harper Voyager.

Interview with Raymond E. Feist

The QwilleryWelcome to The Qwillery. You have written over 30 novels. Has your writing process changed over the years?

Raymond E. Feist:  Parts of the process remain unchanged. The thinking the stuff up part, mostly is the same. Getting it down on paper has become a bit more expedient, what I think of as "writers muscle memory." I know when not to look for that perfect word, when to just put something down and come back later to rewrite. Another part is to expect less, that is to be willing to not have every chapter, page, word be priceless. "Murder your darlings" is often attributed to William Faulkner, but he got from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, but all good writers eventually come to understand what that means, and I sort of got it in my first book, but by book four I knew exactly what that meant. It references another often misquoted meme, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

TQQueen of Storms is the 2nd novel in your Firemane Saga after King of Ashes. How many novels do you have planned for The Firemane Saga?

RF:  It should be a three act play, more or less. My characters have a habit of lying to me from time to time, so the Serpentwar ended up four, and the Demonwar was only two. I do think the next one Master of Furies, will be the last of this series.

TQDescribe Queen of Storms using only 5 words.

RF:  Things Get Nasty Really Fast.

TQ Please tell us something about Queen of Storms that is not found in the publisher's book description. 

RF:  Like a lot of my previous books, there's a "things are not what they seem" element here, and I hope the readers find the surprises the sort that make sense rather than make them want to throw the book across the room, because some of those unexpected changes are terrible for the characters. So, surprises are not found in the description.

TQWho is your favorite character to write in The Firemane Saga so far?

RF:  I don't really have favorites, and never have. Some are a bit more fun to write about, so right now it's Hava and Bodai. Hava because I like strong women characters who aren't basically "a guy in drag," and Bodai because he's a teacher by nature, so I can pedantic in places and the reader blames him and not me.

TQWhich question about The Firemane Saga do you wish someone would ask? Please ask it and answer it!

RF:  I can't really think of anything. I've been doing this for almost 40 years now, and have been asked every sort of question from the dumb "what's the book about" by someone who's never read a word of mine to things so insightful my reaction was, "I wish I had thought of that." I think the reason your question is a bit odd for me is that I feel the work speaks for itself. I've observed younger writers try to explain their work, and always think, "Are you going to stand in the bookstore and explain to every reader what you meant?" The book speaks for itself or you are doing it wrong. I look at these interviews as either being to build interest in the coming work, or as retrospectives for me to explain the damnfool choices I made in previous works. I also spend more time avoiding spoilers than thinking about "why didn't they ask me this other thing."

TQDo The Firemane Saga and the Riftwar Cycle share anything thematically?

RF:  In some basic ways, sure. If I was to analyze my own work, which I only do in the editorial sense, not in any scholarly, critical theory fashion, it's that every human being is born into a world that makes no sense, and each of us seeks to bring some order out of chaos. In my writing, how that happens is a function of what sort of person the character is. What I love about that is I can have characters do things that are alien to how I look at everything, and I delight if I think I've pulled off a convincing journey for the reader. I've been taken to task upon occasion by someone who objected to something a character did, so for that reader it was a real thing. Having a character commit murder does not mean I'm personally in favor of murder, is an obvious example. So, overall, the common element in this series and the Riftware is that struggle for awareness and making sense out of an apparently chaotic universe. The tone should be similar as the same guy is writing both.

TQHow did it feel to start a new series after so many years with the Riftwar Cycle and are you completely finished with Riftwar?

RF:  I forgot how much time went into world building and constructing believable societies, cultures, and their relationships. The word that comes to mind is "humbling." What I thought I was "dash off" became a year's hard work, bordering on drudgery at times.

Nothing's ever finished. I could change my mind and do another series in Midkemia should I decide. There are always new stories. No one every asked Hemingway if he ran out of stories set on Earth, or Shakespeare why all his plays were set in Europe. So, I might go back to Midkemia someday. I might do another series on Garn, or I might go crazy and try to set up a whole third universe.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

RF:  You are very welcome.

Queen of Storms
The Firemane Saga 2
Harper Voyager, July 14, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with Raymond E. Feist
Dark and powerful forces threaten the world of Garn once more in this second novel in legendary New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist’s epic fantasy series, the Firemane Saga.

Hatushaly and his young wife Hava have arrived in the prosperous trading town of Beran’s Hill to restore and reopen the fire-damaged Inn of the Three Stars. They are also preparing for the popular midsummer festival, where their friends Declan and Gwen will be wed.

But Hatu and Hava are not the ordinary loving couple they appear to be. They are assassins from the mysterious island of Coaltachin, home to the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the fearsome “Hidden Warriors.” Posing as innkeepers, they are awaiting instructions from their masters in the Kingdom of Night.

Hatu conceals an even more dangerous secret. He is the last remaining member of the legendary Firemanes, the ruling family of Ithrace. Known as the Kingdom of Flames, Ithrace was one of the five greatest realms of Tembria, ruled by Hatu’s father, Stervern Langene, until he and his people were betrayed. His heir, Hatu—then a baby—was hidden among the Nocusara, who raised him to become a deadly spy.

Hatu works hard to hide his true identity from all who would seek to use or to destroy him, as fate has other plans for the noble warrior. Unexpected calamity forces him to make choices he could not have dreamed awaited him.

A series of horrific events shatters the peace of Beran’s Hill, bringing death and devastation and unleashing monstrous forces. Once more, the Greater Realms of Tembria are threatened—and nothing will ever be the same again.


King of Ashes
The Firemane Saga 1
Harper Voyager, January 29, 2019
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 8, 2018

Interview with Raymond E. Feist
The first volume in legendary master and New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist’s epic heroic fantasy series, The Firemane Saga—an electrifying tale of two young men whose choices will determine a world’s destiny.

For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as "the Firemane" for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.

As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable—and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the "Hidden Warriors," legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men—an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith—will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.

About the Author

Interview with Raymond E. Feist
© HarperCollins Publishers
Raymond E. Feist is the author of more than thirty previous books, including the internationally bestselling “Riftwar Cycle” of novels set in his signature world of Midkemia, as well as a standalone novel, Faerie Tale. The Firemane Saga is his first all-new epic fantasy series. He lives in San Diego, California.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @refeist

Retro Reviews: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

Retro Reviews: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

Magician: Apprentice
Author:  Raymond E. Feist
Series:  The Riftwar Saga 1
Original Publisher and Date:  Bantam Spectra, October 1, 1982
Still in Print:  Yes
Current Formats and Length:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages
        (originally 323 pages)
Availability:  online and in stores
Original ISBN:  0-553-56494-3

Retro Reviews: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist
A later edition of the novel
Brief History

Raymond E. Feist was born in 1945 in Los Angeles, CA, and was raised in southern California. Feist graduated from the University of California at San Diego in 1977. Magician: Apprentice was his first published novel in 1982. He has written 36 novels so far. 32 of those novels and novellas take place in the same world as Magician: Apprentice. There are also role-playing games, video games and graphic novels based on this creation.

Magician: Apprentice was originally published as a larger book titled Magician, but the American publisher made Feist break the book into two parts Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. Even after splitting the book in two, the publisher still required the book to be edited further, until it was only 323 pages. Once the book became popular, it was republished with the edits removed and retitled Magician Apprentice Author's Preferred Edition, with a page count of 512 pages. It's been published in 20 countries.

Back Cover Description

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry. Yet Pug's strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.

Brannigan's Review

I loved this book. It immediately felt familiar and fun while still offering new wonders. I've known about this book and series for awhile now, but never got around to reading it. A few years ago there was a graphic novel adaptation of the book, that I read, but didn't like, which made me put off reading the book even longer. I'm so glad I finally opened the book and gave it a go. I quickly fell into the story.

Before I get going too far into my review, I would like to mention the back cover description is a bit odd as it makes the reader believe that Pug traveled to apprentice under Kulgan. That isn't actually the case. Pug grew up in the castle as an orphan and was raised by the cook and baker of the castle, along with their son Tomas, Pug's de facto brother. Once the two boys are old enough, they and other children of the castle are assigned crafts and positions to apprentice under masters. Tomas apprentices under the Sword Master of the castle to be trained as a castle guard. When none of the regular craftsmen and masters pick Pug, a scrawny small lad for his age, Kulgan the magician takes mercy on him and takes him as his apprentice. From this point on the description is correct.

Feist takes the familiar hero's journey/quest storyline we are all familiar and comfortable with, and then introduces his own twist to the story with 'aliens' from another world entering their world bent on world domination. The mix of familiar and strange make the story both comforting and exciting at the same time. I also found it interesting how Feist removes Pug from the story all together a little over three quarters of the way through. Normally, this would be frustrating, but Feist did such a great job of developing his second-tier characters, that once the main protagonist is gone, the supporting cast easily steps up and keeps the story going.

Feist does a great job of world building and also showing it to the reader. The castle Pug grew up in is on the far west edge of the kingdom and the capital is on the far east end. We follow Pug and other members of the castle as they seek to warn the King of the impending invasion. Along the way, we meet the Elves, Dwarves, The Brotherhood of the Dark Path, and other monsters that make up the world. We also get to spend time in a large forest, mountains, underground caves, and crossing the sea, as well as several different cities. All of this helps to immerse you in the world.

The only issues I have are due more to the editing of the original book than the actual book itself. It feels rushed at times and several battles are just barely mentioned before we move on. There are also several large jumps in time at the end of the book that make me wonder why would Feist do this, if I wasn't aware of the massive cuts made prior to publishing. All of these things would aid in building tension, emotion and connection to the characters. With as much fun as I had with the original book, I can't wait to buy the extended edition and dive back into the full story of Pug.

Magician: Apprentice is one of the most enjoyable first books to a series I've read in a long time. I would normally hesitate starting a series that is currently 32 books long, but I enjoyed this book so much I can't wait to dive into this series. I have no problem recommending this book to teens and adults. There are no issues with violence, language or sexual situations that warrant any caution. This is definitely a book to buy and add to your collection. I would recommend buying the newest edition, as I feel it will fix some of the issues I had with this first edition. It's the perfect fantasy book for those familiar to the genre and those who would like a fresh take on familiar ideas. It's also accessible enough for readers unfamiliar with the genre.

Interview with Raymond E. FeistRetro Reviews: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

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