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Magician by Raymond E Feist was first published more than 25 years ago and remains one of the most popular fantasy novels of all time. It has spawned numerous sequels and prequels and other stories set in the world of Midkemia. Silverthorn was the first of these sequels and it was first published in 1985 and became part of the riftwar series.
The book starts a year after the events of Magician and Prince Arutha has just returned to Krondor as the new crowned Prince. Jimmy the hand the young thief uncovers a plot to assassinate Arutha and goes to the palace to tell him. Capturing two assassins they discover one is a Moredhel a dark elf who has been magically disguised as a human. As they are interrogating the assassins they commit suicide before any useful information can be gathered.
Determined to get answers Arutha summons the high priestess of the godess of death to resurrect them but they are under the power of great magic and she can't control them and the resurrected corpse causes many deaths before finally being killed.
Arutha and Jimmy team up with the mockers the guild of thieves to uncover the rest of the assassins in the city but during the attack of their hideout the assassins who are killed begin to resurrect like the dark elf. Only thanks to a fire are Aruthas men saved.
After clearing the city of assassins Arutha goes ahead with his wedding but on the day he is due to marry his bride another attempt on his life is made but the arrow intended for him hits his bride to be. The arrow was dipped in a powerful poison and only the magic of pug keeps Anita alive while Arutha and Jimmy find a cure. The captured assassin tells them the poison is called Silverthorn and that a great dark elf called Murmandamus is behind the assassination attempts believing that Arutha is the hero from prophecy who is the only person who can stop Murmadamus from complete domination of the world.
With Anita being preserved by Pug's magic Arutha and Jimmy must set out on a quest to find silverthorn and save Princess Anitas life.
The first thing you will notice about Silverthorn if you have read magician is just how thin this volume is compared with that behemoth. The paperback comes in at 432 pages compared with Magicians 704. This makes a massive difference in terms of the complexity of the story. Magician was a huge complex story that was set over many years whereas Silverthorn is more of a classic fantasy quest novel in a race against time to save the princess.
I liked the fact this was more a back to basics fantasy novel rather than Feist trying to write a carbon copy of Magician as it would have been very hard to have matched that book so with the different style this feels fresh and like a true sequel rather than a retread of Magician.
The world building is impressive but the assumption is that the reader is already familiar with the world of Midkemia. I personally love reading about the city of Krondor and I think this is where the story is the strongest and i feel the story slows down when they leave the city but it soon picks up again when they near their destination where they will find the cure. The book sweeps along at a good pace sucking the reader into the story and there are some great action pieces to be found in the book.
For me and for many fans of Raymond E Feist the real joy in his early books are the characters. Jimmy the Hand is probably the best loved character of the series, he even has his own spin off books and he is front and centre in Silverthorn. Arutha is also another beloved character and re reading the book I realised how Feists newer characters pale in comparison with the older characters. In Silverthorn we also have Pug the powerful Magician who the first book is named after and he later becomes the most important character to come in the next 20 or so books. Here he is not so much the focus but is still in it enough to satisfy the fans of Magician.
I still rush to buy the newest Feist book when it is released but re reading this series made me realise how his writing has suffered in recent years. In his early books you could feel the passion for the world he has created on every page whereas now he releases a new book every year and slowly but surely they have deteriorated in quality and you get the feeling that he no longer cares for the world or characters millions of his readers have become so passionate about and is just fulfilling his contractual obligations. It's such a shame as he is a brilliant writer when he is on his game and readers who decide to give his world a try won't be disappointed with his earlier works.
I really enjoyed re reading Silverthorn, it is not as good as Magician but Magician is a classic of the genre and one of the best books ever so it was never going to be as good but that's not to say Silverthorn is not a great book in its own right. It is a good old fashioned swords and sorcery book with plenty of action, elves, magic and adventure. I urge anyone who likes reading to first read Magician and then read this book and see how good fantasy writing can really be.
This is the second book in the Riftwar Saga. It lies between Magician and Darkness at Sethanon. Its title Silverthorn sounds great, until you hear its named after a bush that grows under water.
Based in the mythical world of Midkemia, where everything that doesnt exist exists, i.e. goblins, dwarfs, elves, demons . Pretty much all the races from lord of the rings and way more, keep an eye out for the Valheura never seen anything like them.
The story surrounds the quest of prince Arutha and his merry bunch of warriors/friends/teenager. The journey is to find the plant Silverthorn, the only cure for his dying wife. At the start of the book Arutha comes under attack from assassins. These murderers are hell-bent on killing Arutha because his fall is seen as the opening for the dark lords to return and rule the worlds(a bad thing), what drugs have these boys been taken. I say worlds cause there is another world linked through rifts in space. The other place is called Tsurranuanui, its a dump. The planet is dying due to its really old sun. The locals of this planet are looking for a new home hence the reason they attacked Midkemia and brought the foundations for the first book, Magician. Pug the main character from the first book has a storyline in this book aswell. He is trying to come to terms with the overload of info and a hunch that something bad is gong to happen. As a magician he just aint ready. So off he goes to find people and places on both worlds that will tell him what the heck is going on. This side story is more about the outcome of the third book Darkness at Sethanon than Silverthorn.
Having the assassins hunting him down constantly hamper Aruthas journey. This creates some fantastic action scenes within the novel. The one at Sarth is especially good. A creature appears at this moment and boy does it wreck havoc. Love to see that in a movie.
Feist, also writes the battles brilliantly. The way he describes the sword yielding and jousting is great and very descriptive, I loved it.
Most of the books characters are new to the series and they are all portrayed wonderfully, except the women. They get barely a mention except when they are moaning about something! One in particular, Anita spends the whole story locked in a coma.
The best of the bunch is Jimmy the Hand, what a dude. The boy can barely ride a horse not to mention yield a sword, as the story grows so too does Jimmy which makes for a great page turner.
Overall this book blew me away. I got it off a friend who said it was a serious book, took one look at it and said go way Im not reading that fairy Shiite. Was I wrong or what. This guy Feist has some imagination, the stuff he comes up with in the book is worth reading on its own not to mention a good story to boot. Its predecessor Magician is a fantastic book. One which I had not read before I laid eyes upon Silverthorn. This could be a reason why I liked it so much. Its great entertainment. Everyone I have given this book to loved it and it leads to some great conversations about the Midkemia and how did Feist come up with this stuff?
Imagine the bedtime stories he tells his kids?
Having read the sequel series "the serpantwar saga" first my opinion might be slightly distorted but I thought that this book, although not as good as the first (Magician) was still a wonderful tale. Full of intrigue and deception, Mr feist takes the reader to the mystical world of Midkemia including trips to Kelewan showing things that somehow change the perceptions of the reader. Although this is true of all of his books this one is still a fine example of what fantasy writing is all about. At the end of the book I felt that a substantial block of an unfolding saga was revealed to me and I am still hungry for more.
This is the follow up novel to Magician, and the storyline centres around the new Prince of Krondor, Arutha and characters that he met in Magician (namely Jimmy the Hand). Readers of Magician may be disappointed that Pug makes only a fleeting appearance. Without giving away the story too much, it involves the search for the antidote to a very rare poison which is the Silverthorn bush of the title. If I'm totally honest I wasn't too impressed with this book, but I think that is mainly because the first book, Magician, was so superbly written. The characters are still well represented and well described, but I was disppointed that other characters form the first book weren't in it more. It seems that this book is just a bridge between Magician and A Darkness at Sethanon (the final book of the Riftwar Saga) and it mainly sets the scene for the third book. As such, it is a must buy if you've read Magician and want to finish the series. If Raymond E Feist hadn't written such a wonderful first book, then I would rate this one a lot higher than I do.
Second book in the 'Riftwar Saga'.