RIDES A DREAD LEGION by Raymond E. Feist (see his website)
BOOK ONE OF THE DEMONWAR SAGA
Eos, March 2009
He's clearly an elf, but he doesn't act like any elf the ranger has seen. When he returns, it's with an army of seven-foot elves. They appear powerful, but they're fleeing for their lives from an invading army of demons--demons who have overwhelmed all of the planets the elves settled. Now, they're returning to the planet that was once their home--a planet already occupied with ordinary elves, dwarves, and plenty of humans.
The magician, Pug, has noticed that something strange is going on with demons so the arrival of the elves and their story of vast armies isn't a complete surprise. What is a surprise is that there are mages on Midkemia who are willing to open the doors to demons, inviting them in. Considering that a demon will devour all life on a planet if given a chance, this isn't the wisest strategy for self-preservation. As always, Pug responds by investigating and drawing together allies. This time, his allies include a couple of elves from the fleeing elves, his wife and sons, a mage who's made a living as a confidence trickster, banishing demons he summons himself, and a beautiful paladin who has a knack for getting into troublesome situations.
Author Raymone D. Feist (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Feist) creates an interesting character in Sandreena, the warrior-woman sent to investigate possible demonic activities in the remote Peaks of the Quor. The arrogant but beaten star-elves also have a lot of potential for creating conflict with the established population of Midkemia, especially with their history of eradicating everyone who doesn't submit to their will. Pug's research also sets up interesting questions about who might be behind the coming demon invasion and whether there are hidden motives to worry about.
On the downside, RIDES A DREAD LEGION spends a lot of time setting up coming action and re-introducing characters we know from previous Feist novels. Fans, of course, enjoy seeing the return of favorite characters, but we're also interested in the story. I would have liked to see a bit more story development and a little less setup. Still, Feist throws plenty of action our way, gives us an interesting past romance between Sandreena and the trickster-mage Amirantha, and has whole armies of demon-mages just waiting for a chance to get into a new world.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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