New York Times bestselling fantasist RAYMOND E. FEIST has created a world unlike any other-a sprawling kingdom coveted by enemies on all sides; a bustling center of commerce & magic, vibrantly alive & eternally in conflict; a place of unparalleled wonders where great heroes are bred to be ever-vigilant of those who would succumb to evil's seductions. This is Midkemia & its glorious center, Krondor-now imperiled by an insidious malignancy that grows from within. A plague of murder has overrun Krondor. Prince Arutha-newly returned from battle with the Morehdel chieftain Delekhan & the renegade magician Makala-is concerned about the rash of unexplained assassinations in his capital city. And so he dispatches his most trusted agent, Squire James-formerly the thief known as Jimmy the Hand-to discover the source of the deadly epidemic. James's hunt will lead him to the dank depths of Krondor-through subterranean tunnel & sewer system to a terrible war that is raging in secret far beneath the streets. For here rival criminal gangs are locked in a death struggle for control of a city's vice-dangerous gangsters who go by the name "Mockers" & others in the thrall of a mysterious being known as "The Crawler."
Squire James, formerly known to the Guild of Thieves as Jimmy the Hand, is looking forward to some rest when he returns home from battle against the Morhedel and the Tsurani. But Prince Arutha gives him a new assignment: James must learn the cause of a spate of murders spreading across the city of Krondor. No one is safethieves and honest men alike are turning up dead. Who is the Crawler, the mysterious man who is wiping out the Thieves' Guild What are Prince Vladic of Olasco and his uncle Radswil doing in Krondor Whence the mysterious threat to their lives And what do these matters have to do with the Nighthawksathe dreaded Guild of Assassins James's knowledge of the sewers and his underworld contacts make him the man to find out. But as James forms his fledgling spy ring, the panic in the sewers continues, and the threat against Krondor itself steadily grows. Now, together with his friend William conDoin and the gruff veteran Knight-Captain Treggar, James must find the Nighthawks in their desert lair and prevent whatever it is that they're planning. This tale of shape-shifting magicians, human sacrifice, man-eating demons and a little young love, a sequel to Krondor: The Betrayal (1998), will satisfy Feist's fans, and its ending will leave them waiting for another volume. Author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Krondor the Assassins by Raymond E. Feist
Lines of soldiers marched along the ridge.
The baggage train had been broken into two segments, the first of which was now departing with the wounded and the dead who would be cremated with honors back in Krondor. Clouds of dust rose from the trail as wheels rolled and boots tramped toward home, the fine powder mixing with the acrid smoke from campfires as they were extinguished. The rising sun streamed through the haze, orange and pale gold, lances of color in an otherwise gray morning. In the distance birds sang, ignoring the aftermath of battle.
Arutha, Prince of Krondor and ruler of the Western Realm of the Kingdom of the Isles, sat on his horse, taking a moment to enjoy the majesty of the sunrise and the serenade of the birds as he watched his men heading home. The fighting had been blessedly short but bloody, and while casualties were lighter than anticipated, he still hated to lose even one soldier under his command. He let the beauty of the vista before him soothe his frustration and regret for a few moments.
Arutha still resembled the youthful man who had come to the throne of Krondor ten years before, though lines around his eyes and a small scattering of gray through his otherwise black hair revealed the toll rulership had taken on him. For those who knew him well, he was still much the same man, a competent administrator, military genius, and fiercely duty-bound man who would surrender his own life without question to save the lowest soldier under his command.
His gaze went from wagon to wagon, as if somehow willing himself to see the wounded men inside, as if he could communicate to them his sense of gratitude for a job well done. Those closest to Arutha knew he paid a silent price, pain kept within, for each injury done a man who served Krondor and the Kingdom.
Arutha pushed aside his regrets and considered the victory. The enemy had been in full retreat for two days, a relatively small force of dark elves. A much larger force had been prevented from reaching the Dimwood when a rift machine had been destroyed by Arutha's two squires, James and Locklear. It had cost the life of a magician named Patrus, but his sacrifice had allowed the invaders to fall prey to their own internal conflicts. Delekhan, the would-be conqueror, had died beside Gorath, a moredhel chieftain who had proven as honorable and worthy a being as Arutha had ever met, while they struggled to seize control of the Lifestone. Arutha cursed the existence of that mysterious and ancient artifact under the abandoned city of Sethanon, and wondered if its mystery would ever be understood, its danger removed, in his lifetime.
Delekhan's son Moraeulf had died from a dagger thrust home by Narab, once an ally of Delekhan. As agreed to by Narab, the retreating moredhel weren't being harassed by Kingdom forces as long as they were heading straight north. Orders had been dispatched to allow the moredhel safe passage home as long as they kept moving.
The Kingdom forces in the Dimwood were now dispersing to their various garrisons, the majority returning to the west, and some heading back north to the border baronies. They would start moving later in the morning. The previously secret garrison north of Sethanon would be moved to another location and reprovisioned.