This Author's Preferred Edition of Raymond E. Feist's bestselling coming-of-age saga celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of its publication. Feist introduces a new generation of readers to his riveting novel of adventure and intrigue, revised and updated as he always meant it to be written. It is a work that explores strength and weakness, hope and fear, and what it means to be a man--in a kingdom where peace is the most precious commodity of all.
If there were two more impetuous and carefree men in the Kingdom of the Isles, they had yet to be found. Twins Borric and Erland wore that mantle proudly, much to the chagrin of their father, Prince Arutha of Krondor. But their blissful youth has come to an end. Their uncle, the King, has produced no male children. Bypassing himself, Arutha names Borric, the eldest twin by seconds, the Royal Heir. As his brother, Erland will have his own great responsibilities to shoulder. To drive home their future roles, Arutha sends them as ambassadors to Kesh, the most feared nation in the world. Borric and Erland will be presented to the Queen of Kesh--the single most powerful ruler in the known world--at her Seventy-fifth Jubilee Anniversary.
But they have not even left Krondor when an assassination attempt on Borric is thwarted. Aware that he is being provoked into war, Arutha does not rise to the bait. His sons' journey will not be deterred, for nothing less than peace is riding on it. Yet there is to be no peace for the young princes. When their traveling party is ambushed, Borric disappears and is presumed dead--sending Erland into spirals of rage and grief as he is forced to navigate alone the court intrigues at Kesh. But unbeknownst to anyone, Borric lives and has escaped his captors. In a strange land, with a price on his head, Borric must use all his wits and stamina to find his way back to his brother.
On separate paths, the two men--one a fugitive and one a future king--make their journey toward maturity, honor, and duty. For every step they take could sway the fragile peace of the land, as those who crave war rally against them--and become ever more daring.
This welcome continuation of The Riftwar Saga picks up 20 years after A Darkness of Sethanon leaves off. In part a coming-of-age story, it tells of Borric and Erland, twin sons of the Prince of Krondor. Carelessly lighthearted, they soon learn the need for responsibility in times of danger. Borric, the elder, named heir to the throne of the Kingdom of the Isles, is sent with his brother in place of their father to the Jubilee of the empress of Kesh, a powerful neighbor. An attempt on Borric's life forces the party to follow a secret route. During a raider attack, Borric is seized as a slave and thought dead, leaving Erland as heir. While the royal entourage continues its trip, Borric escapes--but keeps his identity secret. Meanwhile, Erland has been introduced to the splendors of the palace of the world's most powerful ruler, and to the much looser sexual mores of the Keshians. He also begins to enjoy a position of prestige and influence. Several deaths occur before the plot against both countries can be unraveled in Feist's lively tale, where a solid backdrop and engaging characters inhabit a well-rounded fantasy land.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 27, 2005
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Excerpt from Prince of the Blood by Raymond E. Feist
THE INN WAS QUIET.
Walls darkened with years of fireplace soot drank in the lanternlight, reflecting dim illumination. The dying fire in the hearth offered scant warmth and, from the demeanor of those who chose to sit before it, less cheer. In contrast to the mood of most establishments of its ilk, this inn was nearly somber. In murky corners, men spoke in hushed tones, discussing things best not overheard by the uninvolved. A grunt of agreement to a whispered proposal or a bitter laugh from a woman of negotiable virtue were the only sounds to intrude upon the silence. The majority of the denizens of the inn called the Sleeping Dockman were closely watching the game.
The game was pokiir, common to the Empire of Great Kesh to the south and now replacing lin-lan and pashawa as the gambler's choice in the inns and taverns of the Western Realm of the Kingdom. One player held his five cards before him, his eyes narrowed in concentration. An off-duty soldier, he kept alert for any sign of trouble in the room, and trouble was rapidly approaching. He made a display of studying his cards, while discreetly inspecting the five men who played at the table with him.
The first two on his left were rough men. Both were sunburned, and the hands holding their cards were heavily callused; faded linen shirts and cotton trousers hung loosely on lank but muscular frames. Neither wore boots or even sandals, barefoot despite the cool night air--a certain sign they were sailors waiting for a new berth. Usually such men quickly lost their pay and were bound again for sea, but from the way they had bet all night, the soldier was certain they were working for the man who sat to his right.
That man sat patiently, waiting to see if the soldier would match his bet or fold his cards, forfeiting his chance to buy up to three new cards. The soldier had seen his sort many times before; a rich merchant's son, or a younger son of a minor noble, with too much time on his hands and too little sense. He was fashionably attired in the latest rage among the young men of Krondor: a short pair of breeches tucked into hose, allowing the pant legs above the calf to balloon out. A simple white shirt was embroidered with pearls and semiprecious stones, and the jacket was the new cutaway design, a rather garish yellow, with white-and-silver brocade at the wrists and collar. He was a typical dandy. And from the look of the Rodezian slamanca hanging from the loose baldric across his shoulder, a dangerous man. It was a sword only used by a master or someone seeking a quick death--in the hands of an expert it was a fearsome weapon; in the hands of the inexperienced it was suicide.
The man had probably lost large sums of money before and now sought to recoup his previous losses by cheating at cards. One or the other of the sailors would win an occasional hand, but the soldier was certain this was planned to keep suspicion from falling upon the young dandy. The soldier sighed, as if troubled by what choice to make. The other two players waited patiently for him to make his play.
They were twin brothers, tall--two inches over six feet he judged--and fit in appearance. Both came to the table armed with rapiers, again the choice of experts or fools. Since Prince Arutha had come to the throne of Krondor twenty years before, rapiers had become the choice of men who wore weapons as a consideration of fashion rather than survival. But these two didn't look the type to sport weapons as decorative baubles. They were dressed as common mercenaries, just in from caravan duty from the look of them. Dust still clung to their tunics and leather vests, while their red-brown hair was lightly matted. Both needed a shave. Yet while their clothing was common and dirty, there was nothing that looked neglected about their armor or arms; they might not pause to bathe after weeks on a caravan, but they would take an hour to oil their leather and polish their steel. They looked genuine in their part, save for a feeling of vague familiarity that caused the soldier slight discomfort: both spoke with none of the rough speech common to mercenaries, but rather with the educated crispness of those used to spending their days in court, not fighting bandits. And they were young, little more than boys.
The brothers had commenced the game with glee, ordering tan- kard after tankard of ale, letting losses delight them as much as wins, but now that the stakes of the game were rising, they had become somber. They glanced at each other from time to time, and the soldier was certain they shared silent communication the way twins often did.