Krondor: The Assassins by Raymond E Feist


Fresh back from the front, another foe defeated, Prince Arutha arrives to find all is not well in Krondor. A series of apparently random murders has brought an eerie quiet to the city. Where normally the streets are bustling with merchants and tricksters, good life and night life, now there seems to be a self-imposed curfew at sundown.

Mutilated bodies have been turning up in the sewers, the Mockers’ demesne. The Thieves’ Guild has been decimated - men, women, children, it matters not. The head of the Mockers is missing, presumed dead. Those few who survived the terrible attacks are lying low. Very low.

The Crawler, it seems, is back in town. And he’s being helped by others, more ruthless than he. Can it be the Nighthawks again? The Prince enlists his loyal Squire James to find out. If anyone can unravel what’s happening in the bowels of Krondor, he can. He knows the sewers like the back of his hand. After all, as Jimmy the Hand, he grew up there.

Meanwhile, the retinue of the Duke of Olasko has arrived suddenly at the palace, a week ahead of schedule but with no apologies and many demands. They say they are here to hunt. But to hunt what. Pug’s son William, on his first posting as a knight-lieutenant, must escort them into the wilds. It should have been a straightforward mission…

This comes across as one of those books of the film. Or, more accurately, book of the game. You can see Feist itching to burst out of the constraints of setting that games peculiarly impose. In the second installment after Betrayal, we step back in time from the Serpentwar Saga to a time of Jimmy the Hand and Krondor under threat from assassinations.

It is probably a much needed delve into the world of the Mockers and no doubt Feist's hand brings a game formula onto some parity with a standard fantasy novel offering. It’s just you expect so much more from a master of the genre.

So, if you are a fan of Feist read it. But be aware that it is no Magician.

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