Raymond E. Feist is a titan in the fantasy genre, notable for his 30-books-over-31-years, in what became known eventually as the Riftwar Cycle. This colossal series began with Magician in 1982, and concluded in 2013 with Magician’s End.

After finally putting Riftwar behind him, his first new book in a new series, King of Ashes, as part of the new Firemane Saga, has been released. I had the pleasure of seeing the man in person as he took part in his world tour, and where he took time to stop in at Exclusive Books in Cavendish Mall.

Raymond E. Feist in Cape TownRaymond E. Feist in Cape Town

With so many books over so many years to his name, there was a fine selection of demographics in his fans present, with multi-generational being definitely the key-word. Humble and self-depreciating a little bit, and perhaps no small amount of tired from such a whirlwind tour, Raymond still took the time to firstly chat about his new book, and then also respond to plenty of fan questions, and also sign any number of battered copies of his previous works that fans lovingly clutched.

In regards to the new title, King of Ashes, I have received my own copy and will be reviewing it in short order, but for now, here’s what Raymond had to say about his own work, without giving too much away:

It’s going to be a much more grounded experience than before – by which he means, humans are the only race in this novel, and there will be no magic of the sort where buildings get thrown at each other. There are still some supernatural elements, and a feature of the story is where men and women have different capacities with the magical properties of the world – men can store energy and hold it, but only women can cast it.

Raymond E. Feist

The setting is described as imperial Japan meets 1920’s Chicago, so there’s going to be a lot of ninjas and crime cartels present. Betrayal and revenge are the main motifs, and the story starts with a violent betrayal that sets all the events in motion.

He described the characters as “disobedient to write,” as they kept on having their own ideas about where they wanted the plot to go, and he only followed them along. He describes the Firemane Saga as a three-act plot, where this entry is barely even the curtain raiser, and something that gets us interested in the characters and where they’re going, even before the next book, Queen of Storms, is released next year. However, he warns, people will be pretty angry about what he does to some of the characters you grow to be fond of.

Thanks to Raymond himself, and Exclusive Books and Jonathan Ball publishers for making this event happen in our quiet part of the world. Here’s hoping the book itself will be just as exciting as promised.

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