I love this series. I’ve read it before and will, no doubt, read it again.

Feist is well known and very well respected fantasy author. His Magician series inspired fanboys and girls by the millions. If you haven’t read it – do.

Here he collaborates with Janny Wurts to produce a trilogy showing another side to the Empire of the Tsurani – those warriors that appeared through the Rift in Magician. Indeed – Pug makes a brief appearance or two in the Empire Trilogy, and big impression!

This trilogy, however, is not about Midkemia.  It seeks to provide the other view – the other side of the War. This is a tale woven about Mara, a teenager forced to take the lead of her great house when her father and brother are killed in the war through the Rift. She goes from convent initiate to Ruling Lady of the Acoma in a heartbeat and this first book in the series sees her grow and mature, both within herself and by triumph over many with vastly more experience in The Great Game.

Cover Art

Mara is young, pointedly innocent, but possessed of a brilliant strategic mind that proves her prowess with The Great Game of the Tsurani – the political tradition of a violent nation. Tsurani nobles are all about power and status, the increasing of both and the ruin of their enemies, whilst adhering to a tradition of honouring the Gods and a strict code of social conduct. Mara joins the Great Game with no preparation, thrust into the position of Ruling Lady with no preparation and no support.

This first in the trilogy sets the scene and greatly impresses with the details produced about this unashamedly brutal and strictly traditional world – faintly reminiscent of (what we know of) old Asia. This serves to bring an eerie sense to the Tsurani world – almost like it should be familiar – though there are enough differences to throw you for a curve or two. The world is beautifully crafted – the mental images produced for me are both stunningly beautiful and terribly violent.

Book 1 starts at the Temple, where the induction ceremony is interrupted by Acoma soldiers, arrived to claim the new Ruing Lady. We learn about the world as Mara does, and one soon comes to appreciate the strength of body and character that Mara possesses. She is a heroine to be proud of, one to respect.

I thoroughly enjoy and heartily recommend this series. Start at the beginning – with Daughter of the Empire.