In common with more many other fantasy writers, Feist first began delving into world-building through gaming. He and his college friends1 developed the world of Midkemia for their role playing games. The gaming world of Midkemia is still owned by that original group, now known as Midkemia Press. Computer games based on Midkemia were at one time developed by Sierra, but they are no longer commercially available.
Magician, Feist's first novel, was widely criticised at first for being too simplistic. In reality, the Magician books were widely popular with readers, in part because the books abandoned conventional literary techniques and focused solely on the meat of the story.
All but one of Feist's books take place in Midkemia, or on lands connected to it by characters and events. The publication dates listed may vary slightly depending on the country of publication.
The Riftwar Saga
These books focus largely on the exploits of several young men who are all associated with the court of Duke Borric of Crydee in the land of Midkemia: the Duke's sons (Lyam and Arutha), an orphan boy (Pug) apprenticed to the court magician, and his friend (Tomas) who is an aspiring soldier. These young men grow into adults with adventures considerably beyond their earlier dreams. The Magician books focus on the battle across the 'rift' — a connection between Midkemia and the battle-hungry Tsurani, on the faraway planet of Kelewan. The Tsurani still figure into the latter two books, but the battle waged is against a greater evil, the moredhel (dark elves) being driven by a mysterious force.
The first two books in this series were originally published as a single volume; when the series was re-released in paperback, the author took advantage of his increased status and reinserted material that editors had cut from the initial release, and split the now longer narrative into two separate books. The longer edition is also available as a single hardbound book.
- Magician: Apprentice - 1982
- Magician: Master - 1982
- Silverthorn - 1985
- A Darkness at Sethanon - 1986
Krondor's Sons or the Serpentwar Series
These two books are sometimes viewed as standalone novels, but they have enough in common that they are often viewed as a set; indeed, they are described as such on Feist's official website (linked to his name at the beginning of this article). They both take place between the end of the Riftwar Saga and the beginning of the Riftwar Legacy, and both focus on the exploits of Prince Arutha's sons in foreign lands. The battle against the Pantathian Serpent priests builds in these books, setting up for the next series.
- Prince of the Blood - 1989
- The King's Bucaneer - 1992
The Serpentwar Saga
This series follows the later lives of some of the characters introduced in the initial series. In these books, the battle is being waged against the dark forces of the Emerald Queen.
- Shadow of a Dark Queen - 1994
- Rise of a Merchant Prince - 1995
- Rage of a Demon King - 1997
- Shards of a Broken Crown - 1998
The Riftwar Legacy
These books are more focused on intrigue than those of the last series, and sometimes read like spy novels that just happen to be set in a land with elves and other fantastical beings.
- Krondor: The Betrayal - 1998
- Krondor: The Assassins - 1999
- Krondor: The Tear of The Gods - 2000
- Krondor: The Crawler - not yet published
- Krondor: The Dark Mage - not yet published
Conclave of the Shadows
These books are set far enough after the earlier books that few of the same characters persist; the battle of good against evil, however, continues to wage onwards.
- Talon of the Silver Hawk - 2003
- King of the Foxes - 2004
- Exile's Return - 2004
- Dark Empire - not yet published
- Magician's Sons - not yet published
This series is planned, but has not yet been released.
- Flight Of The Nighthawks - scheduled to be published in 2005
- Into a Dark Realm - not yet published
- Wrath of a Mad God - not yet published
The Empire Trilogy
These books were all co-written with Janny Wurts. The difference in writing style is significant enough that many who do not care for Feist's books in general are devoted fans of this particular trilogy.
Unlike the other Feist books, the books in this series have a woman as the predominant character, and a strong, assertive woman at that. Chronologically, these books take place during and shortly after the Riftwar Saga, but on the other side of the rift on the world of Kelewan.
- Daughter of the Empire - 1987
- Servant of the Empire - 1990
- Mistress of the Empire - 1992
Legends of the Riftwar
There are several books set in the world of Midkemia, but again co-written with various authors. Collectively, these books are known as Legends of the Riftwar and are chronologically set during the same time frame as the Riftwar Saga books, and include:
- Honoured Enemy - 2001, written with William Fortschen
- Murder in LaMut - 2002, written with Joel Rosenberg
- Jimmy the Hand - 2003, written with Steve Stirling
Those new to Feist's work often ask which book they should read first, and what order the rest should be read in. The first question is easy to answer, the second is impossible. Beginning with Magician and the other novels of the Riftwar Saga is usually recommended - they were the first novels published, and probably the easiest introduction to the worlds involved.
After that, some readers prefer to read the books in the order they were written; the publication dates described above should aid in this. With the exception of the collaborative and unrelated works, the novels are listed in order of publication.
Other readers appear to read the books chronologically, in order of events. This is difficult with Feist's novels, as the timelines overlap in many cases. There is an attempt to list the books in chronological order on the Crydee.com website. However, actually reading the books in this order might be confusing for someone new to the books, as it involves disrupting the continuity within any given series.
In reality, the best bet is probably to start with Magician and the Riftwar Saga, and then to read each series as a set.
Unrelated Books and Short Stories
The dark fantasy Faerie Tale, published in 1988, focuses on a family that moves into an old house with an unearthly secret. An additional book unrelated to his previous novels is supposedly in the works, with a working title of Jigsaw Lady.
Feist has published far more novels than short stories, but some dedicated fans have been known to hunt down an anthology solely for the single Feist story. Actually, Feist's first published fiction was a short story; titled 'Profit and the Grey Assassin', it was published in 1982. Feist has also had stories published in the two Legends anthologies released by Tor Books: 'The Wood Boy' in the first Legends, and 'The Messenger' in Legends II. Other work has been published in fiction magazines, the SFWA bulletin, and anthologies for both American and European presses. Some of Feist's work is also being adapted into comic books.
The Author Today
Today, Ray Feist is living in southern California and still writing, and is known for being a dedicated user of Apple computers and collector of thousands of movies.