By: Raymond E. Feist
Synopsis: Evil has come to a distant land high among the snow-capped mountains of Midkemia, as an exterminating army wearing the colours of the Duke of Olasko razes village after village, slaughtering men, women, and children without mercy. And when the carnage is done, only one survivor remains: a young boy named Kieli. A youth no longer, there is now but one road for him to travel: the path of vengeance. And he will not be alone. Under the tutelage of the rescuers who discovered him, Kieli will be molded into a sure and pitiless weapon. And he will accept the destiny that has been chosen for him… as Talon of the Silver Hawk. But the prey he so earnestly stalks is hunting him as well. And Talon must swear allegiance to a shadowy cause that already binds his mysterious benefactors – or his mission, his honour, and his life will be lost forever.
Format: Talon of the Silver Hawk is the first book in the Conclave of Shadows trilogy, which is part of the larger Riftwar Cycle. My copy is 374 pages long, and follows Talon of the Silver Hawk on his transformation from a young boy in a mountain village, to the beginning of his vengeance. It was first printed in 2003 by Eos.
My Thoughts: This is a truly fantastic introduction to Raymond E. Feist’s work if you have not read any of his other works. It demonstrates his fantastic ability to create realistic characters with real emotions and motives. The characters in any of the Riftwar Cycle are all very complex. However, nothing compares to Talon’s character arc in my mind. Talon started out as a young boy that already had some remarkable qualities, yet through the crucible of suffering he is forged into something much greater. Yet despite the fantastic things he encounters, Talon never loses sight of his true self, and his true goals. This is what I find makes him a remarkable character.
Another thought if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of the Riftwar Cycle, the worldbuilding that occurred for Midkemia is astonishing. Midkemia has fully formed cultures, which influence political climates and characters lives, as well as functioning economies and trade pathways to various parts of the world. Combine this level of detail with the influence from other planets in this universe as well as magic and you have a world that is startlingly realistic and still magical and amazing.
As for this particular book, you have everything you could possibly want in a story. A strong plot purposely avoiding the use of magic, to a character who must plot an improbable vengeance. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, even though it is the first book in the trilogy and gives you a lot of background information so you can understand Talon’s world of intrigue.
While I don’t want to appear like I am begging, but you need to read this book. I love it, you will love it, everyone loves it! Do yourself a favour and read this book!
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