Series: Legends of the Riftwar #1
Publisher: Harper Voyager (June 27, 2006)
Length: 416 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars
Raymond E. Feist is an author I grew up reading, yet haven’t picked up in a long time. But when I saw this standalone novel set during the Riftwar, I decided to take a chance on one of my old favorites. Now, I’m glad I did, because Feist and William R. Forstchen deliver a great military fantasy story with Honored Enemy.
It is nine years into the Riftwar on Midkemia. The battle lines are fairly stable. Frontier forts and garrisons lining the cold, rugged and war torn Northlands. Midkemia and Tsurani units fighting more small actions against one another than huge battles. Little headway made by either side. Both sides growing weary of the near stalemate. But the war continuing with no end in sight.
Dennis Hartraft’s Marauders are one of the most successful raiders in the Kingdom army. Their commander’s hatred of the Tsurani driving his men to accomplish daring missions behind enemy lines; their name infamous even among their enemies. And now they are returning from another raid, heading for a frontier fort called Brendan’s Stocakade to settle down before winter arrives.
Meanwhile, Asayagsa, a Force Leader of the Kodeko Clan of the Tsurani forces, has orders to attack Brendan’s Stockade. While Asayagsa believes his orders are madness inspired by Tsurani politics, he cannot disobey for fear of bringing shame to his house.
Fate brings our two forces together at the frontier fort at the same time. A surprise awaiting both of them. The danger of being decimated by a third enemy causing the Kingdom and Tsurani to band together to survive. The rest of the tale focused on our “honored enemies” attempting to find a way across the frozen Northlands while battling a determined enemy and trying not to slaughter one another!
Definitely, this is a military fantasy, where the troops and their situation is tense, exciting, and filled with action, but it was my growing fondness for the characters themselves which kept my reading into the night. Dennis Hartraft’s past very compelling; Asayagsa’s constant dilemma with honor and survival expertly told; and the developing tale of the elf Tinuva wonderfully developed. Hell, I even loved the times when the enemy leader was focused on, finding this individual far more than a cookie cutter bad guy but someone I could understand, even empathize with in a strange way.
What I didn’t enjoy about the story were a few twists which eased the tension between our honored enemies. These events were just too convenient, too fortuitous for me to really believe they would happen in real life. And it kept the narrative from having to handle the ultimate question of whether our two bands would turn on one another as soon as the enemy presence behind them disappeared.
All in all, I really enjoyed Honored Enemy. This book – plus the short story The Messenger in Legends II – has reignited my desire to return to Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar series, because now I realize my childhood fondness for his stories might still hold true today. And I’d encourage other Riftwar lovers or fans of action-packed fantasy with a military twist to pick this one up. I really believe you will enjoy it!
Purchase the book at Amazon