From Publishers Weekly
Feist, author of the Riftwar Trilogy, and Wurts, whose fantasy novels include Sorcerer's Legacy and Stormwarden, have combined their skills to produce this absorbing saga. Mara is taking her final religious vows when a messenger interrupts the ceremony to report the deaths in battle of her father and brother. Now Ruling Lady of the Acoma, the teenager must rally its depleted forces against many enemies, particularly Lord Jingu of the Minwanabi, who sent her menfolk to their demise. Hampered though she is by the rigid traditions of her Oriental society, Mara replenishes her army with the masterless grey warriors and skillfully reaches a bargain with the cho-ja, insectoid aliens. Her most dangerous gambit is a political marriage to cement an alliance. Deprived of overt status, she finds it difficult to manipulate her brutish but cunning husband. This full-bodied dynastic fantasy has the sweep and drama of a good historical novel about an exotic time and place.
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. In the Riftwar Saga, the Tsurani sections are not among my favorites, so the thought of a whole trilogy set on Kelewan, making only brief mentions of Midkemia, did not overly excite me. But, I ended up really enjoying this book! Though Feist has strong female characters in the Riftwar Sagam they are not main characters by any stretch of the imagination, so this book with Mara, the Ruling Lady of Acoma, as its focal point was a great addition to the series as a whole!
The digital version that I read, unfortunately, was laden with typos. Since _A Darkness at Sethanon_ was pretty heavily rife with typos as well, I am curious over if the print version suffers from these errors as well. If so, I am very curious about the hiring standards of Bantam editors in the 1980s!
But not even the errors detracted from the excitement of a new book in the land of high politics, honour and warfare that Feist created in Kelewan. An interesting complimentary storyline, I am curious to see what heights Mara will achieve in the remaining two books of the trilogy.
This book is full of fantasy tropes and lengthy descriptions of people, places, and actions. Despite all this, I found the book to be quite readable, and entertaining. The finale was satisfying, and I will probably go on to read the next volume.
As another reviewer mentioned, there are quite a few typos and incorrect words - seems this is a problem with all of the editions.
Enjoy a level of detail in my reading that many authors don't take the time to do. More complexity than average, too. I'm a fast reader, so I like a book that's going to take some time. The main character is female and intelligent, quite capable of playing with the big boys. The entry of alien species piqued my interest and I'm hoping to see more of that fleshed out in future books. The Asian flare is a bit odd, since this world is going off-world, but it all works out. Plenty of intrigue and imagination going here. Enjoyable read.