Reviews of Mistress of the Empire (1992)
Review by tollbaby (2003-03-09)
This is a fantastic conclusion to the thrilling series on the other side of the Riftwar! Although the companion series (Riftwar Saga) should be read first, I accidentally started by reading this book, and it was fantastic! It can be read as a stand-alone novel, but the experience is so much richer when the novels are read in order. I've read the whole series about six times!
The authors have created an incredible world full of intrigue and suspense which will keep you turning those pages. Anthropologically speaking, the parallels which Wurts and Feist have drawn between the different "families" on Kelewan and the different cultures in our world are fascinating! There are many similarities between ancient Japanese cultures and the worlds of Kelewan (the concepts of honor and ritual suicide being the strongest), but there also appears the odd parallel to ancient Mayan and Incan society, and the peoples outside the Empire remind strongly of Russian, Viking and Bedouin cultures. When the "barbarians" from Midkemia are brought over, there is a clash between their culture and that of the Tsuranni which is extremely redolent of east vs. west (the Midkemians ride horses, they have metal, their concept of honor is vastly different, etc.)
I would strongly recommend this series, even if you're not a big fan of fantasy. The character sketches alone are worth it! This will always remain one of my favorites, and I plan on reading it again just as soon as I've replaced my tattered copy.