Select one of the keywords
King of Foxes: Conclave of Shadows, Book 2    by Raymond E. Feist order for
King of Foxes
by Raymond E. Feist
Order:  USA  Can
Eos, 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This follows Talon of the Silver Hawk as the second installment in Raymond E. Feist's Conclave of Shadows. The setting is the author's Riftwar world of Midkemia, and many of his original characters are still peripherally active in this new series, in particular Pug and his extended magical family.

In the first episode, Pug's Conclave of Shadows rescued, enlisted, and trained young Kieli (whose totem is the silver hawk) after his entire Orosini clan was massacred. He grew into the invented role of impoverished Squire Tal Hawkins of the Kingdom of the Isles, and won the title of 'World's Greatest Swordsman'. In addition to his skills with the blade, Tal plays the part of 'culinary and wine aficionado, musician, painter, linguist, dancer, and dandy.' Now, at the behest of the Conclave, Tal's back in Roldem, maneuvering closer to his hated, ruthless enemy, Duke Kaspar of Olasko.

Along the way, Tal hires a new bodyguard/servant - Amafi, an assassin who failed to kill him - and trusts him to a point. Using a technique learned from his grandfather, 'Laughter in His Eyes', Tal saves Kaspar from a great bear, and eventually enters his service and catches the eye of the Duke's sister. Our hero survives an interview with Pug's powerful enemy, the wizard Leso Varen who exerts a malign influence on Kaspar, and successfully executes missions for the Duke. Tal expects betrayal, but when it comes it's from an unexpected source, and he barely survives Kaspar's brutal punishment.

There's an interlude and an escape, with a flavor of The Count of Monte Christo (though the talents that get Tal out of his prison fortress are quite different). And Tal's plans for revenge are not modest - with the Conclave's help, he builds an army to defeat his powerful enemies. King of Foxes is a thrilling adventure, full of derring-do and with an engaging and talented hero. But it's also a story of coming to terms with the drive for revenge. As Pug comments at the end, Tal chooses to look 'for peace, not power', and is rewarded with his heart's desire. I look forward very much to Book 3.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews