I remember when I read Magician by Raymond E. Feist for the first time.
I was enthralled with the fantasy genre by then, only fourteen years old, and I had already read The Sword of Shannara, Lord Foul’s Bane, Time of the Dark, and a number of other important works that became the foundation of the genre in the early 1980’s. Looking for something new, I picked up Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master, the first book split for paperback publication.
I fell in love with Midkemia from the very first page. The story of Pug and Tomas has remained with me for almost twenty-five years, their friendship intriguing, and the magic between two worlds joined by a rift as colorful and wonderful now as it was then. I return to the Riftwar every five years or so. I enjoy it that much.
Most recently, Mr. Feist has completed the concluding volume of the saga, the final book titled Magician’s End.
And now, along with Stephen Abrams, he has published a companion book titled Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug.
Here is an interview where Mr. Feist talks about the book and its inception:
Unbound Worlds: Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug is a new companion book to your bestselling Riftwar saga. Tell Unbound Worlds readers about it and how it came to be?
Raymond E. Feist: Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of questions from fans, at signings or online, about how Midkemia came to be and after talking about the evolution of the world, I’d end with, “And so, I write historical novels about a place that doesn’t exist.” It became evident over the years people wanted to know more about the world during the Riftwar Cycle. We began with the idea fourteen years ago to create an “Atlas of Midkemia,” but that concept evolved to what we have now, a book created by Pug from Macros’s original maps and notes, annotated by Pug and Magnus.
UW: How did you and co-writer Stephen Abrams split up the work?
REF: Steve was amazing. He’s a very organized, detail guy. I was finishing up Magician’s End, so once we got the concept roughly defined with our editor at Harper Design, Signe Bergstrom, I went back to writing my last Midkemian novel. They created a “book map” breaking down the entire volume page by page. It was organized into five sections, one for each war, and showed where every map and illustration was going to be, then blank pages with “Ray writes x number of words here.” It was surprisingly easy at that point given my familiarity with the material, yet challenging, as I don’t as a rule write first person; additionally I had to write in Pug’s “voice” then in Magnus’s. In the end I think it worked out far better than I anticipated.
UW: Midkemia is a world you’ve lived within for decades. What did it feel like looking back and re-exploring that entire history?
REF: It was entertaining while doing it. I don’t look back often given I’m more concerned with what comes next, both in Midkemia for the last thirty years and with projects I’m working on now.
UW: You recently published Magician’s End, which concludes the Riftwar saga. Was it as bittersweet for you as it was for the fans to see the end?
REF: Not really. Every story has an end. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t lead into other stories, just that that particular tale is over. Pug had a long run and did wonderful things, but I’m ready for new challenges.
UW: I am a cultist fan of FAERIE TALE. Any plans to revisit that world? And/or, what are you going to be working on in the future?
REF: Not that version of Earth. I have thought from time to time of doing something else with Mark Blackman, but nothing’s sprung to mind. I will, however, be revisiting Earth down the road in a book called Elder Gods, which will be a dark fantasy, suspense, action adventure novel where magic and technology clash.
There you have it. From Raymond E. Feist himself! Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug is available now in fine bookstores!
Revisit the Riftwar!