Magician's End: The End of an Era

Magician's End

It is, quite literally, the end of an era. Raymond E. Feist’s thrilling epic fantasy opener – MAGICIAN – introduced to us the engaging character of Pug, who starts life as an orphaned kitchen-boy only to be apprenticed to a magician, captured as a slave and taken as a prisoner through a rift between worlds, ending up as a fully-fledged magician himself.

That was 31 years and 29 bestselling books ago: even before I started work as a publisher. I was already well aware of the phenomenon that MAGICIAN had been before I joined HarperCollins in 1991. Coming from a small independent publisher (George Allen & Unwin) I wasn’t used to sales in the hundreds of thousands (except, of course for the Master himself, JRR Tolkien). Working on the sf and fantasy list at HarperCollins was quite daunting: for alongside Ray Feist there also sat Stephen Donaldson, David Eddings, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke, all titans of the genre.

I have to admit to being quite scared at the prospect of meeting Ray for the first time, at the WorldCon in San Francisco in 1993. Everyone had told me tales about this leviathan of an author. He was a global megastar, selling millions of copies worldwide. He was used to a certain level of pampering from his publishers; he liked a good steak and was a connoisseur of fine red wine, my bosses told me, packing me off to meet him. Nervously, I asked the convention hotel to recommend a good steakhouse. They conferred: not easy apparently, since we were in the business district and all the restaurants were shut for the Labour Day weekend. They gave me a contact number and I booked a table, confident all would go swimmingly. I met Ray at the restaurant. Well, I say restaurant. More of a burger joint, actually. It did have tables… but that was about the height of its sophistication. It was, shall we say, no River House. I asked for a wine list. They laughed in my face. The food was terrible. I wanted to die. But Ray was a total gentleman throughout the entire excruciating experience, determined to put me at my ease, and from that day to this we have gone from strength to strength as author and publisher. And we’ve more than made up for that lapse in San Francisco with some mighty fine meals and wine in the intervening years.

But now we really have something huge to celebrate when Ray visits the UK this month. For MAGICIAN’S END – the 30th book in the Riftwar Cycle – marks the epic conclusion to this phenomenal series. And a truly worthy final volume it is, too.

When he delivered the huge manuscript last year I stayed up till 1am to finish reading it, with tears running down my face. Through the past three decades I have watched the ebb and flow of gods and dark elves, of kings and queens, knights and squires; spies and swordsmen, dragons and the Dread. War, love, magic, heroism, treachery and rifts between worlds: it’s made for a gloriously epic combination all these years.

MAGICIAN’S END brings together all the characters fantasy fans have loved all their adult lives, and which new readers are discovering with a sense of awe and delight every day, and delivers a truly cataclysmic, yet inspiring, ending for them. As a reader and a fan, I feel bereft: but as a publisher…. What a marvellous event it is going to be for us all, publishing this extraordinary final volume. I do hope you will turn out and help us to make the occasion a really special time and help us to celebrate in style with our brilliant and charming author.

Jane Johnson, HarperVoyager UK Publishing Director

Magician’s End is published on 6th May 2013 in the UK. Pre-order it now in hardback or in eBook.

26 thoughts on “Magician's End: The End of an Era

  1. I started reading Magician within a year of it’s being first published and I was hooked! With the exception of the books based on the video games, I’ve never read an author who so consistently grabbed my attention without being too repetitive. I have read 75% of Magician’s End and know that I’ll miss the characters and stories in a similar way to missing the Harry Potter books.

    I won’t say that I’m one of Ray’s biggest fans, but I will say that Magician is one of my favorite books of all time, and I have four different editions, the Author’s Preferred Edition, the leather-bound UK Edition, a Russian edition and the paperbacks.

    Jane, do you know if Mr. Feist plans to continue writing or is he retiring for good?

  2. Pingback: My Top Authors and Their Books | Editorial Stand

  3. Fantastic books good storys they have entertained me for best part of twenty years since I picked up a ragged copy of silverthorn now the storys are ended but ill continue to read them over big praise for raymond who I narrowly missed meeting to my everlasting regret

  4. Began reading the Riftwar series while attending Cal State Stanislaus 13 years ago.

    Not many authors of this genre can draw you into there creation with such strength
    of character and verisimilitude.

    Thank you Mr Feist for the journey. You are one of the reasons that life is
    worth living.
    Roo Rocks!

    Nick Dakopolos
    Stockton, Ca

  5. I’m getting teary just thinking about it. Magician’s Apprentice was one of the first full fledged books I read in my pubescent years. I have read all and now I too am waiting with baited breath for this final installment. The story that has come with my through my life will always be with me – thank you Ray for being with me while I’ve grown up.

    • Oh how I wish. I would like to re-read from the beginning, but I do 100% of my reading digitally now and it drives me nuts that I can’t get half of his works in any ebook format. You’d think both he and the publishers would enjoy the revenue from people who would re-purchase!

  6. It was time to leave the children’s book behind and my mother took me to the bookshop to pick a new book. I picked up Magician, and have never looked back.
    I have continued to read this type of book, but never found anything to compete with Raymond’s creation. I have had to buy 4 copies of the first book as I continue to re-read this series over and over.
    Thank you for years of enjoyment.

  7. I’m only 17 and these are truly the best books I have read I have every book from the rift war to the serpent ,dark and so on u truly capture so much in Your world I have never been so into a book along with the background and lore I hope a new series of side stories is made for one is never to old or young to leave midkemia it will be sad to see the end.

  8. As with the many avid readers of Raymonds works, I to eagerly (with some trepidation) await the release of the final chapter, in a series of works that have always kept me totally engrossed into the wee small hours of the night. Whatever the final outcome will be, I can only pass on my sincere thanks to the Author for the enjoyment his books have given me.

  9. By ‘Conclusion’ I hope this is just a conclusion to Pug’s journey and not the Universe which is Raymond’s creation. Dammit all man! I haven’t even read it yet and I’m already teary eyed! Don’t tell me it’s ALL over! *sniffle*

  10. Better to know it’s the last book, then to have a cliffhanger that leaves us wondering what could have been. All things have to end sometime.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful world of Midkemia. I have enjoyed every book and the story line. Thank you again and enjoy the well earned praise.

  12. I’ve never been a big reader but Feist’s work Has always kept my interest. I find it ironic that I started playing Betrayal at Krondor, the PC game version, yesterday. This computer game introduced me to Feist’s work and Im thankful for it and everything Ray has given us.

  13. I can’t wait to read this book, though I’m sure I’ll go at with a feeling of dread…every time I first read the series finale for any great series, I hate reading it because I know it’s the last one. However, since I’m currently re-reading the entire series from start to finish for about the 3rd time, I won’t get to Magician’s End for a little while…I’m on Talon of the Silver Hawk right now. But I’m sure Magician’s End will give us a great read!

  14. Somewhere out there…
    …NCC-1701 (no other letters, as God [and Gene Roddenberry] intended) is still cruising through its original five-year mission. And its second five-year mission.
    …Buffy and the Scoobies are sorting out this season’s Big Bad.
    …Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, and the rest are still fighting the Empire.
    …Firefly and Mal and Wash and Book and the rest are still humpi…ng from one star system to the next.
    …Bruce Boxleitner and Tracey Scoggins and Claudia Christian and Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik and Mira Furlenn and Bill Mumy and the rest are still walking the corridors of mankind’s last hope.
    …Indiana Jones and Short Round are still traipsing around China.
    …Jean-Luc Picard and First Officer Will Riker and Commander Data and the rest are still flying around in NCC-1701-D.
    …Optimus Prime and Megatron are still going at it.
    …Starbuck and Apollo and Adama are still searching for Earth.
    …Hannibal and BA and Face and Murdock are still putting their latest plan together.
    Why?
    Because the fans wouldn’t allow anything else.

    Good series don’t die. They just change directors and venues. They become the legends we remember, and then the fans take them and run, because we can’t stand the thought of something we care that much about being allowed to pass into history.

  15. cannot wait to read this book but so sad as well. i have every book raymond has ever published and absolutely love being lost in midkemia. every time a new book comes out i read the entire series from beginning to end. his worlds and characters help me to escape from reality for the duration of my reading and i will never tire of his works. a very big thank you for all the enjoyment you have given me

  16. Great idea Jane, to celebrate this final book of Raymond with the fans. I really hope the publisher in the Netherlands will organise such an event!

  17. Both anticipating and dreading the release of this book. I started this series when Talon of the Silver Hawk was first realeased and my husband was deployed. With 2 very young children at home, these books kept me sane. Instead of spending my nights and precious down time enveloped in a world of dread and worry, I lost myself in Pug’s world. Reading Feist’s works held me together through two deployments and nearly 10 years as a military wife (hubs is retired now).
    A new story of Pug’s world was something I looked forward to every year and had always hoped it would never end. Yet, at 30 books, it’s an incredible feat to have the story progress and progress well for that amount of time!
    At least I have all the books lining my shelves to intoruce my children to Pug’s world in just a few short years.

  18. Will be 40 this year and Magician was the first Fantasy book I ever read. Cannot believe it is coming to an end but it has been one hell of an epic journey throughout my entire adult life. Raymond, you sir are a genius.

  19. It will be extremely sad to see the end of the rift war books but it will be interesting to see what his next series of books (set in a new world) will be like. Hopefully the new world and characters will keep us as captivated as we have been for the past 31 years. And don’t forget the release of the compendium, The Chronicles of Pug, that is due out later this year.

  20. I really can’t quite believe it – for thirty years I have waited patiently for the next book (sometimes not so patiently) but now to know this is the last . . .

  21. Can’t wait to read it. Have purchased every Riftwar book and sideline story since my partner got me hooked 11 years ago and it will be a shame to not see the new ones coming out at the bookstore but it’s an AMAZING series of books that I can never put down no matter how many times I’ve read it.

  22. I can’t believe it’s ending! Surely Raymond could be forced to write some more (have you tried locking him in a cellar?)!

    • @Simon, is Kathy Bates working on anything?

      I am fortunate to have one of the earlier printings of Apprentice and while I havent kept up with all of the books (I didnt even know there were 30), I have read and reread the original Riftwar and the Serpentwar series countless times. I will also be in tears when I turn the final page. Thank you Mr Feist for giving all us a readers a beautiful and wonderful world to enjoy and marvel at.

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