Magician (Feist novel)

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Feist - Magician Coverart.png
Magician first edition cover.
AuthorRaymond E. Feist
Cover artistDavid Gatti
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Riftwar Saga
Publication date
October, 1982
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages545 (first edition)
Magician: Apprentice:
ISBN 0-553-56494-3
Magician: Master:
ISBN 0-553-56493-5
813/.54 19
LC ClassPS3556.E446 M3 1982
Followed bySilverthorn 

Magician is a fantasy novel by American writer Raymond E. Feist. It is the first book of the Riftwar Saga and was published in 1982. It led to many books written by Feist in the world of Midkemia, which was the setting for this book. Originally reduced in size by his editors, it was re-published in 1992 (after the author's fame had grown) in an edition titled "The Author's Preferred Edition" (or "revised edition" in some markets) with much of the deleted text restored.


Magician was separated into two volumes for the United States market and published as: Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. The book is still published as a single volume, titled Magician, in the UK.

Plot introduction[edit]

At Crydee, Pug, an orphan boy, is apprenticed to a master magician. Suddenly the Kingdom is aswarm with alien invaders, destroying the peace of the kingdom. Pug and his friend Tomas are swept up into the conflict, with Pug's destiny leading him through a rift to a new world.

Plot summary[edit]

In the twelfth year of the reign of Rodric the Fourth, an orphaned kitchen boy named Pug is made an apprentice magician to the magician Kulgan in Crydee. A struggling student of magic, he rises to high station by saving Princess Carline, Duke Borric’s daughter, from mountain trolls and becomes a squire of the Duke's court.

Following the discovery of a foreign ship wrecked after a storm and reports of bizarrely dressed warriors appearing in the forests, Pug’s liege, Lord Borric sets out for Krondor, the capital of the western realm of the kingdom, to convey the news and ask for aid. Their party is attacked, however, by dark elves and they are rescued by dwarves and their leader Dolgan who leads them through a series of mines to the coast.

Shortly after arriving in Krondor, Lord Borric’s band are instructed to carry on to Rillanon, the capital of the kingdom. Once there, however they are refused any help from the King Rodric, who suffers from madness and delusions, and they are turned away.

War erupts between the Midkemians and the otherworldly Tsurani. The Duke's troops engage in a fierce battle in an effort to locate and destroy the rift in spacetime which gives access to the Tsurani, but Pug is captured and taken back through the rift to Kelewan, the Tsurani homeworld, as a slave. After years of stalemate fighting on Midkemia by the two opposing forces, Pug returns as a magician, a Great One, the Tsurani name for master practitioners of magic. Meanwhile, a fellow slave, Laurie, along with a Tsurani warrior, Kasumi, embark on a secret errand of peace from the Tsurani Emperor to King Rodric in Rillanon, but also fail to persuade the mad king.

Discovering that Pug is alive and prospering as a magician, the dying Duke Borric reveals that he has adopted Pug into his family, also giving him an island – Stardock, where Pug is to begin an academy of magic. Duke Borric also reveals that Martin is his son and the older brother to Lyam and Arutha. Upon Borric’s death, Lyam becomes Duke of Crydee and commander of the Armies of the West. Shortly after, King Rodric appears at the camp after hearing the news of Borric's death. King Rodric himself then leads a charge against the Tsurani, breaking their ranks and driving them back, but suffering a mortal wound. While dying, the King's sanity seems to return and he apologizes to Lyam and names him heir to the throne.

With Rodric's death, Lyam assumes command and sues for a peace treaty with the Emperor Ichindar. During the peace conference, the two rulers, with Pug as the interpreter, begin on good terms by exchanging gifts. Due to the interference of powerful and mysterious sorcerer Macros the Black, the elves and dwarves mistakenly perceive treachery, and the truce dissolves into an all-out conflict. Macros enlists Pug's help to close the rift once and for all, and the connection between the two worlds is severed, leaving numerous stranded Tsurani soldiers in Midkemia, including Kasumi. The Tsurani, who expect to be put to death as is custom on their world, are instead granted freedom in return for their pledge of service to the Kingdom, and are stationed in LaMut with Kasumi made Earl and given command.

Lyam chooses to reveal Martin's birthright on the eve of his selection and coronation, threatening to throw the Kingdom into turmoil and potential civil war, but Martin relinquishes his claim, making Lyam the rightful king and ending any possibility of dispute.

Critical reception[edit]

Colin Greenland reviewed Magician for Imagine magazine, and stated that "There isn't really anything original about Magician. It relies heavily on generalized characters and landscapes; but after a slow start Feist gets everything in perspective, emphasizing the distances and difficulties of stopping this war nobody really wanted to start."[1]

The book placed 89th on the BBC's 2003 list "The Big Read Top 100".[2]

Feist acknowledged that the Tekumel setting from M. A. R. Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne was the source for much of Kelewan. The original D&D campaign which he based his books on had an invasion of the Midkemia world by Tekumel. As a result, much of the background of Kelewan - the Tsurani Empire, the lack of metals and horses, the Cho'ja, the pantheons of 10 major and 10 minor gods - come from Tekumel. Feist claims to have been unaware of this origin when he wrote Magician.[3][4]

Comic book adaptation[edit]

In March 2006, the novel was adapted into a comic book series titled Magician Apprentice, released by Dabel Brothers Productions and Marvel Comics. The first six issues were released as a graphic novel hardcover. After almost one year of collaboration, Dabel Brothers Productions and Marvel parted ways, with all the books, including Magician, being retained by Marvel. In June 2009, the series continued with the release of a 5-part Marvel limited series titled Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar.[5] The series was also released as graphic novel hard cover (Volume 2) by Marvel. Issues 13-18 are planned to be released under the title Magician: Riftwar.

Publication history[edit]

Since its release, Magician has been published in over 20 countries.


  1. ^ Greenland, Colin (March 1985). "Fantasy Media". Imagine (review). TSR Hobbies (UK), Ltd. (24): 47.
  2. ^ "The Big Read Top 100". BBC. 2003.
  3. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2012-02-05). "Designers & Dragons: The Column #13: Midkemia Press, 1979-1983". Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  4. ^ Arthur B (2007-07-06). "The Reading Canary On: The Riftwar Saga". Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  5. ^ "Preview: Riftwar #1". Comic Book Resources. June 18, 2009. Retrieved Jan 22, 2013.