Raymond E. Feist was born and raised in Southern California. He was educated at the University of California, San Diego, where he graduated with honours in Communication Arts. He is the author of many titles, including the bestselling and critically acclaimed 'Riftwar' saga. Feist lives in Sante Fe.
The concluding volume of Feist's ``Rift-war'' trilogy opens with the Kingdom of the Isles enjoying a deceptive peace. Under cover of the Festival of Presentation, however, the dreaded Nighthawks come out of hiding in the warrens and sewers of Fish Town to attempt the assassination of Prince Arutha and his replacement by a double. Nothing in the ensuing 400 pages matches this lively opening. After Arutha fakes his own death, he sets out with a small party to avert a devastating war by killing his adversary, the evil lord Murmandamus. Their adventures, involving wizardry, siege war, goblins and giants, finally reveal that behind Murmandamus are the Dreadlord powers, intent on using the Lifestone to open a rift between universes. Although well-written and distinctly above average for such heroic fantasy, this is still a frustrating novel: intelligent, but not inventive; intriguing, but not involving. (March 7)