Friday, 18 July 2014

The Empire Trilogy #3: Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Published: May 1993 by Bantam Books (first published January 1st 1992)
Goodreads Summary:The world on the other side of the rift:  Kelewan, a land seething with political intrigue and deadly conspiracies.  Following the opulent panoply of Daughter Of The Empire and the dazzling pageantry of Servant Of The Empire comes the resounding conclusion to the Empire trilogy.

Besieged by spies and rival houses, stalked by a secret and merciless brotherhood of assassins, the brilliant Lady Mara of the Acoma faces the most deadly challenge she has ever known.  The fearsome Black Robes see Mara as the ultimate threat to their ancient power.  In search of allies who will join her against them, Mara must travel beyond civilization's borders and even into the hives of the alien cho-ja.  As those near and dear to her fall victim to many enemies, Mara cries out for vengeance.  Drawing on all of her courage and guile she prepares to fight her greatest battle of all--for her life, her home, and the Empire itself.


Mistress of the Empire marks the end of the Empire trilogy. In this book, like in the previous one, political intrigues are woven in the plot like a wool ball. However, this time, the stakes are higher and the enemy are stronger.

Now in her early thirties, Mara having the title of Servant of the Empire is a renowned figure in Kelewan. She is almost as loved and respected as the Emperor himself. She is wealthy and blissfully in love with Hokanu, the Lord of the Kanazawai. And yet, and yet, in the midst of her happiness, an immense misfortune or rather a poisoned dart strike the Lady of the Acoma. The Hamoi tong in a murder attempt against Mara kill her son Ayaki.

Evidences point toward Jiro of the Anasati as the silent partner of the tong. But is he truly behind the murder?Mara’s advisors doubt so. However, grief stricken Mara is unable to think coherently. During her son’s funeral, thinking he murdered her son, she assaults the Lord of the Anasati, giving him at the same time, an excuse to declare war on her. 

Both Lord and Lady called their allies, it was to be among the greatest war of history, however the Great One, the magician crashed the party. They clearly but firmly forbid the war. The lord of the Pecha, one of Mara’s supporters hadn’t registered the order, he and his army were literally obliterated by the Great One.

After some deep thinking, Mara realizes that the Great One’s intervention wasn’t because of good faith. The Great One’s purpose is to keep the Tsuruanni culture’s stagnant in order to maintain their own god-like statue. The war orchestrated by Mara would have brought revolution which the magician’s fear.

Not only does Mara have to deal with Jiro and the Hamoi tong, now she must also deal with the Great Ones. 

Mara’s quest to dismantle the Great One’s influence will send her far away from Kelewan’s border. Mistress of the Empire was really entertaining. Once I had it, I couldn’t keep my eyes away from the book. I really wanted to know how Mara’s story was going to end. For me, the up of this book were the spy masters Ayakashi and Chumaka, I liked their intelligence, I liked the intrigue they created in order to further their masters’ goals. It was hard to see Mara, one of my favourite characters so devastated but I think that how her grief influenced her attitude was quite well written.

Even though, I really really enjoyed Mistress of the Empire and kept turning its page frantically, I think the book was the weakest in the trilogy (yeah someday, I gonna write an article about a well construted and written book vs an entertaining one, but well that's not the subjects right now). 

At times, I felt like the authors made their character do things that were uncharacteristic to their personality in order to move the story forward. Sometimes, also the main characters would magically find a solution to their problems.

 Furthermore, I couldn’t understand some the enemy’s motivation. I mean, the only reason why Jiro hated Mara and wished her demise was because in her youth, Mara chose to take his younger brother, Buntokapi as her husband instead of him. 

Pretty silly reason to hate someone, isn’t it? Besides, it is known by everybody that Mara chose Buntokapi because she thought he would be easier to manipulate. 

Also, the magician’s motive felt empty to me. They didn’t want to dominate the world. They wanted to stay in their Ivory Tower because they felt it was what was best for Kelewan. They felt the world needed a force above any laws. To me it felt as if the authors needed to find a reason to explain why the Tsuruani were such a bloodthirsty, heartless people and so, they created the Great One.

I was also a bit irked by Hokanu’s love or rather devotion to Mara. It was like reading  the mushiest romance story.

In any case, Mistress of the Empire was still a very good book to close what had been a great series. There were some flaws in the Empire trilogy, but I would definitely recommend it.

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