Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! Yes, that’s right, we’re up to Book 3.
In Daughter of the Empire, Mara of the House Acoma went from innocent acolyte to confident Ruling Lady after the tragic deaths of her father and brother. She built her family resources up from almost nothing to a position of reasonable strength, through good management and a flexible approach to her society’s rigid conventions.
Mara survived an abusive marriage and all manner of assassination attempts, only to bring down the two men who were most dangerous to her and her baby son: her husband Buntokapi, and Lord Jingu of the Minwanabi.
In Servant of the Empire, Mara rose rapidly through the ranks of Tsurani society, playing the political Game of Council to win, and enduring years of warfare in the desert lands. New enemies rose to defeat her, but she made friends, allies and vassals among the various Houses, building towards a time when all the favours she had gathered would need to be cashed in.
Mara fell in love with Kevin, a Midkemian prisoner of war from beyond the Rift, whom she bought as a slave. Together, the two of them faced down dangers from all sides, and brought further innovation to the society that would always keep them from being equals. After joining forces with the Emperor to change everything about how power in Tsurani society was to be used, and finally destroying House Minwanabi once and for all, Mara sacrificed love by sending Kevin safely back beyond the Rift. Honoured by the new Emperor as Servant of the Empire, and pregnant with Kevin’s child, she forged a new alliance by marrying Hokanu of the Shinzawai, a loyal and trusted friend.
It looked a lot like a happy ending.
[Now read on.]