Tor.com content by

Tansy Rayner Roberts

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 14

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts!

This week: Arakasi tries to convince Mara he’d be okay with assassinating his sweetie, Jiro of the Anasasi is a sleazeball, and Hokanu has a terrible case of husband!fail. No children die in this chapter, hooray!

Chapter 14: Revelation

Summary: Six days later, and Arakasi is still being pursued by his enemies after making the entire Hamoi Tong look terrible at their jobs because he assassinated their Obajan.

[Chapter 14: Revelation]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 13

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts!

This week it’s all hot girls and damp silk, as Arakasi infiltrates a pleasure retreat, hurls some concubines, and overthinks his recent one night stand with a honey-haired courtesan.

Chapter 13: Twist

Summary: After living as a beggar for a month, Arakasi has now finally made his move—he’s dressed as one of the Hamoi Tong, sitting in a tree in the Obajan’s private garden of his “pleasure retreat.”

[Arakasi also has a beard now.]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 11

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This week: Arakasi is very good at seducing ladies but very bad at dealing with the Feelings that come afterwards. If only he had some sort of outlet for his emo. Sure, they don’t have Livejournal in Tsuranuanni but surely he could paint a few tragic poems on silk panels or something. Right? Right? Or maybe a therapy group for emotionally compromised superspies.

Someone write that webcomic, stat!

[Read more]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 9

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This week: everyone starts remembering that Mara is actually the protagonist, and Arakasi needs his own theme song for spy antics.

Chapter 9: Miracle

SUMMARY: A wounded and possibly still bleeding Hokanu keeps vigil by Mara’s bedside, hoping desperately that the antidote is genuine. Lujan reports that the archers who set upon Hokanu on his way home were definitely part of an advance guard sent by Jiro of the Anasati. Now it’s Hokanu’s turn to declare war on Jiro! A fine family tradition.

Mara’s eyes open and she starts parsing the political implications of the situation even before she’s properly awake. YAY we have Mara back!

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 8

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! CSI: Tsuranuanni takes a darker turn this week, with some unexpectedly grim torture performed by one of our heroes.

Potential trigger warning for discussion of gore and torture. But it’s pretty mild compared to the chapter itself. Seriously, I don’t think the books have been this icky since the human sacrifice chapter. You have been warned.

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 7

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This week, it’s CSI: Tsuranuanni, with Detective Arakasi and Detective Shinzawai on the case.

Spoiler: the assassins did it.

Chapter 7: Culprit

Oh come now, Feist and Wurts, you know you wanted to call this chapter ‘Near Death by Chocolate.’

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 6

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This is another sad chapter of sadness.

Potential trigger warning: this one covers a traumatic childbirth event with a sad outcome. Take care of yourself accordingly.

Chapter 6: Gambits

SUMMARY: Chumaka has also been having a very frustrating two years, work-wise. He has had agents lying in wait for the Nameless Spy Master of the Tuscai (aka Arakasi) for years, hoping they would reopen the corner of the network that he knows about—but he has been outsmarted.

[This time jump is messing with everyone’s heads.]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 5

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. In this one, Arakasi’s reputation is going to the dogs, because time jumps aren’t good for everybody…

Chapter 5: Machinations

SUMMARY: Two years have passed. Hokanu guesses correctly that Mara is pregnant, and is delighted at the possibility of another child in their family—his first by blood.

Mara has a troubling request, though. She is concerned about the risks of pregnancy, knowing that if she and her baby don’t survive the birth, House Acoma will be lost forever. The Shinzawai are in a far less precarious position, with all manner of stray cousins and nephews who could replace Hokanu.

And although Hokanu keeps oh-so-helpfully offering, she really doesn’t think it’s okay or good enough to blend the Acoma with the Shinzawai. A girl’s got to have standards.

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 4

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This Arasaki chapter actually gets us out of the usual domestic setting and into the spy field.

Chapter 4: Adversity

Summary: Once again, a chapter heading which could be used for any other chapter in this saga. But would we want anything less at this point? I think not.

Trapped and cornered while doing espionage things in a fabric warehouse in Ontoset, Arakasi discovers that he is being tracked by an expert team.

[Anyone else hoping they want to recruit him for S.H.I.E.L.D.?]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 3

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! This is the one where the Magicians decide to get their sticky fingers all over Mara’s war of vengeance.

Chapter 3: War

Summary: Mara has completely lost it. As she collapses in her grief, the men of her household gather around her to shield her from the curious and thoroughly judgy eyes of the Ruling Lords and associated hangers on.

As Lujan removes all edged weapons from his person before picking his mistress up, Lady Isashani of the Xacatecas comes forward to advise Hokanu in what to do next, and to volunteer her services in calming and protecting Mara.

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 2

Welcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This one’s going to be emotional. Damn those repressed Tsurani. Pack hankies!

Chapter 2: Confrontation

SUMMARY: Can we please refrain from murdering any more children in this chapter? Kthnxbye.

Jiro plays shah, which is chess. I’m hoping that this is the authors telling us through symbolism that as far as being Mara’s nemesis goes, he is more about calm strategy and less about the bloodsports and human sacrifice. Because seriously, I can’t take another Desio or Tasaio.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 1

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.]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 25

Welcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! This is the final chapter but, never fear, we’ll be on to Mistress of the Empire next week.

Thanks to all the readers who have been enjoying the journey back to ’80s epic fantasy with me so far, and especially to the commenters who pop by to add the conversation every week.

This is the chapter that the Hokanu Fan Club (of which I am secretary and president) have been waiting for. Sorry, Kevin. We swoon for Hokanu.

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 24

Welcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! If you’re here for the political drama, look no further than this chapter. House of Cards, eat your heart out.

Chapter 26—Resolution

Okay, I was kidding about this last week, but really? A chapter called Resolution? Was this a placeholder?

On the other hand, after all the tension of the book so far, I’m quite looking forward to some resolution. Bring it.

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 23

Welcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! Kevin fans, have tissue boxes at the ready, this one’s going to be a tearjerker.

Chapter 25: Confrontation

I swear, if I get a chapter title which is ‘Conflict’ I’m just going to go home. Why name chapters at all if you’re going to be super vague?

Someday I will write a book in which every chapter heading is either ‘Conflict,’ ‘Resolution,’ or ‘Ends on a Cliffhanger.’

[No, I really won’t]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 22

Welcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

Chapter 24—Breakthrough

We’re getting so close to the end now! Only a handful of chapters to go. Are we going to have more brutal and traumatising deaths before this volume is done?

Summary: It’s all pretty depressing at the Acoma estate, after the funeral rites for Nacoya are done. Mara and Lujan are more aware than ever that the estate is simply too large and sprawling to be properly defended, which adds a great deal of stress to their current circumstances.

Mara is also worried that Arakasi has not been seen since one hour after the attack on Ayaki (and the simultaneous attack on herself).

The servants are beginning to mutter amongst themselves that Arakasi might actually have been involved in Tasaio’s attack; Mara doesn’t want to believe that, but where is he?

If Arakasi was a traitor, all of their work together has been for nothing.

[Read More]

Series: Rereading The Empire Trilogy