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Magician UK paperback cover.
Original title
Cover Artist
Geoff Taylor
Publication date
October, 1982
Media type
545 pp (first edition)
Preceded by
Followed by

Magician is the name of the bestselling fantasy novel by author Raymond E. Feist. Originally published in 1982 this is the first book in the Riftwar Saga series which after its success led to many more books being written by Feist about the fantasy world of Midkemia. It was re-published as a revised edition in 1992 which contained text omitted from the original release. It is currently released as two separate volumes in the USA, Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master.


Revised Edition[]

Revised Edition

In 1992 a revised edition of the original Magician was published, this re-release contained over 15,000 words of text that was omitted due to editing restraints.

USA editions[]

Currently in the United States of America, Magician is released as two separate volumes Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master.

Magician: Apprentice[]

During a storm, a servant-boy, Pug, was caught outdoors and encountered a wild boar. He was saved by Meecham, a franklin, who brought him indoors, into the home of the Duke's magician and adviser, Kulgan. During their conversation, Pug was handed a crystal ball for scrying, to which he is able to activate and view Castle Crydee, much to Kulgan's surprise.

Days later, it was the time of the Choosing, where boys of age were to be chosen by various craft-masters as apprentices. Presiding over the events were the ruling noble of Crydee, the Duke Borric, and his children, Lyam, Arutha, and Carline. While other boys, including his best friend Tomas, were chosen, Pug remained the only person not chosen, until Kulgan stepped in, saying that he had a need for an apprentice.

As time went by, Pug grew increasingly frustrated by his lack of progress in his magical studies. As Kulgan and Father Tully speculated, Pug appeared to possess the ability, and he could grasp the theories of magic, but performing actual magic was more difficult. To help clear his head and cheer him up, Kulgan arranged for Pug to accompany the Princess Carline to go horseriding. Unfortunately, the duo encountered wild trolls, with their horses beyond reach. While Pug managed to get both trolls to chase him, he was unable to escape, and moments away from danger, he casted his first spell involuntarily, and killed both trolls.

When they reached home, Pug became an instant celebrity. For his deed, he was awarded the rank of squire, as well as the adoration of the Princess. Pug's deed concerned Kulgan, however, as traditionally, magicians could not simply cast spells out of thin air, but requiring an external focus, musing that Pug had probably found a new form of magic.

When the excitement wore off, another presented itself, in the form of an alien vessel shipwrecked on Crydee's shores. Pug and Tomas, being first on the scene, managed to enter the ship and liberated a few items before the tide reclaimed the wreckage. While on the beach, they discovered a survivor, who spoke a language unknown to them, and collapsed in terror as horsemen from the castle arrived.

Using a form of telepathy, Father Tully entered the mind of the survivor and gleaned some information before he died. As he explained, the survivor was a Tsurani, from a place far hotter, with a green sun, and an empire with a standing army of hundreds of thousands, far larger than any known empire in this world. A piece of pottery liberated from the ship appeared to be made of laminated wood, as is the alien's sword and armor. A magical scroll obtained from the ship stunned Kulgan, and opened a rift, a gateway through worlds. Hands reached from the other side of the rift, and was attempting to pull Kulgan through, when Pug threw a spear through, and the rift closed. As Kulgan explained it, the message was crafted by a magician from the ship, in order to bear a message back to his colleagues from wherever they came from.

Once they pieced everything they knew, Duke Borric decided that alien beings from another world could access Midkemia, and could appear again. In need of council, he send messages to hold a discussion with the elves from the nearby forest of Elvandar. The elves came, headed by their queen Aglaranna and her son, Calin, the Warleader of the elves. What they told him was even more distressing: strange people were sighted in the forest, mapping the area around Crydee, and disappeared without leaving tracks. With that, Duke Borric organized a party to travel to the Kingdom capital of Rillanon, to inform the King of a possible alien invasion.

During their journey through the forest, they were waylaid by bands of moredhel, the evil kin to the elves of Elvandar. Martin, the Huntmaster of Crydee, mentioned that the moredhel appeared to be migrating North by the thousands, and speculated on what could possibly uproot thousands of the most violent race known to mankind. Eager to avoid conflict, the party took a detour through the Mac Mordain Cadal, a dwarven mine that goes underneath the Grey Towers mountain range. During their trek, they were attacked by a wraith, and Tomas was separated from the party. While the party was forced to press on, Pug was inconsolable. The dwarven king who guided them through the mine, Dolgan, offered to go back and bring back Tomas back to the surface. Instead, he found Tomas in the company of a golden dragon, dying of old age. The dragon, Rhuagh, told them of his life story and his encounter with the Black Sorcerer Macros. Before he died, the dragon bequeathed a suit of magical armor to Tomas, and an ancient dwarven warhammer, the Hammer of Tholin, to Dolgan.

Duke Borric's party reached Rillanon and managed to convey the seriousness of the situation to King Rodric, a troubled young man new to the throne. The Duke was given command of the Armies of the Western Kingdom and they returned to find the outworlders appearing in force. On an intelligence mission to find out about how the outworlders accessed Midkemia, Kulgan and Pug led a raid into the heart of the Tsurani camp, and found a much larger rift. During the escape, Pug was captured and brought through the rift away from Midkemia.

Magician: Master[]

Pug became a slave in Kelewan, where he worked alongside Tsurani and Midkemian slaves alike, for many years. A chance encounter with a Tsurani noble, Hokanu, led to himself and another Midkemian, Laurie, being bought as slaves for the noble's household, the Shinzawai. The Midkemians were to tutor Hokanu's elder brother, Kasumi, in the language and culture of Midkemia, among other things, horseriding, which the Tsurani lacked and took to like ducks to water. Falling into routine, Pug was beginning to like his new life, and even fell in love with another Tsurani slave, Katala. However, a passing magician, a Great One, recognized Pug's fledgling magical capabilities, and claimed the boy for the Assembly of Magicians.

In the meantime, Tomas was living amongst the dwarves in the Grey Towers, fighting off the Tsurani from their settlements high in the mountains, and making guerilla raids on various Tsurani encampments in the forests below. During the passing years, the boy had grown into the dragon's gift of magical armor, becoming a fearsome warrior. In one such raid, the dwarves were forced to enter Elvandar, the elven forests, as Tomas was injured by an arrow. He recovered by the next morning, much to the elves' surprise, who also noted and recognized the armor Tomas was wearing.

Having completed his education, Pug emerges as Milamber, a Black Robe magician. Besides being the first "barbarian outworlder" to ascend to such status, he also revolutionizes Tsurani art and culture by designing his own house. His estate was staffed by two Tsurani housekeepers, and the rest being Midkemian slaves that he gathered from around the Empire. He made one such trip to the Shinzawai estate, where he intended to liberate Laurie, and Katala. To his surprise, he found Katala the mother to his son, named William. Laurie, while touched by Pug's offer, refused to leave the Shinzawai estate, hinting at some political maneuver that the Shinzawai are planning with Kasumi and Laurie.

It was revealed that in the Tsurani political arena, the Warlord and his War Party had amassed much influence, that threatened to undermine the authority of the Emperor of Tsuranuanni. Kasumi's family, the Shinzawai, sought to circumvent the War Party and act as intermediaries for the Emperor and King Rodric for a peace treaty. Hence, Kasumi's education of Kingdom languages and culture. Kasumi and Laurie were smuggled through the rift, where they traveled to Rillanon to meet with the King.

The Warlord, eager to consolidate his influence, held an Imperial Games event to commemorate his eventual conquest of the city of Crydee. When Milamber attended the Games, he was appalled by the brutal treatment of his countrymen, pitted against his wife's people, the Thuril. Struggling against his Tsurani re-education, Milamber was finally enraged when the Warlord ordered the execution of the slaves, who refused to battle one another for the entertainment of the spectators. His wrath called down a storm on the arena, causing massive destruction despite the attempts of other Great Ones to counter his magic. With that, Pug set his affairs in order and quickly left Kelewan, through the rift to Midkemia, with his wife and son.

In Elvandar, Tomas was slowly being consumed by the power of the being whose armor once belonged to. The elves had recognized the armor belonging to the Dragon Lords, once masters of all, and enslaved the elves. They now feared the return of a Dragon Lord to rule over them, when hints of romance was detected between Tomas and Queen Aglaranna of the elves. During the eve of a Tsurani assault on Elvandar, the elves received an unexpected help in the Black Sorcerer, Macros. After effortlessly repelling the Tsurani magicians, the remaining prisoners-of-war were brought before the rest of the elves. Tomas was seized by an uncontrollable rage and begin executing the Tsurani. The elves who attempted to stop him were stunned into obedience when he uttered a word in the language of the Dragon Lords. But the persona of the Dragon Lord was unable to overcome the goodness within Tomas, when he was confronted with the memories of his boyhood friend, and of his love for the Queen Aglaranna. To quell any disputes with the elves, he proclaimed himself as Prince-Consort to the Queen, never to challenge the rightful heir to leadership of Elvandar.

The war had gone badly for the Kingdom forces. Borric's second son, Arutha, went to Krondor to request aid from Prince Erland. Instead, he found the city in the midst of a civil war. The king, in his madness-induced paranoia, had ordered Guy du Bas-Tyra to seize power and imprison Prince Erland. Arutha also discovered that Erland's daughter, Anita, had enlisted the aid of Krondor's guild of thieves, the Mockers. With the help of a bright young thief, Jimmy the Hand, Arutha managed to smuggle Anita out of Krondor.

When Laurie and Kasumi reached Rillanon and had an audience with King Rodric, they found the king slightly unhinged. The King's adviser, Duke Caldric, a friend of Duke Borric, advised the duo that they should leave before the king decided to kill all aliens. With the heir to the throne, Prince Erland, who died recently, the politics in the Kingdom was in turmoil as various nobles begin eyeing the throne for signs of weakness in the king.

Soon after, King Rodric arrived to the frontlines, leading the Army of the East. Duke Borric had taken a mortal wound, leaving his eldest son, Lyam, as his heir and the next Duke of Crydee. Berating Borric's incompetence, the King himself took command of both armies, leading a charge against the Tsurani with over ten thousand cavalry and twenty thousand infantry. Although they routed the Tsurani, the King himself was mortally wounded, and named Lyam as the next King. His first act as King was to sue for peace with the Emperor of Tsuranuanni.

Tomas and Aglaranna were wed in Elvandar when the news of the armistice arrived. Celebrations aside, Macros the Black warned Tomas in private, that the Tsurani would betray the peace talks, and as Warleader of the elves and dwarves, Tomas must be prepared to attack the Tsurani to bolster the Kingdom armies.

As an important personage in both the Kingdom and the Empire, Pug was invited to be a translator for both King Lyam and Emperor Ichindar. As the peace talks progresses, Tomas, watching the Tsurani, perceived a flash of metal to be weapons drawn, and ordered the elves and dwarves to attack the Tsurani host. Ichindar was enraged by the perceived betrayal of the Kingdom forces, and ordered the Tsurani to engage in combat. While Lyam was reluctant to be party to betrayal, Pug explained that the Emperor was capable of ordering every Tsurani into battle, up to ten times the size of any previous Tsurani invasion.

As more and more Tsurani appeared through the rift, the Kingdom forces were slowly losing ground. At the height of the battle, Pug was visited by Macros the Black. The sorcerer explained of his motivations for instigating the betrayal, saying that the rift must be closed to prevent a greater evil. With that, both magicians entered the rift and closed it from within. While Macros the Black were missing, Pug was able to pull himself back into the Midkemian side. The closing of the rift also stranded several thousand Tsurani soldiers in Midkemia, led by none other than Kasumi himself. Honor demanded that the defeated troops to kill themselves in shame, but Pug used his position as former Great One to command otherwise. He suggested that Kasumi take the honorable way out by swearing fealty to King Lyam, an alien concept to the Tsurani, but one that is accepted with reluctance.

On the way to Lyam's coronation in Rillanon, Pug stopped by Sorcerer's Isle, home of Macros the Black. He was informed by the sorcerer's majordomo, Gathis, that Macros intended to bequeath his considerable collection of books towards Pug's future academy of magic. Macros, however, remained missing although still alive, assured the majordomo.

In Rillanon, Lyam's succession to the throne was in doubt when it was revealed that he was not the eldest son of Borric. Martin, Huntmaster of Crydee, was Borric's illegitimate son, and was being used as a rallying point for dissenting nobles. However, at the last minute, Martin disavows all claims to the crown, and proclaims Lyam to be King. Arutha was made Prince of Krondor, and a reluctant Martin was made the new Duke of Crydee.