One of the most popular fantasy novels ever published is Raymond E. Feist’s Magician. Originally published in 1982, the novel has sold over 10 million copies by itself to become individually one of the biggest-selling fantasy novels of all time. Between 1985 and 2013, Feist published no less than twenty-eight sequel novels (six of them in collaboration) in nine distinct sub-series. Altogether, The Riftwar Cycle has sold over 30 million copies to date.
The origins of the Riftwar Cycle go back to the mid-1970s, when Stephan Abrams founded a roleplaying group at the University of San Diego. Meeting on Thursday and Friday nights, the group started playing Dungeons and Dragons but very quickly found the rules not to their taste and developed a new set of house rules to game with. Rather than just the Dungeon Master of the moment, the entire group was involved in the creation of a collaborative world, which came to be known as Midkemia. In 1977 one of the group, Raymond Elias Feist, requested and received permission to adapt the history of the world as a series of novels. This resulted in the novel Magician, published in 1982.
Feist went on to detail the history of the world through five Riftwars, battles fought via sorcerous portals in the fabric of time and space. Wars were fought on Midkemia and in other worlds, and between worlds. The First Riftwar, as depicted in Magician, pits the Kingdom of the Isles on Midkemia against the Empire of Tsuranuanni on the planet Kelewan.
At the same time, Abrams and his collaborators worked on expanding the setting through roleplaying products put out by Midkemia Press: Cities, The City of Carse, Jonril: Gateway to the Sunken Lands, Tulan of the Isles, Heart of the Sunken Lands, The Black Tower and Towns of the Outlands. However, several plans to convert the entire world of Midkemia into a roleplaying setting fell through. It wasn’t until 2013 that the companion book Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug was published, featuring extensive maps depicting the world of Midkemia. However, the Elvandar website had carried maps and background material during the preceding years.
Note on the Map
Maps for the Riftwar Cycle novels were generally simplified from those originally created for the roleplaying game, which were extremely detailed. This resulted in some continuity errors (such as the misplacement of Highcastle far too far to the east, which made following the action in A Darkness at Sethanon somewhat complicated). In later years the Elvandar website carried better and more detailed maps, and finally, more complete maps were finally published in the companion volume Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug.
To create the map for this page, I consulted Elvandar, The Chronicles of Pug and the maps in the novels to try to put together the most complete map to date of the continent of Triagia on the planet Midkemia, the location of the Kingdom of the Isles and Empire of Great Kesh. However, complexities still set in as the shape of Triagia changes significantly as a result of the events of the final Riftwar novel, Magician’s End. It appears that some of the maps provided for the books and various websitse may have come from after this period, resulting in some minor discontinuities around coastlines. For the most part, these are negligible issues.
The map broadly shows the Kingdom after the events of the Serpentwar Saga, with the founding of Port Vykor, the establishment of the Duchy of the Southern Marches and the annexing of Shamata by the Kingdom of the Isles, to the dismay of the Empire of Great Kesh.
This map is also the first (I believe) to also depict the Sunset Islands, located to the west of Triagia. The map of the Sunset archipelago was adapted from the rough map provided in The Chronicles of Pug.
Books of the Riftwar Cycle
- Magician (1982)
- Silverthorn (1985)
- A Darkness at Sethanon (1986)
- Daughter of the Empire (1987, with Janny Wurts)
- Prince of the Blood (1989)
- Servant of the Empire (1990, with Janny Wurts)
- The King’s Buccaneer (1992)
- Mistress of the Empire (1992, with Janny Wurts)
- Shadow of a Dark Queen (1994)
- Rise of a Merchant Prince (1995)
- Rage of a Demon King (1997)
- Shards of a Broken Crown (1998)
- Krondor: The Betrayal (1998)
- Krondor: The Assassins (1999)
- Krondor: Tear of the Gods (2000)
- Honoured Enemy (2001, with William Forstchen)
- Murder in LaMut (2002), with Joel Rosenberg)
- Talon of the Silver Hawk (2002)
- Jimmy the Hand (2003, with S.M. Stirling)
- King of Foxes (2003)
- Exile’s Return (2004)
- Flight of the Nighthawks (2005)
- Into a Dark Realm (2006)
- Wrath of a Mad God (2008)
- Rides a Dread Legion (2009)
- At the Gates of Darkness (2010)
- A Kingdom Besieged (2011)
- A Crown Imperilled (2012)
- Magician’s End (2013)
- Profit and the Grey Assassin (1982, short story)
- Betrayal at Krondor (1993, video game)
- Return to Krondor (1998, video game)
- The Wood Boy (1998, short story)
- The Messenger (2003, short story)
- Jimmy and the Crawler (2013, novella)
- Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug (2013, with Stephen Abrams, companion book)
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