If you're looking for a huge SFF series to get lost in, we got you covered. The Riftwar Cycle is a fantasy series of epic proportions, written by Raymon E. Feist alone, or co-written with other writers. The series takes place in the worlds of Midkemia – a universe created by a role-playing group - and Kelewan – a universe partly inspired by M. A. R. Barker's Tekumel. With 30 books in the series, there can be some confusion about where to start, so we've found the correct order for those who want to get started with The Riftawar Cycle.
1. Magician (1982)
This is where it all began more than 40 years ago. The first book of the original trilogy called The Riftwar Saga, Magician follows the coming-of-age formula that was very common in SFF works: the orphan Pug is taken in by a magician as an apprentice. But when the Kingdom is destroyed, Pug is taken through a rift into another world. His magic might allow him to save both worlds. For the US market, the book has also been published in two parts: Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master.
2. Silverthorn (1986)
The second book of The Riftawar Saga follows Prince Arutha's journey in search of a mystical herb, the titular Silverthorn, which might be the only way to save the life of his betrothed.
3. A Darkness at Sethanon(1987)
A Darkness at Sethanon concludes the original trilogy The Riftwar Saga. In this book, Arutha, Pug and other characters must defeat the main antagonist Murmandamus.
4. Daughter of the Empire (1987)
The Riftwar Saga is followed by another trilogy, this time called The Empire Trilogy. This trilogy is co-written by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, also known for The Wars of Light and Shadow. The first book of the trilogy, Daughter of the Empire takes place in Kelewan and it follows Mara, a ruling lady aged only 17, living in constant precarity and fear of assassination. But she won't let that intimidate her; Mara is willing to bend tradition and sacrifice anything for her people – even her heart's desire.
5. Servant of the Empire (1990)
In the second book of The Empire Trilogy, Mara has become a force to be reckoned with and an expert player in the Game of Council – an in-universe game of thrones equivalent. This is not to say that she's safe – powerful as she is, she still has powerful enemies. Servant of the Empire sees her navigating these dangers and expanding her rather limited worldview as she grows close to a person who should be her enemy.
6. Mistress of the Empire (1992)
Mistress of the Empire concludes The Empire Trilogy and Mara's story. Mara of Acoma might have risen to power, but this means more loss and danger, rather than less. Spying rivals and brotherhood of assassins threaten her and all that she holds dear. But the previous two books are proof enough that Mara won't sit and wait for tragedy to strike. The third and final books follow her in a final struggle to prove herself as Mistress of the Empire once and for all.
7. Prince of the Blood (1989)
The third series, Krondor's Sons, is a duology, taking place two decades after The Riftwar Saga. Prince of the Blood follows the sons of Prince Arutha, twins Borric and Erland, who find themselves saddled with the responsibility they had never imagined when Borric becomes heir to their childless uncle, the King. Like Mara in the previous series, the brothers face all kinds of misadventures, from ambushes to assassination attempts. When Borric is separated from his brother, he must use all his strength and wits to be reunited with Erland and thwart the traitors that attacked him.
8. The King's Bucaneer (1992)
The King's Bucaneer follows Arutha's youngest son, the inexperienced Nicholas, who along with his squire, Harry, is sent on a journey to learn about life and take on more responsibility. However, things turn sour when Crydee, where they've been sent, is attacked by dark forces which threaten the lands Nicholas is meant to rule – and his very life.
9. Shadow of a Dark Queen (1994)
Sons of Krondonis followed by a 4-book series, The Serpentwar Saga. The first installment, titled Shadow of a Dark Queen is a good vs evil conflict between a dark queen gathering significant forces and desperate men who set out to stop her. Nakor the Isalani, a gabler, plays a key role in the quest as he happens to know the true nature of this dark queen.
10. Rise of a Merchant Prince(1995)
In the second installment of The Serpentwar Saga Rupert (Roo) Avery returns as one of the most powerful merchants of Midkemia. Struggling to build and keep his empire, Roo takes two dangerous bankers and two women on an adventure – while the shadow of the dark forces he once fought against is never far away.
11. Rage of the Demon King (1997)
In the third installment of The Serpentwar Saga, Erick bon Darkmoor and Roo Avery find themselves in a war that will determine the future of their world, as the Rift that allows evil to enter Midkemia must be sealed.
12. Shards of a Broken Crown (1998)
The last installment of The Serpentwar Saga is the aftermath of the Emerald Queen's defeat. This, however, hasn't marked the end of the war. Shards of a Broken Crown recounts the final conflict that will decide the fate of the weakened Midkemia.
13. Krondor: The Betrayal (1998)
Krondor: The Betrayal is the first book of The Riftwar Legacy a collection that includes a trilogy and a novella. This series can either be read in the order of publication or between The Riftwar Saga and Krondor's Sons. The plot revolves around deadly forces that once again threaten the kingdom after a relatively peaceful time.
14. Krondor: The Assassins (1999)
In the second book of The Riftwar Legacy, we're reintroduced to Prince Arutha who is called to tackle a series of violent assassinations and mutilations in Krondor.
15. Krondor: Tear of the Gods (2000)
The third book of The Riftwar Legacy offers a closer look at those responsible for the attempt to force the kingdom of the Isles into war. The story focuses on a ruthless pirate named Bear and the aftermath of his raid – which went horribly wrong.
16. Jimmy and the Crawler (2013)
Published much later than the original trilogy, Jimmy and the Crawler is the fourth story of The Riftwar Legacy. This novella deals with Krondor gangs and uses concepts from two Krondor novels that got canceled.
17. Honoured Enemy (2001)
Honored Enemy is the first part of The Legends of the Riftwar series. It can be read either chronologically or between the two very first books, Magician and Silverthorn. Honored Enemy is co-written by Raymond E. Feist and William R. Forstchen. In this novel, Hartrafts Marauders, a band of raiders, must co-exist with the Tsurani, their sworn enemies, if they are to survive.
18. Murder in LaMut (2002)
The second part of The Legends of the Riftwarseries has co-written by Raymond E. Feist and Joel Rosenberg. In it, we follow mercenaries During, Pirojil and Kethol, seasoned fighters against the Tsurani and other enemies. The team expects a few uneventful months of garrison duty after their continued service but can there ever be rest in Midkemia?
19. Jimmy the Hand (2003)
The third part of The Legends of the Riftwarseries is co-written by Raymond E. Feist and S. M. Stirling. It follows a teenage thief, Jimmy, whose life changes forever when he aids Prince Arutha and the Kingdom as a whole.
20. Talon of the Silver Hawk (2002)
In the first novel of the Conclave of Shadows trilogy, danger finds Mikdemia once more. The novel follows Kieli, a boy who decides on a path of vengeance after all his loved ones are slaughtered by an army wearing the colors of Duke Olasko.
21. King of Foxes (2003)
The second book of the Conclave of Shadows trilogy follows Tal Hawkins, as Kieli comes to be called in his new life as a skilled swordsman. It looks like Tal is getting closer to his revenge against Duke Olasko, but success will come at a great personal cost as the enemy is crafty and well-protected.
22. Exile's Return (2003)
In the third and last book of the Conclave of Shadows trilogy, Kaspar, former Duke Olasko has been removed from power and struggles to survive in an unfamiliar land; no longer under the dark influence of his necromancer, he might have a chance at redemption.
23. Flight of the Nighthawks (2006)
In the first book of The Darkwar Saga, we meet an old acquaintance, the sorcerer Pug who is troubled by a horrible vision regarding the destruction of Midkemia. Two boys will be chosen by the mysterious Conclave of Shadows to tackle a sinister plot that implicates important people in the land.
24. Into a Dark Realm (2007)
The second book of The Darkwar Saga recounts the aftermath of the failed plot that concerned Flight of the Nighthawks. The Nighthawk brotherhood that terrorized the land has been neutralized but it will take a lot for the land to go back to normal, especially since a mad sorcerer is still on the loose.
25. Wrath of a Mad God (2008)
In the Conclusion of The Darkwar Saga Pug and members of the Conclave of Shadows embark on a quest with slim chances of success to save both Midkemia and Kelewan from the dangerous Darkwar.
26. Rides a Dread Legion (2009)
In the first book of the duology known as The Demonwar Saga, the elves return to Midkemia, and they do not come as friends. Their own home has been taken over by demons and conquering Midkemia seems to be their only chance to survive. To avoid total annihilation, Pug must bring together unlikely aides, including former lovers and sworn enemies.
27. At the Gates of Darkness (2010)
The second book of The Demonwar Saga duology takes place ten years after the Darkwar and, unsurprisingly, Midkemia and Kelewan are once again in danger. Demon hordes seek to invade, so Pug and the Conclave of Shadows must once again find those most talented in magic and bring them together to avoid total disaster.
28. A Kingdom Besieged (2011)
The last series written by Raymond E. Feist in Midkemia, known as The Chaoswar Saga starts with A Kingdom Besieged. Pug and the Conclave of Shadows might have enforced peace years ago but the kingdom is threatened once more. An old enemy in a new guise is assembling significant forces. As the men of the West go to war, Martin, the caretaker of Crydee Keep is suddenly confronted with an invading army – and no forced to fight it.
29. A Crown Imperiled (2012)
With Midkemia's intelligence network dismantled, the stakes are higher than ever in the second book of The Chaoswar Saga. Conflicts abound in different parts of the kingdom but who is orchestrating them?
30. The Magician's End (2013)
In the last book of The Chaoswar Saga and the Riftwar books as a whole – ominously titled The Magician's End – the kingdom is torn apart by civil war. The politics are complex as ever, but an inhuman force turns out to be the greatest threat. Elves and humans must cooperate and the Magician Pug must make the ultimate sacrifice.
The best way to read Raymond E. Feist then, is the order of publication. This is often the case because even when an author writes different timelines, the world can be better understood if we learn about it at the author's pace, along with them. Of course, in some cases mentioned above, such as Honoured Enemy, you can read the books taking the chronology of Midkemia into account - this depends on whether you are interested in reading the entire series or just certain stories in Feist's world.
In any case, this is a rich series, with character-driven plots and a well-developed world that will keep you company for a long time.