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Flight of the Nighthawks

Busy? Want to read a novel that will reliably give you what you expect? Are you willing to trade this reliability for the possibility of a sublime experience, which you don't have time to appreciate anyway? If so, then Flight of the Nighthawks is for you.

Raymond E. Feist is, along with Robert Jordan, the most consistent fantasy author in the business. Unlike other prolific writers in the genre who can write the occasional ass-kicker but who can also shaft us with the occasional dud (Robin Hobb comes to mind), Feist is Mr. Old Reliable. He doesn't write anything as good as MiƩville's Perdido Street Station or Martin's Storm of Swords, or anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, but he's never betrayed us with something as bad as Hobb's Shaman's Crossing. (Couldn't even finish that one.) Nighthawks is solid and reliable swords and sorcery -- nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

Where Feist has the advantage over Jordan (and now Martin!) is mostly in his wise decision to write his own version of the Wheel of Time without explicitly writing any series that's longer than a standard trilogy. True, almost all of Feist's books are set in Midkemia, and all of them follow the sorcerer Pug and his various comrades and flunkies, but hey -- at least they don't say "Wheel of Time, book Seven." Maybe it's just a marketing difference, but it's a difference that makes a difference. I never want to read any Book Tens except if it's part of the history of Middle Earth.

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