Mistress of The Empire (Empire Trilogy #3) by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.
The world on the other side of the rift: Kelewan, a land seething with political intrigue and deadly conspiracies. Following the opulent panoply of Daughter Of The Empire and the dazzling pageantry of Servant Of The Empire comes the resounding conclusion to the Empire trilogy.
Besieged by spies and rival houses, stalked by a secret and merciless brotherhood of assassins, the brilliant Lady Mara of the Acoma faces the most deadly challenge she has ever known. The fearsome Black Robes see Mara as the ultimate threat to their ancient power. In search of allies who will join her against them, Mara must travel beyond civilization’s borders and even into the hives of the alien cho-ja. As those near and dear to her fall victim to many enemies, Mara cries out for vengeance. Drawing on all of her courage and guile she prepares to fight her greatest battle of all–for her life, her home, and the Empire itself.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Overall this is one of my favourite series of all time. The breadth and scale of the story, the world and customs and characters is amazing. However, this is a disappointing final installment. It’s reasonably good and taking Mara out of the empire and bringing her to the brink of annihilation is inspired storytelling. Add in the changes in her relationships with her servants and the traditions of the empire mixed with a showdown between her and the Assembly backed up by the Cho-Ja and you have all the elements for an epic story.
However, it gets terribly bogged down in detail, becomes incredibly slow moving and is far too long. For the first 25% virtually nothing happens. However, it is definitely worth reading and it does bring a satisfying and complete conclusion to the trilogy.
Overall the collaboration between these two authors has resulted in the best of both and therefore better than either on their own. I’m glad I went back and revisited this series and it has inspired me to go back to others I read when I was much younger.