This first book of the Riftwar Legacy trilogy is based upon the original story created by Neal Hallford and John Cutter, set in Midkemia, to form the plotline of their game, Betrayal at Krondor. As a bonus, the hardcover version was sold with a CD including this game and its sequel, Return to Krondor. As of this writing, this reviewer has not yet played either of these games, and so will not attempt to comment on the faithfulness with which the book follows the plot of the game, beyond noting from the Author's Afterword that some of the quests in the game (such as the "Quest for Ale" and "Find The Lost Minstral") are just too silly to write in believably.
Feist can usually be relied upon to provide a refreshing mix of old and new characters in each new series, and Betrayal is no exception. Representing the old and established heroes are Squire James, formerly Jimmy the Hand, and Squire Locklear, both veterans of the Riftwar, as well as minor appearances by such important figures as Prince Arutha of Krondor and Pug the magician. Introduced for the first time in this book are Owyn Belefote, failed magician and youngest son of a minor noble, and the dark elf chieftain Gorath, who is hunted as a traitor by his own kin.
The major plotline begins almost immediately, with the introduction of Gorath. On the surface, it seems like an old story being repeated one more time. Once again, it seems, the moredhel, dark elves, are uniting under a single chieftain, and once again they plan to come rampaging south into the Kingdom. Again the leader is being supported by powerful yet mysterious magicians. Moreover, once again the principal motivation behind their unity involves their prophet Murmandamus, who was killed at Sethanon during the Riftwar, and whose supposed resurrection was a prime factor in the Serpentwar. This time, the story is being put about that he was not killed, but is merely being held in Sethanon. Gorath believes that another war with the humans will be devastating to his people, and has come south to warn of the moredhel's intentions in the hope that if the Kingdom is seen to be prepared, it will deter the dark elves and head off a full war. He is captured by Locklear, and they meet Owyn on their way to Krondor, where James joins the group.
The book reads like a game, as our party of characters travels from place to place, always pursued and sometimes preceded and ambushed by enemies intent on stopping them. Before the book is through, they've ranged over more than half of the Kindom itself, into the heart of the Northlands, where the moredhel armies gather, into the dwarves' Grey Towers and the elves' Green Heart, as well as travelling through a rift to another exotic world entirely. At each stop there is a side quest which intrudes, through several of which a couple of additional mysteries are developed which will be resolved in the subsequent books of the series. Overall it is a bit of a hodgepodge of mostly independent events, and as such not as involving as Feist's original works tend to be.
There is, of course, a betrayal, which forms the requisite plot twist when it is discovered. And in the end, the main plotline is resolved to everyone's satisfaction, despite a pair of heroic deaths. The subplots which have been opened leave plenty of fodder for the remainder of the series, and of course we have new heroes and villains to add to Feist's pantheon for future use. There are no notable plot holes or insufficiencies, loads of action due to the gamelike format, and a significant helping of intrigue, though most of that is left unresolved.