Empire of the East (Empire of the East, #1-3)
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Empire of the East (Empire of the East #1-3)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  779 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In the distant future, society has crumbled. Dark forces now rule the land, keeping all humans under their oppressive thumbs.
In the darkness of the shadows and whispered on the winds, there is talk of a rebellion. In the swamps, a small band has formed. Determined to regain their freedom, the rebellion, heavily outnumbered, plans to overthrow an army of thousands . . . wit...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Tor Books (first published October 1st 1979)
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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
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340th out of 2,179 books — 14,893 voters
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
The Broken Lands: Farm boy Rolf returns from the fields to find his parents slaughtered and his sister missing, taken by the forces of satrap Ekuman, an agent of The East. Rolf goes looking for Lisa, his missing sister, and winds up joining the resistance against the Empire of the East. Only the Elephant can stop Ekuman. But no one knows what an Elephant is...

First off, I like my fantasy to have the remnants of old technology lying around so Rolf's world is right up my alley. I'm really glad thi...more
"Empire of the East" is a solid series, and I enjoyed reading it. I'm giving it four stars because the final book ended with a scene that just floored me. After the swordplay, the magic, the questing, the intrigue, the demons and monsters, the heroes, and all of the other fantasy bits, Saberhagen reveals his full hand and fleshes out the premise that he had only hinted at. It is a wonderful premise--the kind that made me want to grab it and keep running with the ramifications. Without spoiling a...more
This book is a little dated, based on publishing standard that was popular several decades ago: serialized fantasy novels, each of which were modest in size, not the 90,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 page behomeths popularized by Robert Jordan.

This format had some good points and bad points and Empire of the East is a good example of both. Saberhagen is a solid writer who is particularly adept at portraying evil in a way that is not cartoonish. He also has an imaginative, if mainstream mind...more
Jason Farley
This was the first time in a long time that I finished a book and thought immediately that I would like to write the author with questions. It is perhaps one of the best books exploring the effect that idolatry has on the world that man has been placed in and has a distinctively Christian take. The third book in particular was superior to anything (accept Till We Have Faces, and That Hideous Strength) else that I have read on the topic.
I enjoyed this book the second time I read it. I am much older now, so saw interesting things I didn't notice as a kid.
(view spoiler)

Back in the day this might have been entertaining but with all the advances we had in fantasy and technology I'm just not feeling it, although I'm swaying a little towards book two.

It has improved over book one, I was going to rate thi...more
Kevin Christensen
After returning home from England in 1975, while living with two brothers and attending the University of Utah, as a change from reading nothing but scriptures, I read 300 science fiction novels. None of them affected me as much as the third volume of this series, then called Changling Earth. I'd never heard of the author, didn't like the cover, didn't get the blurb, but upon starting to read, felt as though the author had reached up through the pages, grabbed me by the throat and dragged me thr...more
Sean Randall
"What powers of sorcery do you have here? What do battles mean, and warriors' lives, when dead men jump up grinning?"

This is quite an enjoyable fantasy with a mix of technology and magic. The magic is rather vague in parts but very clearly powerful, and the technology, though it's called "old", outdates anything of which we are capable at the moment.

"the backs of Western men bent hopelessly under the Eastern lash, their babies slain, their women and their lands despoiled. That is the future I se...more
Frank Taranto
A far future mix of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The story centers around Rolf, a farm boy who has a knack for technology in a world without a lot of it.
The book has three parts, the first concerning the battle against the Satrap Ekumen and the search and use of The Elephant. The Elephant is a leftover piece of technology from the old days. We meet Lady Charmain (the Satrap's daughter) and her husband to be, Chup. They are two of the other major characters in the book. We also learn of Ardneh,...more
Writing: 3
Story: 2
Satisfaction: 3

Probably somewhere between a 2 and a 3.

Saberhagen is a fantastic world-builder. The post-apocalyptic society that he's written is really interesting and the viewpoints of his characters as they discover bits of old technology is fantastic. The moment that I understood what was being described, the entire book changed.

Unfortunately the characters are flat tropes and the plot is pretty secondary to the environment.

Empire of the East is a compilation of 3 books a...more
Empire of the East is a great fast read. A fantasy story like Lord of the Rings, with the forces of good and evil battling, the story moves quickly with each chapter having a serial-like quality. The big difference would be Saberhagen's weaving in of "technology," which to the characters in this world, seems more like magic to them. It's fun to read about these warriors and wizards confronting the resurrected tools of the "past" which we realize are tanks or helicopters that have survived into t...more
Listened to this as an audiobook. It was a good story and moved quickly. I saw a lot of similarities to the Wheel of Time books (this book was written long before those, however). This book had no where near the level of detail, especially in the magic system. You can tell that this book was written as 3 separate stories (originally published as separate novels). However, it does not detract from it. I'm looking forward to the Sword books that take place much later in the same universe as this b...more
Thomas Crown
This is a book I found profoundly painful when I tried reading it twenty years ago, immersed in the first of the Books of Swords. Having started again on a whim, I find that age, patience, and hiding in the pantry from my children while trying to read a book has added a certain soupcon of joy to the experience that was otherwise lacking, and I can now appreciate this work for what it is: a less involved, starker story than the Swords books, a tale that plays out in a microcosm against what are l...more
Dominic Mcloughlin
This is a great mix of fantasy and science fiction which I first read as a teen and enjoyed so much I bought it and reread it as an adult. Recommended!
Mike (the Paladin)
Interesting fantasy/science fiction take on a sort of "post-apocalyptic" evil empire world. Try it, while fantasy tends to have "archetypes" and they are here, this has another twist I haven't seen elsewhere.

This is probably my favorite work by the author. The Books of Swords builds on this books and the "universe" set up here. Unfortunately to say anything at all about the story will require a spoiler as it is pretty original. The book somewhat successfully straddles the fence or line between f...more
Michael Garner
Listened to the audio of this book. I was hooked instantly early in book 1, but by the time book 2 and book 3 rolled around, I lost interest and it was a struggle to finish. The idea of a future earth that lost much of today's current technological capabilities, that developed magic was a new idea, especially with relics of the past technological achivements thrown throughout the world. I found it hilarious how the rebels are looking for an "elephant" which turns out to be a nuclear powered tank...more
Keith Davis
In a post-apocalyptic world something has happened to the laws of physics so that now there is magic and demons and elementals and such. Saberhagen was not the most inventive of science fiction writers, but he did know how to tell an entertaining story. Empire is an omnibus edition of three short "science fantasy" novels with a shared setting. All three are excellent entertainment.
Patricia Jones
Enjoyable YA - audiobook
Bill Tracy
A cool take on a post apocalyptic world where technology has waned and magic has waxed. This is an early book from Saberhagen, so some of the writing is a little clunky. I listened to this on audio book and the narrator was terrible, so that didn't help either. But overall it left all the pieces in place for the book of swords, which comes next.
Mason Barge
An extra star for originality; it is so nice to read a major fantasy novel (actually, series of short novels) that makes minimal overlap with standard character classes. He does have magicians, but treats them with some unique characteristics. No orcs, no fairies, no vampires, no dwarves. And another star for the resonance his world has with human history.
Andrew O
This is one of those books I would have loved 10 years ago, but alas it just couldn't hold my interest with my more mature tastes. However it is not a Tolkien clone, but since it was written in the early late 60's and early 70's it has been copied many times, including in the masters of the universe cartoons from the 80's to some degree.
More fantasy than SF. This is actually a compendium of a trilogy of relatively short novels, "The Broken Lands," "The Black Mountains," and "Ardneh's World." It was somewhat spoiled for me by having read the middle book of the series independently many years earlier. It's still pretty good. Sort of a post-apocalytpic work.
Took me a while to get into this, but when I did I couldn't put it down. My main qualm, however, is some of the confusion the book offered-- almost like it was an abridged version (but it wasn't). The author would be talking about something and I'd have no reference for it in the context of the book-- it was odd sometimes.
Nov 22, 2009 Keith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone tolerating the science fiction or fantasy genres
If you lend any credence to an infrequent reader of the genre this is a very good blend of science fiction and fantasy. Even though first published thirty years ago I found the science fiction still futuristic yet detailed enough to believe it in context. I want to go watch Thundar The Barbarian cartoons now.
An interesting take on a world of magic and how it comes to being. The book started out I thought, rather slow but by the end I did find it hard to put down and was much more enthralled. I have enjoyed several of the author's other endeavors but found this to be one of my least favorite of his that I've read.
Fred Saberhagen blends science fiction and fantasy together so masterfully that it is sometimes hard to distinguish between magic and the technology of the past, crafting the story of a world that could have been. This book is thoroughly engaging from start to finish.
Jeff Hillendahl
See my review of "The Broken Lands"
Jun 09, 2012 Rajesh added it
Just as good as the first time I read it, well over 20 years ago. The initial chapters seem a bit clunky, compared to other books I've read since then, but once you get over that hump the whole thing just flows and pulls you in.
Justin Lowmaster
Apr 20, 2011 Justin Lowmaster rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Justin by: Dan Wells
Fantastic. I love the seamless switching of viewpoints of characters that are in the same scenes. It's an intricate world that is a lot more than you might expect from the start. Very enjoyable.
My favorite fantasy book. It has great characters, great magic, great action and the best climaxes. Wow, I talked myself into reading this again.
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