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Can you identify this book? Here's what I remember of it...

A civilization had their home world ravaged by some kind of disaster. Using "Greater" magic they made a portal to another world.

The story is about this civilization a long time after this disaster and there are two types of magic, "Lesser" and "Greater". Lesser magic is parlor tricks and small scale magic, whilst greater magic is capable of controlling the elements.

The main protagonist pursued a lesser mage and convinced the mage to teach him.

Sometime after he learned lesser magic, mages that study greater magic kidnap him after learning that he has the potential to learn greater magic (Greater magic is more rare than lesser). The boy is taught how to use greater magic in a tower where he is unable to speak and is put through a harsh training that almost erases all aspects of what he learned as a lesser mage.

One thing that i remember about greater magic is their capacity to "teleport"; every location that a mage wishes to go to must have a mural on the ground that the mage must go and memorize in order to return there.

I also remember something about an arena where the main protagonist (after learning both lesser and greater magic) goes to. In the arena is an old friend of his (?), and that person is fighting to the death against others. The main protagonist gets mad and uses his abilities as a mage to wreck the arena and to threaten/terrify the nobility that were amusing themselves using the arena.

At the end the main protagonist ends up making a giant school and proceeds to teach both lesser and greater magic in order to train students and make magic less "taboo" and rare.

Please tell me if anyone knows a story/series that fits this description and if you need more details I may be able to help. It has been a while since I read this book though so some details might be messed up.

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    I thought of the answer as soon as I saw the title of your question, and every little detail, down to the murals on the ground for teleporting, fit perfectly. Nice detailed ID question, +1. – Rand al'Thor Nov 1 '17 at 12:03
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This is Magician by Raymond E. Feist, first book in the Riftwar Saga, a trilogy which started off The Riftwar Cycle, a huge conglomeration of a dozen different trilogies and series set in the same two worlds, Midkemia and Kelewan.

This series is possibly unique among the fantasy I've read in that it's set in two entirely separate and imaginary universes - not our own world and another, nor a single imaginary world. It also does a good job of building Midkemia using standard fantasy tropes so that we can quickly accept it and then making Kelewan seem just as weird and alien to us as it does to the Midkemians.


The division between the Greater Path and the Lesser Path of magic is not known at the start of the book, because the first half of it is set entirely on Midkemia, where only the Lesser Path is known, and of course known simply as "magic".

The main protagonist, Pug, becomes apprentice to a magician in Midkemia, but performs poorly. During the Riftwar - a huge war between Midkemia and Kelewan, the magicians of the latter having found a way to cross between worlds using 'rifts' - he is captured and serves as a slave in Kelewan for many years. Eventually his ability to perform magic (of the Greater Path, the only type known in Kelewan) is discovered, and he undergoes rigorous training with the magicians of Kelewan, called Great Ones. He emerges as a new person, with a new name (Milamber) and the black robe of a Great One.

One thing that i remember about greater magic is their capacity to "teleport"; every location that a mage wishes to go to must have a mural on the ground that the mage must go and memorize in order to return there.

This is definitely the case: many noble estates in Kelewan have a special room with a tiled floor which Great Ones can use to travel from one place to another by magic.

I also remember something about an arena where the main protagonist (after learning both lesser and greater magic) goes to. In the arena is an old friend of his (?), and that person is fighting to the death against others. The main protagonist gets mad and uses his abilities as a mage to wreck the arena and to threaten/terrify the nobility that were amusing themselves using the arena.

I believe this is the point at which Pug/Milamber becomes an 'undesirable' in Kelewan. Despite being a Great One, he acts against the system and the War-Leader in stopping these gladiatorial games. Later he returns to Midkemia and his old friends there, in order to escape punishment for his actions on Kelewan.

At the end the main protagonist ends up making a giant school and proceeds to teach both lesser and greater magic in order to train students and make magic less "taboo" and rare.

This is the very end of Magician: Pug and his old master Kulgan setting up an academy, using the books and resources of the ultra-mysterious ultra-powerful figure Macros the Black who put an end to the Riftwar and the rifts themselves, in order to teach magic to people in Midkemia.


I'm struggling to find a good online summary of this book which is thorough enough to include all the details you mention. There's a Wikipedia page, a Wikia page, and a 'synopsis' on Feist's website, but none of these is particularly detailed.

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