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Natural Ordermage (Saga of Recluce, Book 14) Hardcover – September 18, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Modesitt's 14th novel of the island-continent Recluce (after 2004's Ordermaster) introduces Rahl, a short-tempered but diligent copyist with a knack for wielding a truncheon. These skills prove vital when he's banished to the distant continent of Hamor for mouthing off to the ordermages who are trying to teach him to control his unusual abilities. As Rahl explores the cities of Nylan and Swartheld and endures assault, a memory-erasing drug and a second exile to the coal mines of Luba, his natural sense of order increases, but his quick anger and recklessness lead him into a series of blunders from which he only barely recovers. Though Rahl mostly manages to stay a sympathetic character, readers may grow impatient with his tendency to shoot himself in the foot. Modesitt renders the people and places of Recluce and Hamor somewhat humorlessly but with diligent attention to detail, treading the narrow line between exquisite world-building and overbearing verbosity. (Sept.)
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Modesitt's new Recluce yarn is the first of two about apprentice scrivener Rahl in Land's End. To make things easier for himself, especially with girls, Rahl uses a bit of order magic. Unfortunately, the local magisters notice, too, and exile him to Nylan, where he's told he's a natural ordermage. He has a great deal of power but little control over it. One experiment causes so much damage that he is exiled again, this time to Hamor, the villainous empire of many Recluce stories. Now we get a close look at Hamorian society, which by its own lights is harsh but just. Rahl is a most convincing character, somewhat selfish, expecting the world to be fair to him and very angered when it isn't. On the other hand, he works hard and is a quick study when properly taught. His experiences in Hamor, though hard, temper and mature him. Recluce fans well may devour this book at one sitting and eagerly await its sequel. Murray, Frieda
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Top customer reviews
The prose could be dismissed as pedestrian. For instance, new characters tend to be described in similar terms: hair/eye color, apparent age, whether they are fat/thin, tall/short. Yet the clear, unobtrusive prose allows me to slip into the narrative and lose myself there.
It is easy for me to recommend Scott Lynch's flamboyant fantasy novels, and easier still to recommend Guy Gavriel Kay's beautiful, wonderful prose, and his heroic, wonderful characters. It is hard for me to tell other people to try Modesitt. But Modesitt writes stories that pull me back to them, that make me want to stay up late to read just one more page, one more chapter, ten more chapters. He writes stories that I love.