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L.E. Modesitt_Jr

L.E. Modesitt Jr fantasy author(1943- )
After spending years writing poetry, political speeches and analyses, as well as economic and technical reports on extraordinarily detailed and often boring subjects, L.E. Modesitt Jr. finally got around to writing his first short story, which was published in 1973. He kept submitting and occasionally having published stories until an editor indicated he’d refuse to buy any more until he wrote a novel, which he’s been doing since 1982.L.E. Modesitt Jr lives in Cedar City, Utah. He keeps a blog and answers readers’ questions at his website.

The Ecolitan Operation: I’d like to see where this is going

The Ecolitan Operation by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Major Jimjoy Wright is the Empire’s most successful secret agent. That’s because he’s strong, brave, clever, deceptive, ruthless, and totally goal-oriented. Once he accepts a mission from his government, nothing gets in his way. He always gets the job done.

Though JimJoy thinks he’s highly ethical, most people would find his consequentialism to be psychopathic. For example, JimJoy is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. This doesn’t bother him because if he hadn’t destroyed them, millions of other innocent people probably would have died (it’s like an extreme version of the Trolley Problem).

The fall-out from JimJoy’s actions are causing problems f... Read More

The Ecologic Secession: JimJoy takes on the Empire

The Ecologic Secession by L.E. Modesitt Jr

The Ecologic Secession (1990) is the second novel (according to internal chronology) in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s THE ECOLITAN MATTER quartet. In the first book, The Ecolitan Operation (for which there will be a few spoilers in this review), we met Major JimJoy Wright. He used to be the Empire’s best secret agent, but after they tried to assassinate him, he switched sides.

Now, after faking his death and being given a new identity, he’s a professor at the Ecolitan Institute, a think-tank on the planet Accord that opposes the Empire and is plotting a revolution.

The Ecolitans are glad to have JimJoy’s allegiance and service, though they’re not sure what to m... Read More

The Ecologic Envoy: A new generation of Ecolitans

The Ecologic Envoy by L.E. Modesitt Jr

The Ecologic Envoy (1986) was the first novel published in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s THE ECOLITAN MATTER quartet but, according to the series’ internal chronology, it comes third, after The Ecolitan Operation (1989) and The Ecologic Secession (1990). You don’t need to read those two novels first because The Ecologic Envoy and its sequel, The Ecolitan Enigma, are set a few hundred years later and feature a completely different set of characters.

Our hero, though, is a direct descendant of JimJoy Earle Wright, the protagonist of t... Read More

Dawn for a Distant Earth: Has aged well

Dawn for a Distant Earth by L.E. Modesitt Jr

In the far future, after humanity has spread throughout the galaxy, Old Earth is an abandoned ruin. Nuclear waste and bad environmental policies have killed the ecology and changed the climate. Now Earth is a frozen and desolate wasteland with dangerous sheer winds. Only the toughest people manage to survive in such a harsh climate.

Most of Earth’s sparse population huddles behind the walls of dilapidated shambletowns. Those who don’t have friends and family, or who don’t fit in for some other reason, remain outside. One of these misfits is a nameless “devil kid” who becomes the protagonist of L.E. Modesitt Jr’s FOREVER HERO trilogy after getting captured by the galactic empire. The empire takes him in, sends him to school, and enlists him in their military. Smart, stro... Read More

The Silent Warrior: This story takes an unexpected turn

The Silent Warrior by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for the previous book, Dawn for a Distant Earth.

The Silent Warrior is the second book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s FOREVER HERO trilogy. Published in the late 1980s, this series is about a man named Gerswin who grew up in the harsh environment of the ruined Earth. He was picked up by the galactic empire, educated, and enlisted in their military. He has been a successful leader for the empire, but his real dream is to restore Earth to her former glory. At the end of the first book, Dawn for a Distant Earth (which you really must read to appreciate The Silent Warrior), we saw that Gerswin is even willing to break the law to force the empire to contr... Read More

In Endless Twilight: Timely discussions, then a really weird ending

In Endless Twilight by L.E. Modesitt Jr

In Endless Twilight (1988) is the final installment in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s THE FOREVER HERO trilogy. My review will probably contain spoilers for the first two novels, Dawn for a Distant Earth and The Silent Warrior. You need to read them before opening In Endless Twilight.

During Dawn for a Distant Earth, we saw Gerswin getting the education and skills he needed to be able to fulfill his dream of restoring the ruined Earth. In The Silent Warrior, we see Gerswin’s character darken as he realizes that the galactic empire he serves doesn’t share his goals. The commercial barons who control the economic and political systems are mo... Read More

The Saga of Recluce: Repetitive but appreciated theme


The underlying repetitive theme of the Modesitt works is personal accountability and the triumph of an enlightened, empowered individual over the self-serving machinations of the opposition. That may be simplifying things to a great degree, but that is what I get out of it. My personal experience with Modesitt began with The Magic of Recluce many years ago. At the time I was just beginning to refine my taste for fantasy and Modesitt was something different.

In the Saga of Recluce, the basic pattern of each installment is that the story follows a main character who is out of place in his/her society and who is gifted to a greater or lesser degree to manipulate the energies of the world he/she lives in. What the hero can do with those energies also rests in large par... Read More

The Magic of Recluce: Still great after all these years

The Magic of Recluce (Special 20th Anniversary Edition) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

I first read The Magic of Recluce over 15 years ago, and I still have my original paperback copy. This year two special editions are being released by Tor and Subterranean Press. Rereading this story again, after having covered so much ground in epic fantasy, was both interesting and very comforting — comforting because it was nice to realize that a good story is still a good story even after all these years.

The Magic of Recluce chronicles the life of Lerris, a young man growing up on the island of Recluce. Recluce is a very normal, almost boring, place to grow up, and things are super orderly and clean. In my mind I imagine some of the extremely well-maintained villages that I have been through in Germany: so well organized, and it feels like there is a place for everything and everything is in its p... Read More

Magi’i of Cyador: Excellent politics, worldbuilding, and familiar characters

Magi'i of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

The nice things about L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s long-running RECLUCE series is that once you are familiar with the timeline you can reread them in pretty much any order you like. There are never more than two books with the same main character. Mind you, for the first read-through, publication order is still the best order to read them as Modesitt refines his Order/Chaos-based system of magic over time. Once in a while I reread one of these books; I call this my random RECLUCE rereads. All of the early RECLUCE books are written from the Black, Ordermage side of things. Starting from the 8th book onwards (The White Order) Modesitt changes the series around on the reader and writes four books with a focus on White (Chaos) oriented characters. These are some of the m... Read More

Scion of Cyador: A well-balanced and politically complex story

Scion of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Scion of Cyador is the direct sequel to Magi'i of Cyador and chronologically the earliest book in the series, though it is the eleventh of eighteen books (to date). I read Magi'i of Cyador a while ago and I couldn't suppress the urge to read the sequel any longer. This book is a little less focused on battles and a bit more on politics, especially the second half. L.E. Modesitt is very good at letting the reader see all the little signs of change and what they add up to. It's one of the longer SAGA OF RECLUCE books but well worth the read.

After his excursions within the Accursed Forest, Lorn is sent to the port city of Biehl, generally considered a quiet outpost where chances of getting involved in skirmishes with the barbarian... Read More

Ordermaster: Decent read but same old same old

Ordermaster by L.E. Modesitt Jr

If Ordermaster and its prequel Wellspring of Chaos had come out as the first two books in the Recluce series, I'd have given them a slightly stronger review. Ordermaster is decently paced, has a good strong main character, some interestingly complex politics as its background, and is overall pretty well-written. But after reading a dozen Recluce books before these, one has to wonder how many times can Modesitt tell this same story. The problem in Ordermaster, besides the fact that we've seen this story so many times before, is that the plot begins to feel repetitive even within the book itself, a problem that has already affected his shorter series, Read More

Natural Ordermage: Par for the course

Natural Ordermage by L.E. Modesitt Jr

L.E. Modesitt’s Recluce fantasy series is something that has become so predictable that you read it as much because you know what to expect as for any actual update in the story. If you like it, that's not a bad thing as long as you understand what you are getting into.

Natural Ordermage represents yet another branch in the story that tells other sides of things that have happened in the past. In this case we get a glimpse into the Empire of Hamor and, as with the other branches, this opens our eyes to the possibility of them being something better than we might have thought before. It's good filler material.

The real problem with the Recluce series at this point is that it's pretty much novel-by-number. The Main Charact... Read More

Mage-Guard of Hamor: Left me bored

Mage-Guard of Hamor by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Mage-Guard of Hamor is the 15th book in the Saga of Recluce series by L.E. Modesitt Jr. If you’ve gotten to this point in the series, then odds are you know what you are getting in to, and perhaps you don’t mind the comfortable repetition. But, unfortunately, this installment only left me bored.

Mage-Guard of Hamor continues the story we were following in Natural Ordermage. The main character, Rahl, is one of the less likeable protagonists in the series, but the story of the country of Hamor is interesting, so I was hoping for some lively reading.

Things were going pretty well until Rahl was sent to war. Five hundred pages later, after a slow trudge from hamlet to town to city to hamlet, with battles and ma... Read More

Arms-Commander: A welcome return

Arms-Commander by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Arms-Commander is a return to historical Candar and the SAGA OF RECLUCE by L.E. Modesitt Jr. This book follows in the wake of Chaos Balance and Fall of Angels as continued explanation of how the female-run and empowered part of the continent of Candar came to be. For long term fans of the series, this is really interesting stuff to fill in some of the blanks.

Saryn, a decidedly cardboard character from the earlier series, is the main character and heroine of Arms-Commander. L.E. Modesitt Jr. would probably have us refer to her as a hero in a gender-neutral tone that is more in keeping with the story. She's talented in the magic that is the basis of the much of the story, but she doesn't suffer from the chronic side-effects of killing pe... Read More

Cyador’s Heirs: I read it twice

Cyador’s Heirs by L.E. Modesitt Jr 

Cyador’s Heirs, the seventeenth book in the SAGA OF RECLUCE, takes place after the fall of the great nation of Cyador. It tells the story of Lerial, the younger son of the current Duke of Cigoerne, the heir to the Malachite Throne of fallen Cyador. L.E. Modesitt Jr. follows Lerial as he comes of age and is shaped by people and events around him.

Lerial is an intelligent, angry, slightly jealous younger son of the nobility. He is talented, insightful, and sick of his older brother getting preferential treatment and acting superior to him. Lerial is not a bad guy; he’s just struggling to figure out who he is. His father, Kiedron, is a diligent ruler who has been well trained by his mother, the former Empress of Cyador, on what it takes to grow and develop a country in real prosperity. Those lessons are not always easy for Lerial to... Read More

Heritage of Cyador: Follows the pattern

Heritage of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Heritage of Cyador is the eighteenth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s SAGA OF RECLUCE and is the immediate sequel to Cyador's Heirs. It continues the story of Lerial, the second son of the Duke of Cigoerne. This is a typical Modesitt novel, which means it follows the pattern of having different political parties wrangling back and forth with each other until a hero is forced to use his magical skills in some unique and unexpected way to save the day. It's formulaic to be sure, but if you happen to like this pattern, you will enjoy the story.

The continent of Hamor is comprised of competing nation-states. The different rulers are often misled into equating their own ego and lust for power with what is best for their nation. The result is a constant state of at least minor warfare with countries probing each other back and forth l... Read More

Fairhaven Rising: Boring

Fairhaven Rising by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

I've read every book that L.E. Modesitt, Jr. has written in the SAGA OF RECLUCE. I have thrilled to watch different characters go through the refiner's fire of youth and grow into interesting adults. There have been sorrows and joys along the way, and I often felt like I was reading the same book over and over with different character names, different trades they were pursuing, but mostly the same pattern and the same themes. Men are naturally power-hungry and bad. Women are better rulers and good. Applying super future ideology to a pre-Industrial revolution society creates revolution …  All interesting themes, and some of them very cleverly discussed.

Fairhaven Rising (2021) is boring. It takes more than half the book to reach any real advancement of the st... Read More

Adiamante: My favorite science fiction novel by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Adiamante by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Suppose that the world had gone through an apocalypse based on a conflict between two groups of super-technologically-advanced people with fundamentally different beliefs on how technology should be applied. One group wanted the logic of technology to replace human thought, and the other wanted technology to merely enhance human perception. Could this difference provide the footing for outright war?

Ecktor is a Demi, a human who has been enhanced with physical and mental abilities hard-coded into his DNA. His wife has died; her memories are everywhere and permeate the very home he lives in. Ecktor’s life goes on with the mundane tasks of exercise, cooking and the work that keeps his credit-balance at a reasonable level. His grief would be overwhelming, however, except for the appearance of a fleet of high-technology warships inbound to earth. A leader is required to manage the pending contact with a group of hu... Read More

The Parafaith War: Interesting premise, too many problems

The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt Jr

In our far future, a young man named Trystin Desoll is a soldier in the long war that his high-tech civilization has been fighting with the Revs, a society of religious zealots. The Revs, who are outgrowing their own planet, believe that the Eco-Techs are sinful because they use brain implants and other technology to improve their bodies. Therefore, the Revs think it’s permissible for them to wipe out Trystin’s civilization, and they’ve been trying to do this for decades.

Trystin is rising rapidly in the Eco-Tech military. He’s smart and courageous, but he also feels like he has an extra burden to prove himself because, being blonde and blue-eyed, he looks a lot more like the Revs than the dark-haired, dark-eyed people of his own society.

All this — his intelligence, bravery, and coloring — make Trystin the perfect spy. When his nation realizes there’s no way they ... Read More

Gravity Dreams: Some interesting themes but not much else

Gravity Dreams by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Tyndel is a religious leader in his society. Any use of nanotechnology is forbidden and those who change their bodies with nanotech are considered “demons.” When someone purposely infects Tyndel with the forbidden “mites,” Tyndel must flee his country before he’s arrested and killed. When he gets rescued by the “evil” empire that allows technological body enhancements, his faith is challenged.

Gravity Dreams (1999) is very similar to The Parafaith War, the last Modesitt book I read. Both stories involve two societies, one whose religion teaches that the other is evil because it uses technology to upgrade sensory processing and increase lifespans. The heroes of both books ar... Read More

The Octagonal Raven: Be patient with it

The Octagonal Raven by L.E. Modesitt Jr

His fantasy, in particular the RECLUCE saga, is a lot more popular but L.E. Modesitt Jr. has also written quite a few science fiction novels. I've read a number of these now and they are usually an all or nothing read for me. Some I enjoyed tremendously (Flash, Adiamante, The Forever Hero), others I will never read again (The Ethos Effect, Archfrom: Beauty). The Octagonal Raven has the unusual distinction of combining these two feelings in one book. I have never come across a book that is so much in need of some serious editing in the first part of the story, yet managing such a thrilling climax that I read the second part of the novel in one sitting.

The main character in The Octagonal Raven is ... Read More

Legacies: A pleasant but not brilliant epic fantasy, now on audio

Legacies by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Alucius lives in the land of Corus which used to be ruled by a great civilization until some sort of cataclysm occurred. Now the continent is divided into several countries that are on the verge of war. Alucius, who we see grow from a young boy to a young man, just wants to get married to a nice girl and live as a peaceful herder on his family’s stead. But war comes and Alucius is drafted into the army where he rises rapidly in the ranks.

As a herder, Alucius has inherited the “Talent” which allows him to sense the presence of others and underlies some of his uncanny battle skills. But he must hide the Talent and try to make his successes seem natural because most people who aren’t herders either fear or would like to exploit him. This becomes especially true when he gets captured by the army of the Matrial, an evil woman who rules over an empire that enslaves men. Alucius knows he must escape ... Read More

Darknesses: Not great but solid and well-paced

Darknesses by L.E. Modesitt Jr

First off, though this does stand as in independent story in what is called THE COREAN CHRONICLES, it will make a lot more sense to you and you'll be a lot more invested in the characters if you read the first book ahead of time. Darknesses returns to the same main character, Alucius, who remains as in the first a reluctant soldier caught up in battles and politics he'd rather not wage, preferring to set down his sword and his strange Talent and return home to be a herder with his new wife. This book roams further afield than the first book as Alucius is sent to various locales (helps to periodically check the map to keep all his travels and the stratagems behind them straight) and involves more characters, which helps prevent it from feeling stale.

As in the first, the world and especially the military world is presented in a gritty realism and while there ... Read More

Scepters: Not bad on its own but been down this road too often

Scepters by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Scepters, the third book of The Corean Chronicles, isn't a bad book in its own right. If it could be read on its own (one really needs to have read the two previous books to follow this one), it would have been a decent if not great or even really good read. But coming as it does after the first two, my largest reaction was: haven't we seen all this before?

By now the pattern of plot and character has become pretty rote. Alucius, the main character of all three, is reluctantly forced to once again take up arms to protect his ability to remain a herder and have a normal life. Once again, he protests that he has no desire to leave his home, that he only does "what needs to be done", that he wishes no further honors, awards, etc. Once again, he is placed in "impossible" situations (made impossible due to overwhelmi... Read More

Alector’s Choice: Shampoo-rinse-repeat

Alector's Choice by L.E. Modesitt Jr

There's no longer any doubt — Modesitt has fallen into the "shampoo" mode of series writing: rinse-shampoo-repeat. Alector's Choice, while not a bad book if read on its own (which it can be), is, for fans or former fans of Modesitt's other work, merely a rehash of the same old same old. Same old plot. Same old characters. Same old conflicts. Same old resolutions. Only the names have been changed to protect the profits (and a possible plagiarism suit if one could sue oneself).

Reading the above criticism, those who've followed the Corean series can predict what's coming here. A good character of middling military rank is placed under an incompetent superior and given multiple impossible tasks. Employing his still-developing "talent" and his tendency toward original and independent thoug... Read More

Cadmian’s Choice: A long middle book

Cadmian’s Choice by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Cadmian’s Choice is the fifth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s COREAN CHRONICLES and the second in the trilogy about Mykel and Dainyl. You don’t need to read the first trilogy in the COREAN CHRONICLES (Legacies, Darknesses, Scepters) before reading this one. In fact, I think it makes more sense to read this trilogy first since it focuses on events that occur generations before Legacies. However, you do need to read Alector’s Choice before starting Cadmian’s Choice.

In Alector’s Choice we met Mykel, a “lander” who lives on the planet Corus. He, like most of Modesitt’s protagonists, is ultra-honorable and ultra-competent, and he has risen remark... Read More

Soarer’s Choice: Satisfactorily concludes the second COREAN trilogy

Soarer’s Choice by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The second trilogy in L. E. Modesitt, Jr.’s COREAN CHRONICLES closes with Soarer’s Choice. While this book is better than the previous novel, Cadmian’s Choice, that’s mostly because (1) It closes out this overly-long trilogy and (2) It gives the background that helps explain the world Alucius lives in in the first three COREAN CHRONICLES books, LegaciesDarknesses, and Scepters. (The story of that first trilogy occurs generations after the events in the second trilogy, Alector’s Choice, Cadmian’s Choice and Soarer’s Choice).

Mykel and Dainyl continue to be noble and upright and, consequently, continue to be promoted up their respective ... Read More

The Lord-Protector’s Daughter: Rather dull

The Lord-Protector’s Daughter by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

According to the publisher’s blurb, The Lord-Protector’s Daughter is a “standalone fantasy.” Um... no. It most certainly is not. It’s book seven in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s COREAN CHRONICLES and while it’s true that it begins a new story that takes place a couple hundred years after the events of book six, it is the first part of a story that will be at least a duology set in Corus. So, you’re not going to get the full story about Mykella, its protagonist, unless you read its sequel, Lady Protector. I don’t know what that Tor publicist was thinking when (s)he wrote “standalone,” but The Lord-Protector’s Daughter doesn’t qualify.

Oh, and this review will spoil a little of the previous “CHOICE” trilogy.

Mykella and her sisters are t... Read More

Lady-Protector: A little better than the predecessor

Lady-Protector by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Lady-Protector is the last (so far) book in L.E. Modesitt’s COREAN CHRONICLES and a direct sequel to The Lord-Protector’s Daughter. You can read this duology without having read the first six COREAN CHRONICLES books, but you do need to read The Lord-Protector’s Daughter before picking up Lady-Protector. This review will necessarily spoil some of the plot for that earlier novel.

In The Lord-Protector’s Daughter, Mykella (the titular character) discovered that her father’s brother was stealing money from the treasury and planning a coup. Thanks to the magical powers that Mykella recently acquired, she was able to kill him and her scheming ... Read More

Haze: An excellent stand-alone SF

Haze by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Major Keir Roget, an agent for the Chinese-dominated Federation government, is sent to investigate a mysterious world — mysterious because it is entirely enveloped by a "haze" of shielding particles. When he arrives on Haze, he finds a friendly and seemingly very advanced civilization of humans who give him such complete access to their society that it almost seems as if his perceptions or thoughts are somehow being controlled.

Roget's story is told in alternating chapters, going back and forth from the Haze mission to the events leading up to it, including an earlier mission among the "Saint" (read: Mormon) culture on Earth that reveals many things about the Federation. This way, the reader slowly gets an idea of what shaped Roget's opinions and character while reading the main story set on Haze. L.E. Modesitt Jr. really shows off his writing skills here, keeping both story threads sep... Read More

Imager: A new series to please Modesitt fans

Imager by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Imager is the first book in the IMAGER PORTFOLIO, the newest fantasy series by the incredibly prolific L. E. Modesitt Jr. I usually enjoy the author's work very much, and Imager was no exception, despite the fact that it's so recognizably L. E. Modesitt Jr.'s work that it verges on the predictable. I'm actually sure that some Modesitt fans could predict the early part of this novel's plot just by looking at the included map: hmmm... looks like a city with a bunch of artist studio's, and in the center there's something called "Imager's Isle"... so maybe we have yet another artisan (see:The Magic of Recluce) who discovers he has some strange power and ends up in a magical training organization of some sort? Bingo: Rhenntyl, a typically cerebral and driven Modesitt protagonist, is a str... Read More

Imager’s Challenge: Nothing new

Imager's Challenge by L.E. Modesitt Jr

I really looked forward to L.E. Modesitt's return to the Imager series. The first book, Imager, was typical Modesitt fare, but it felt like he was trying out some new stuff. In Imager's Challenge, I felt like we went right back to where we were before Imager.

After the events of Imager, Rhennthyl, the main character, had been through the typical Modesitt transition. He had become a powerful, organized, highly methodical, politically correct male hero. For readers familiar with Modesitt’s earlier work, this is exactly the same hero we have been reading about forever. Modesitt's main characters are decidedly politically correct and Modesitt spends a lot of time promoting gender equality. That... Read More

Imager’s Intrigue: Political intrigue, social commentary, exciting action

Imager’s Intrigue by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

L.E. Modesittreturns to great storytelling in Imager’s Intrigue, the powerful third book of The Imager Portfolio series. Imager’s Intrigue follows closely on the heels of Imager’s Challenge as Rhennthyl, the main character, continues his rise in power as an Imager and a catalyst for change.

Rhennthyl, now married to his fiancée Seliora and father of a young daughter, continues in his role as Patrol Captain and Imager. Modesitt has fast-forwarded a few years and created a good transition between where we left off and how things now are.

Rhenn, working with his in-laws, has done some innovative jobs creation in his area of the city. His unique style and almost overbearing honesty make him a continued target for the establishment. ... Read More

Scholar: A new beginning in the IMAGER PORTFOLIO

Scholar by L.E. Modesitt Jr

In a pattern that’s by now familiar for L.E. Modesitt Jr., Scholar marks a new beginning in the IMAGER PORTFOLIO series. The book is set several hundred years before the events portrayed in the three “Rhentyll” novels Imager, Imager’s Challenge, and Imager’s Intrigue. Because of this, Scholar shares no characters with the earlier novels in the series and can be read separately. However, if you haven’t read the Rhentyll novels yet and are in the mood for some good, thoughtful fantasy, I still recommend reading them first, just so you can see the events of the new novel in the broader historical context L.E. Modesitt Jr. likes to build for his fantasy worlds.

Scholar is set in a time when Solidar hasn’t b... Read More

Princeps: Solid IMAGER novel

Princeps by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Princepsis a direct follow-up to Scholar and continues the story of Quaeryt, the Scholar/Imager. In Scholar, Quaeryt grew greatly both as a person and as an Imager through his service to Lord Bhayar in investigating the reason for heavy military requirements in the province on Tilbor. Quaeryt’s resounding success in figuring out the underlying issue and protecting Lord Bhayar’s interests is rewarded by an appointment as Princeps of Tilbor and marriage to Bhayar’s sister, Vaelora.

As Princeps of Tilbor, Quaeryt has a lot of his plate while managing the administrative and financial aspects of the province. Quaeryt is responsible for working out the details when merchants or tradesmen seek concessions or to negotiate with the government. This is a great teaching and learning experience for a well educated Scholar, and prepares him for the next pha... Read More

Imager’s Battalion: Feels like a textbook, not a fantasy novel

Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

THE IMAGER PORTFOLIO has covered two eras and two separate characters and tied them together with a theme of great power and great responsibility. L.E. Modesitt Jr. has taken the time to show the evolution of magic (imaging) in a low-tech world and has given us some pretty amazing world-building. The challenge for readers, however, is that it has been at times dreadfully boring, endlessly repetitive and so heavy-handed in its statements about the social conditions and the inherent prejudices that exist in that world that even the most stalwart fan gets… tired.

Imager’s Battalion covers the war between Telaryn, the more moderate, socially progressive nation, and Bovaria, the more conservative, aggressive and socially repressive nation. Quaeryt, recently recovered from the typical almost deadly over-exertion of a Modesitt hero, is called back to lead his formation of Ima... Read More

Antiagon Fire: When does might make right?

Antiagon Fire by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Antiagon Fire is the fourth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s IMAGER PORTFOLIO series about Quaeryt the scholar (it's the seventh book in the entire series). The twists and turns of Quaeryt’s life have been momentous as befits a fantasy epic, but have often dealt with very mundane aspects of life. In this installment, Modesitt really reaches deep into the realm of political motivations and asks us to consider whether and when might really does make right.

After the traumatic conclusion to the war with Bovaria and the near death of Quaeryt, there was really no way of knowing what would come next. The continent of Lydar has consisted of many different nations for a long time and might have remained that way if not for the war. Quaeryt’s brother-in-law Bhayar has seized the opportunity to unify two nations under his rule and that leaves only two other nations with which to contend. Read More

Rex Regis: A very human tale

Rex Regis by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Regis Regis (2014) is the eighth book of the IMAGER PORTFOLIO and the fifth book following Quaeryt. After literally years of hard work, war, and nothing less than miraculous events, the curtain begins to close on this part of Solidar's history.

The fall of Antiago had been particularly painful for Quaeryt because of the loss of his child when his wife was injured. The reality of the constant threat of power-hungry competitors to influence the future of the continent of Lydar leaves Quaeryt with very little time to heal or mourn. In spite of his incredible success, Quaeryt knows that he must race back to report to Bhayar, now ruler of almost all of Lydar.

As in the previous four books, Quaeryt spends a great deal of time interacting with recalcitrant High Holders. These men enjoyed great power under the previous ruler of Bovaria, but are now very slow to... Read More

Madness in Solidar: Bleak

Madness in Solidar by L.E. Modesitt Jr

THE IMAGER PORTFOLIO has hopped all around the chronological history Solidar, from the very beginning when Imagers were feared and forced to hide or else be killed or enslaved, to the very end when they are a powerful arm of the government. Madness in Solidar (2015) falls in the middle and is one of the bleaker installments in Modesitt’s series. You need to have read the previous eight books before picking up Madness in Solidar. Understanding the plot of this book depends on knowing a lot of previous history in the series.

Alastar has recently taken over the Collegium as the Maitre d'Image. He grew up outside the capital, but, after the death of the last Maitre, he succeeded to the leadership of all the Imagers. It's a difficult job at the best of times, but for Alastar it's even more challenging because he is a relative s... Read More

Treachery’s Tools: Satisfying for a fan of the series

Treachery’s Tools by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

It’s always a surprise when a fantasy novel can carry real meaning in depicting modern issues. Things like pride, avarice and jealousy that can be pervasive in certain segments of the social structure of a modern world can be so powerfully demonstrated when people use swords and magic to actually kill each. L.E. Modesitt Jr.’s Treachery’s Tools was able to provoke those comparisons for me.

When last we left Alastar he had successfully stood off a revolt by High Holders against the Rex of Solidar and the attempted obliteration of the Imager’s Collegium. While many of the participants in this violent confrontation paid with their lives, some managed to avoid paying the ultimate price and slunk into exile. One might have hoped that Alastar and his beloved Alyna would have... Read More

Empress of Eternity: Impressive but impersonal

Empress of Eternity by L.E. Modesitt Jr

It’s hard not to get excited whenever L.E. Modesitt Jr. releases a new standalone sci-fi novel. Despite being better known for his various fantasy series than his science fiction, some of his best work can be found in the latter genre. Novels like The Parafaith War, Archform: Beauty, Adiamante and Haze (just to name a few) are wonderful examples of this amazingly prolific author’s talent when it comes to science fiction. The newest addition to this list, Empress of Eternity, is no exception. Despite being a bit dry and inaccessible, its scope and ambition are stunning.

The novel follows three separate story lines, set in far-future Earth societies that are separated by tens of thousands of years. In each of these, scientists are investigating ... Read More

The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, With Winds and Accompaniment

The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, With Winds and Accompaniment by L.E. Modesitt Jr

I am a big fan of Modesitt’s science fiction work, even when he gets on his political soap box for gender, socially progressive politics, and environmental issues. The One-Eyed Man is a solo novel that encompasses all of these topics, but this time there is almost a feeling of cynicism that I really enjoyed.

Paulo Verano is an idealistic Environmental Analyst who has just been taken to the cleaners. In a scene that is familiar to many, his ex-spouse has left him for another person and has financially devastated him. His daughter is estranged from him and his business, while viable, is a means for his ex to continue to reap financial support. It’s a bleak picture.

Stittara is a distant world from the major planets of the Unity of the Cyelesian Arm. It produces a naturally occurring substance that essentially doubles the human li... Read More

Solar Express: Not entertaining

Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt Jr

L.E. Modesitt Jr’s newest work is a stand-alone hard science fiction novel that takes place in the 2100’s when the geo-political landscape of Earth has changed dramatically. Climate change and bad economic policies have nearly destroyed the United States, which now belongs to the North American Union. The major world powers have been exploring space, but all have signed a treaty that prevents them from weaponizing their spaceships or militarizing space in other ways. War threatens, however, after the Sinese Federation accuses the North American Union and the Indians of breaking the treaty. The Sinese seem to be using their alleged suspicions as an excuse to build up their own military capabilities in space.

As tensions rise, Alayna Wong-Grant, a young astrophysicist with a grunt job on a lunar space station, notices an anomaly in her data which indicates that an unknown object is travelling th... Read More

Quantum Shadows: Unpleasant

Quantum Shadows by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

What would life be like if you were living through a seemingly never-ending series of holocaust-style planetary collapses? Corvyn is a cynic. He questions everything and tries to hold himself above the mundane ideals that normal people struggle with. He’s been there, done that, is powerful enough in the world order that exists to resist almost anyone, but he refuses to take a leadership role himself.

In Quantum Shadows (2020) we follow Corvyn as he attempts to track down an apparent attempt to seize power by entities unknown. Over the next several hundred pages, L.E. Modesitt, Jr. drags us through a broad-ranging review of various religious/moral viewpoints that populate Heaven, the planet Corvyn lives on. As with almost all Modesitt books, there are plenty of semi-tongue in ch... Read More

Speculative Horizons: Feel good about buying this anthology!

Speculative Horizons edited by Patrick St. Denis

Speculative Horizons is a lovely little anthology edited by book blogger Patrick St. Denis (of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist fame). When the good people at Subterranean Press asked him whether he’d be interested in editing a short story collection, he understandably jumped on the idea (who wouldn’t?!), but asked that a portion of the proceeds be donated to breast cancer research. Not only is this an absolutely wonderful initiative, but it also means that you now have an excellent chance to buy a book and actually feel good about it.

This 128 page anthology contains five short stories by authors whose names many people who are interested in speculative fiction will instantly re... Read More

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: For a dose of crazy genius

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is the latest themed anthology edited by John Joseph Adams — and it’s another good one. This time, Adams has collected a set of short stories featuring the hero’s (or often superhero’s) traditional antagonist: the mad genius, the super-villain, the brilliant sociopath who wants to remold the world in his own image — or occasionally, maybe, just be left alone in his secret lair to conduct spine-tingling experiments that, as an unfortunate side-effect, may cause drastically rearranged geography, rampant mutation, or major extinction events.

Under the editorial direction of John Joseph Adams, this anthology offers an impressively varied view on this archetypical character. Some stories refer back to mad geniuses you’ll be familiar with (Frankenstein, Lex Luthor). Some of them feature ... Read More

More books by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Timegods’ World — (1982-1992) The Timegod is an expansion from Modesitt’s first novel, The Fires of Paratime. Publisher: Lovi, a young timediver, becomes a full-fledged member of the Temporal Guard of the planet Query, but he soon rebels against the parasitic culture in which he lives. TIMEGOD’S WORLD is reminiscent of the Change War stories of Fritz Lieber, and although they are SF, they contain intriguing connections to the fantasy universe of Modesitt’s Recluce novels. This is SF adventure in time and space, full of action and big ideas.

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The Ghost Trilogy (Johan Eschbach) — (1994-2001) Publisher: Johan Eschbach, Professor of Environmental Science and semi-retired secret agent, and his lovely wife the world-renowned singer Llysette, return for another adventure, this time in Russia, during the long ‘white nights’ of summer. Their world is an intriguing alternate present in which many things are changed. What we know as the eastern U.S. is the nation of Columbia, and Russia is still ruled by the Czars. Llysette is being sent by the Columbian government on a cultural exchange mission to St. Petersburg. Johan will, of course, accompany her, allowing him to work behind the scenes on the oil concession in Russian Alaska that Columbia so desperately needs. But even the oil shortage will fade to insignificance when Johan discovers what new weapons technology the Russians are developing, a threat even more fearsome than the atomic bombs of Austro-Hungary. This is the concluding novel of the of alternate history adventure trilogy that Modesitt began with Of Tangible Ghosts and The Ghost of the Revelator.

The Ghost Trilogy 1. Of Tangible Ghosts 2. The Ghost of the Revelator 3. Ghost of the White Nights The Ghost Trilogy 1. Of Tangible Ghosts 2. The Ghost of the Revelator 3. Ghost of the White Nights The Ghost Trilogy 1. Of Tangible Ghosts 2. The Ghost of the Revelator 3. Ghost of the White Nights

The Spellsong Cycle — (1998-2003) Publisher: When Anna Marshall is transported from her boring and frustrating life in Ames, Iowa, to the very different world of Erde, she’s angry and confused, but soon finds out that for the first time in her life she’s uniquely powerful. In Iowa Anna was a music instructor and small-time opera singer, but on Erde her musical ability makes her a big-time sorceress — potentially. First she must figure out how to use her ability before the big-time rulers who’ve noticed her arrival kill her just because she’s an unpredictable new power… Those rulers may wish they hadn’t waited as long as they did.

Modesitt: Spellsong Cycle: The Soprano Sorceress, THe Spellsong War, Darksong Rising, The Shadow Sorceress, Shadowsingerress, Shadowsingerress, Shadowsingerress, Shadowsingerress, Shadowsinger

Archform: Beauty — (2002-2004) Publisher: Most readers recognize L. E. Modesitt, Jr., as the author of a favorite fantasy series, be it The Magic of Recluce or The Spellsong Cycle. It’s always a special treat when he turns his hand again to SF and Archform: Beauty is no exception. Four centuries in the future, the world is rich — nanomachines watch the health of the wealthy and manufacture food and gadgets for everybody — but no Utopia, as we see in the lives of five very different people. A singing teacher suffers for her music and fights bureaucracy and apathy. A news researcher delivers the essential background details but can’t help looking deeper and wondering about the real story behind the grim incidents that make the headlines. A police investigator, assigned to study trends, begins to see a truly sinister pattern behind a series of seemingly unrelated crimes and deaths. A politician aids his constituents, fights the good fight, and tries to get reelected without compromising his principles. A ruthless businessman strives to make his family powerful, wealthy, and independent. Theirs is a society where technology takes care of everyone’s basic needs but leaves most people struggling to extract a meaningful life from a world crowded with wonders but empty of commitment and human connection. Alternating the voices and experiences of these five characters in a tour de force of imaginative creation, Modesitt overlaps, combines, and builds their disparate stories into a brilliant tale of future crime and investigation, esthetic challenge and personal triumph. In the same way that he has built fantasy landscapes of surpassing fascination, Modesitt creates a believable future, one imbued with a deep understanding of the way politics works and how people act and react when their sense of themselves, of justice and truth, is exploited by others for power and control. When there’s nothing left to need or want, will beauty live on in people’s lives or disappear forever? L. E. Modesitt, Jr. asks difficult questions, sets himself unlikely challenges, and once again delivers an absorbing tale that enlightens, entertains, and uplifts all at once.

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L.E. Modesitt Jr Hammer of Darkness, The Green Progression, Adiamante, Gravity Dreams, The Octagonal RavenHammer of Darkness — (1985) Publisher: Martin Martel is an exile in trouble with the gods in this SF novel by the bestselling writer L. E, Modesitt, Jr, now back in a new trade papeback edition from Tor.  After finding out that he has unusual powers, he is banished from the planet Karnak. Martin is thrust into the tranquil world of Aurore, vacation paradise for the galaxy. There he finds that the reality of Aurore is much different from its serene veneer. The gods are wantonly cruel and indifferent to the chaos they cause: are they really gods or just men and woman with larger-than-life powers? Whatever the answer Martin Martel must challenge their supremacy to defend his life, love, and the fate of all mankind.

L.E. Modesitt Jr The Eternity Artifact, The Elysium Commission, Viewpoints CriticalThe Eternity Artifact — (2005) Publisher: Five thousand years in the future, humankind has spread across the galaxy and more than a dozen different planetary and system governments exist in an uneasy truce.  Human beings have found no signs of other life anywhere approaching human intelligence. Until scientists discover a sunless planet they name Danann. Moving at unnaturally high speed, Danann travels the void just beyond the edge of the galaxy. Its continents and oceans have been sculpted and shaped and there is but a single, almost perfectly-preserved megaplex upon the surface — with tens of thousands of near-identical metallic-silver-blue towers set along curved canals. Yet, Danann has been abandoned for so long that even the atmosphere has frozen solid. Orbital shuttle pilot Jiendra Chang, artist Chendor Barna, and history professor Liam Fitzhugh are recruited by the Comity government and its Deep Space Service as part of an unprecedented and unique expedition to unravel Danann’s secrets. And there are forces that will stop at nothing to prevent them, even if it means interstellar war.

L.E. Modesitt Jr The Eternity Artifact, The Elysium Commission, Viewpoints CriticalThe Elysium Commission — (2007) Publisher: L.E. Modesitt returns to SF with a whole new future world on the brink of destruction. A brilliant scientist on the planet Devanta has created a small universe contiguous to ours — and a utopian city on one of the planets. The question becomes, though, an utopia for whom? And why is a shady entertainment mogul subsidizing the scientist? More critical than that, does this new universe require the destruction of a portion — or all — of our universe in order to grow and stabilize? Blaine Donne is a retired military special operative now devoted to problem-solving for hire. He investigates a series of seemingly unrelated mysteries that arise with the arrival of a woman with unlimited resources who has neither a present nor a past. The more he investigates, the more questions arise, including the role of the two heiresses who are more — and less — than they seem, and the more Donne is pushed inexorably toward an explosive solution and a regional interstellar war.

L.E. Modesitt Jr The Eternity Artifact, The Elysium Commission, Viewpoints CriticalViewpoints Critical: Selected Stories — (2008) Publisher: This is the first story collection ever from bestselling fantasy and science fiction writer L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Modesitt began publishing short fiction in the SF magazines in the 1970s, and this collection includes a selection of stories from the whole of his career. Some of the early stories are kernels for his early SF novels, others display the wide range of his talents and interests, from satire to military adventure. This book also contains three new stories that have never been published before: “Black Ordermage,” set in Modesitt’s bestselling Recluce series; “Beyond the Obvious Wind,” set in his Corean Chronicles universe; and “Always Outside the Lines,” which is related to the Ghost of Columbia books. Viewpoints Critical is an excellent introduction to the work of one of the major SF and fantasy writers publishing today.