L. E. MODESITT, JR. – The Magic of Recluce. Tor, hardcover, May 1991; paperback, May 1992.

   I wonder how many created-world heroic fantasies have been written since Tolkien made them respectable? Quintscillions, at least, and most of them aren’t worth reading, and most of the rest aren’t anything special. I thought this one stood out a bit from the large and somnolent herd.

   A young lad (15) doesn’t fit in his culture, which is an island nation composed of a mysterious people who adhere fanatically to Order. Our hero finds them boring and is found by them to be an unacceptable influence, and a potential danger to order.

   He and some other misfits are given an option: exile, or go out into the wider world on a mission assigned them, to be allowed to return only when it’s completed. He is, of course, more than he seems or knows.

   Considered separately, the story’s components don’t sound too original: Order against Chaos, a youthful quest, good magicians and bad. It is, however, a lot better and more different than it sounds. The world is well thought out and constructed, and the characters a good deal more than cardboard.

   Modesitt writes well and I found his pacing excellent. Recluce is by far his best book to date, and though there will be at least one more book with this setting, this one stands alone well enough. It plows no startlingly new ground, but if you like fantasy at all it’s well worth your time.

— Reprinted from Fireman, Fireman, Save My Books #2, July 1992.

      The Recluce series —

1. The Magic of Recluce (1991)
2. The Towers of Sunset (1992)

3. The Magic Engineer (1994)
4. The Order War (1995)
5. The Death of Chaos (1995)

6. Fall of Angels (1996)
7. The Chaos Balance (1997)
8. The White Order (1998)
9. Colors of Chaos (1999)
10. Magi’i of Cyador (2000)

11. Scion of Cyador (2000)
12. Wellspring of Chaos (2004)
13. Ordermaster (2005)
14. Natural Ordermage (2007)
15. Mage-Guard of Hamor (2008)

16. Arms-Commander (2010)
17. Cyador’s Heirs (2014)
18. Heritage of Cyador (2014)