Mage-Guard of Hamor
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, Jul 2008, $27.95
On the island of Recluse, master scribe Kian mentored his apprentice younger son Rahl; but unbeknownst to the teacher, his pupil to avoid hassles and make life easier on himself serendipitously used tiny doses of order magic. The Council magisters traced his misuse back to him; his impulsive temper and his seemingly out of control skill led to his exile across the sea to the wilds of Hamor; a place where he will either learn to control himself and his order magical use or die (see NATURAL ORDERMAGE).
On Hamor, mages work for the government or they do not work. Mage-guard Taryl is assigned a bitter Rahl as his pupil. Rahl loathes his instructor who only complains about his failing apprentice. During a civil war between brothers, Rahl is deployed with the Emperor’s army in horrific field conditions. If they are not in combat, the weather is good, and they have foraged enough food and water for sustenance then the soldiers are bored; however usually Rahl and his unit are in the midst of hostilities either from the enemy, the weather or the farmers. He begins to gain wisdom about good and bad, and order and chaos. He realizes he must choose when to be defiant or the Ordermage system will continue to destroy him.
First off, MAGE-GUARD OF HONOR can stand alone, but is so much more understandable if read after NATURAL ORDERMAGE as the audience will better comprehend Rahl’s personality and the complex rules of magic. The story line is a coming of age tale, as Rahl gains wisdom on the tedious trek. Although the exhaustive, agricultural, climate and cultural dissertations can become tedious but realistic, fans will appreciate the latest Recluse tale that occurs almost entirely on a different island.