L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, Oct 2009, $27.99
The imager Rhennthyl has become a Maitre D’Aspect and named Liaison to the Civic Patrol of L’Excelsis by the Collegium. However his new Commander Artois is outraged with what he considers an affront and instead of going undercover to uncover seditious magical practicers, cheats and frauds among the elite as the Director of security operations Master Dichartyn envisioned, he is assigned street patrol in the worst sector.
As he works the streets serendipitously, Rhenn thought the Collegium would provide him with direction; instead they seem to want to avoid him. In fact as he makes progress on cases, the Collegium snubs him. When his inquiry leads to a High Holder with a personal grudge against Rhenn, the Collegium ignores his plea for backing. Ethical yet not suicidal, Rhenn considers his options, but ultimately refuses to back off though he knows challenging the aristocratic family without support could prove dangerous.
The Second Book of the Imager Portfolio (see IMAGER) is a fascinating political police procedural fantasy in which the secret use of magic rules. The story line at times turns reflective as Rhenn thoughtfully evaluates his options when no one in authority supports his findings. Although his reflections are insightful and timely into the abuse of power by omission and disregard, that also slows down the tale. Still IMAGER’S CHALLENGE is a deep look at the politics of neglect with timely connections to today’s world.