The Magic of Recluse
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, Jun 21 2011, $15.99
The world is torn between order and chaos. On the island Recluce, order rules to the absolute degree superseding individual liberties. Teenage Lerris bounces between undesirable ennui and unhealthy questioning. His skeptical interrogation for truth has the Brotherhood black wizards believing he has the potential of becoming a high level wizard or otherwise permanent exile.
Though doubting his skills, he accepts the mission of learning the chaos in the worlds outside of his homeland. Lerris leaves the island content for war ravaged chaotic Candar where in Freetown he is pronounced as a rogue wizard subject to assassination. Antonin the white chaos wizard tries to kill the stunned teen, but he escapes using his black order magic. Justen the grey wizard mentors the lad but he flees when he learns the grey wizards steal souls. He reaches Fenard where he becomes an apprentice to an ailing incompetent but kind woodworker Destrin and takes over making the business successful for his teacher and the family. As his skills develop, Lerris knows he must go home.
This is a twentieth anniversary reprinting of the first Saga of Recluce fantasy. The story line holds up well as the Modesitt magical system remains logical between the whites of chaos, the black of order and the greys of chaos and order. The coming of age adventure stars a young hero who learns life lessons in accountability and responsibility for others. Although an anticipated final wizards’ duel between Lerris and Antonin never quite achieves the expected level, fans will appreciate the opening act of order vs. chaos vs. order-chaos.