The White Order

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Author
L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Author Tor Books $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-86645-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 468 pages - 978-0-8125-4171-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8125-8444-8
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-19672-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-22626-4
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4299-1379-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-1684-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-6684-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-4684-8
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The prolific and popular fantasy author adds to his Recluce series (The Chaos Balance, etc.), with this entry tracing the rise of an orphan, Cerryl, to powerful magicianship. That's a venerable concept, but Modesitt keeps it fresh with crisp characters and a consistent, well-detailed setting. The magical system employed here features white chaos magic, somehow connected to the colors of light, and the magic of order, which is black and associated with cold iron. The background is medieval European--largely preliterate, with guilds and apprenticeships--but Modesitt uses historical details to create a vivid, realistic culture instead of a stereotyped fantasy world. Cerryl's apprenticeships in a wood mill and, later, to a scrivener lend depth to his ensuing, more magical, adventures. Like many fantasy heroes, Cerryl is virtuous but has unusual magical potential, leading to opportunities but also to problems, especially from jealous apprentices or mages of the White Order. The theme of power, including its uses and misuses, and its various forms, magical, political and sexual, runs throughout the book. As the novel widens its focus from Cerryl's education to his involvement with war, intrigue and assassination, it becomes more colorful but less original. Still, Modesitt provides the requisite adventure and wizardry, plus people and places that are as true as they are magical. Author tour. (June)
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