cover image Endgames


L.E. Modesitt Jr. Tor, $28.99 (576p) ISBN 978-1-250-29364-0

Modesitt’s 12th Imager Portfolio fantasy novel (after Outcasts of Order) takes a mix of civil unrest, romance, and assassination attempts and manages to render them rather dull. In previous volumes, Charyn D’Rex, ruler of Solidar, lost his father to violence and survived attempts on his own life. Now the young ruler seeks to balance the interests of nobles, wealthy businesspeople, and the common folk while performing his duties, including finding a consort. The populace makes its discontent known, both in the form of the True Believers religious movement and in various acts of violence against the businesses of the wealthy. Charyn responds by deliberating over reasonable courses of action, including legislative changes. His very proper romance is conducted at balls and via lengthy correspondence. A distant naval war with the Jariolans enters the story only rarely and with little effect; there are a few attempts on his life as part of a coup, but it never feels like he is in real danger. This reads more like a treatise on good government than an exciting fantasy epic. (Feb.)