Acclaimed author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. continues his new Recluce story inMage-Guard of Hamor, the second of two volumes set mostly on the continent of Hamor, far across the sea from Recluce, where the story began. Rahl was a young apprentice on the island of Recluce sent to the mages training school for testing, then banished to Hamor. His education now continues under dangerous circumstances. In Hamor, his powers have increased, but so has the amount of trouble he attracts. The whole society of Hamor is a new culture for Modesitt--and Rahl--to explore, one in which magic is a monopoly of the state. Rahl is a mage now, powerful and still just as dangerous to himself and to others. This is the story of how he gains both more knowledge and power, and more self-control. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Thick as it is, the 15th Recluce novel is actually just the second half of the story that began with Natural Ordermage (2007), in which young Rahl was exiled from Recluce because he couldn't control his passions or considerable magical talents. Now on the much larger island of Hamor, where magicians work for the government, he resentfully receives the protection and training he needs from older mage-guard Taryl, who never seems satisfied even with Rahl's best efforts. More serious tests follow when the emperor's brother leads a revolt and Rahl is sent off with the troops. As he endures a long military campaign--with readers feeling they've slogged along with him through detailed descriptions of crops, architecture and weather--Rahl realizes that order isn't quite the same thing as good, and chaos isn't necessarily evil. Watching him learn to work within this complicated system and decide what's important makes the dolorous trek worthwhile. (July)
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July 20, 2008
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Excerpt from Mage-Guard of Hamor by L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Rahl stood on the port wing of the fast frigate's bridge, looking out at the seemingly endless gray-blue waters of the Eastern Ocean. Even in midocean, the early-fall air seemed hazy and cool, and the cloudless green-blue sky held a hint of silver. Below the iron decks, he could sense the controlled chaos of the boilers and engines of the E.S. Ascadya as she steamed northeast--toward Recluce. He could also feel the latent chaos of the powder in the locked iron magazines below the forward gun turret with its twin guns.
He glanced toward the covered center of the bridge where Captain Jaracyn stood beside the officer of the day, both slightly back of the helmsman. Although the captain had been polite and courteous to both Rahl and Taryl--particularly toward the older mage-guard--Rahl could sense Jaracyn's distaste for his mission. As a fighting commander of the Hamorian Navy, the captain would have preferred a more active role in dealing with the rebellion in Merowey than to transport two mage-guard envoys to Nylan, even though the mission was designed to keep the black ships of Nylan from becoming involved in hostilities against the Emperor.
Rahl glanced back as the frigate pitched forward, slicing through a heavy swell that sent spray flying back from the bow. Two ratings in khaki trousers and collarless khaki shirts didn't even duck as the cool spray showered them.
Rahl couldn't help but shake his head at how his life had twisted since he'd left Land's End more than a year before. He'd been exiled from the north of Recluce to the Black City of Nylan, and from there to Hamor because he could not control his abilities with order. He'd been drugged with nemysa to destroy his memory after he'd discovered the thefts by the director of the Nylan Merchant Association, and ended up as laborer in the ironworks of Luba, where he'd been rescued and trained by a self-exiled mage-guard--Taryl--who had once been the Emperor's Mage-Guard Triad. Then Rahl had been posted to Swartheld as a junior mage-guard, where he'd uncovered the Jeranyi pirate plot to destroy the merchant sector of the harbor--and killed his superior and destroyed the entire Nylan Merchant Association in the process of saving the rest of the merchant houses. As a result, he and Taryl were now being dispatched to Nylan to explain all that had happened.
Yet, because Rahl had not learned enough about handling order, he knew he could not return permanently to Nylan. After his exile from Nylan and the conditions set forth for his return, if it were not for Deybri, the healer whose image and warmth he could not forget, he would not have been looking forward to returning at all--because he had little more control over his abilities to handle order than when he had been dispatched and because every time he thought about the events leading to his exile, he had to fight the anger and rage those memories sparked.
"You're looking somber," observed Taryl. The thin-faced and angular mage-guard stepped to the bridge railing inboard of where Rahl stood. "You're concerned about the reception you might get?"
Rahl nodded. He was concerned about two reactions--that of the board of magisters in Nylan and that of Deybri.
"You're an official envoy of the Emperor," Taryl said. "The most they can do is tell you to depart once we've delivered our messages."
"You're really the envoy, ser. You're a former Triad, and I still don't see why anyone really needed me."
"I suppose Jyrolt told you about the Triad?"
"Yes, ser. He didn't tell me much, except that all the rumors were wrong, and that I was to tell anyone who suggested such that they were."
Taryl shook his head. "They won't believe you. Rumors are far more attractive, as you will discover."
"Ah . . . ser . . . you didn't say why anyone needs me."
"Because, as I've told you several times," Taryl replied patiently, "they know who you are, and what you are, and they'll be able to tell that you're telling them the truth. Also, you're the only one alive who has firsthand knowledge about the way the managing director of the Nylan Merchant Association in Swartheld was linked to the Jeranyi."
Rahl supposed that was true, but what difference would it make? The magisters hadn't ever really listened to him before. Why would they now, especially since he was a mage-guard of Hamor?
"The engineers aren't the Council of Recluce," Rahl pointed out.
"Exactly." Taryl smiled. "But they are the real power on the isle. Most of the trade comes through Nylan. They have the only warships that can challenge Hamor. By dealing with the magisters of Nylan, we will foment a certain amount of internal unrest in Recluce. That may focus their interest internally, rather than on Hamor, because the Emperor is suggesting that the true power lies in Nylan and not at Land's End."