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Imager's Challenge: The Second Book of the Imager Portfolio Mass Market Paperback – Sep 28 2010


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (Sept. 28 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076536090X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765360908
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.1 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The Imager Portfolio features some of the best characters Modesitt has ever created, real enough to make you consider what you'd do in their places. (Booklist on Imager’s Challenge)

Modesitt writes some of the most interesting characters in fantasy. He is a master of developing young heroes. Fans of the author's Recluce and Corean series will enjoy [the Imager Portfolio]. (SFRevu)

[Modesitt is] one of the genre's most accomplished detailers of the social and political complexities of wielding power. (Library Journal on Imager’s Challenge)

If you are looking for a character-driven book (with a bit of mystery) that is well written and believable, and spends time examining people's motivations, then this book is very much for you. (Fantasybookreviewer on Imager)

There are strong female characters as is the norm for Modesitt's novels. The women he develops don't need to be masculine to be strong. . . . Mr. Modesitt's fans will not be disappointed. Fans of David Farland should find this work enjoyable as well. It is odd to call something realistic fantasy, but in this case it works. There are definite laws that are followed and a realistic economic system. The government that is developed is a reaction to the world built upon the actions of others in the past. There is a little bit of a mystery to be solved in this story as well. . . . I look forward to the next volume and I am sure many of you will too. (SFRevu on Imager)

The prolific Modesitt kicks off a new fantasy series that boasts an early modern setting-think Victorian times without the pollution. . . . Modesitt's capacity to wring new surprises from stock ideas remains undiminished. (Kirkus Reviews on Imager)

Modesitt has drawn a world intriguing enough by itself and thoroughly integrated the magic of imaging into it. The characters are real people, learning and struggling and dealing with their families. Rivetingly beginning a new series, Imager Portfolio, this is thoroughly absorbing, whetting the appetite for the next installment. (Booklist on Imager)

Excelling in his characterizations and the verisimilitude of his world building, the author of the long-standing "Recluce" novels and the "Spellsong Cycle" crafts an intriguing series opener about the magic of creation and perception that should find a place in most fantasy collections. (Library Journal on Imager)

Meticulous worldbuilding . . . . The world is fascinating, and the Imagers themselves are extraordinary. (RT Bookreviews on Imager)

About the Author

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., is the bestselling author of the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce, Corean Chronicles, and the Imager Portfolio. His science fiction includes Adiamante, the Ecolitan novels, the Forever Hero Trilogy, and Archform: Beauty. Besides a writer, Modesitt has been a U.S. Navy pilot, a director of research for a political campaign, legislative assistant and staff director for a U.S. Congressman, Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues, and a college lecturer. He lives in Cedar City, Utah.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
You may recall that I really enjoyed L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s Imager a while back, going so far as to claim that the book could well be the best and most accessible series' opener the author ever came up with. The sequel remained on my "books to read" pile for months, and I knew it was high time to finally give it a shot. So I brought it with me when I left for South America.

Here's the blurb:

Imager's Challenge takes up immediately after the conclusion of Imager. Still recovering from injuries received in foiling the plots of the Ferran envoy, Rhenn is preparing to take up his new duties as imager liaison to the Civic Patrol of L'Excelsis. No sooner has he assumed his new position than he discovers two things. First, the Commander of the Civic Patrol doesn't want a liaison from the infamous Collegium, and soon has Rhenn patrolling the streets of the worst district in the city. Second, Rhenn receives formal notice that one of the High Holders, the father of a man Rhenn partly blinded in self-defense, has declared his intention to destroy Rhenn and his family.

Rhenn's only allies are the family of the girl he loves, successful merchants with underworld connections. In the end, Rhenn must literally stand off against gang lords, naval marines, Tiempran terrorist priests, the most powerful High Holder in all of Solidar, and his own Collegium'and find a way to prevail without making further enemies and endangering those he loves.

Modesitt wastes no time, and Imager's Challenge starts where Imager ended. As was the case with its predecessor, this second volume features features realistic worldbuilding, deft plotting, an interesting magical system, adroit characterization, and a subtle human touch.
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By DigitalFrog on Nov. 2 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent series - very much in the same flavor as the first three books of the Corean Chronicles.
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By artist&reader on April 28 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
My wife read this genre. It was for her. She gave it a 4.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Roy on Dec 14 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Imager's Challenge" was as interesting as "Imager". When you start reading it, it's hard to stop...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 104 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A solid, enjoyable, tale but with too much filler. April 18 2010
By Darious - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, I want to say that I enjoyed Imager's Challenge, wrapping it up in just two days and immediately putting the sequel on pre-order.

However finishing the book in that period of time was no great effort as I glossed over all the food, fashion and faith fillers. The author spent want felt like a godawful amount of pagecount discussing the clothing of the characters, what they ate for dinner, and lunch, and breakfast, and late breakfasts, and early dinners, and... well you get the point.

The didatic indoctrination of the protagonist in the Way-Things-Ought-To-Be by tediously delivered instruction by mentors or sermons by the clergy left me with glazed eyes before half of the book was finished. I hadn't encountered something this heavy handed since Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr series.

Those points aside it is an interesting, if roughly sketched in, setting. There is some interesting foreshadowing and possibly Chechov's guns laying around, and I look forward to seeing the main character in his new role in the next installment of the series.

But please. No more than one meal description per four chapters...
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An Imager Fights Against Corruption and a Deadly Vendetta Nov. 27 2009
By April - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book continues the story that began in IMAGER. Rhenn, formerly a journeyman portrait painter who, after a series of events in the first book, goes to the Collegium to learn to properly use his talent as an Imager. At the Collegium, Rhenn quickly learns to master his skills and had been made a Master Imager. At the start of this book, he has just started as a liason to the Civic Patrol. Rhenn discovers some nefarious activities on his rounds at the criminal courts and patrolling the Taudis, a district in the city where poverty and gangs are common. Rhenn is also formally notified of the deadly vendetta against him by one of the most wealthy and powerful High Holders in the land. He needs to find a way to deal with those problems without lending any attention at all to the Collegium, as the role of all Imagers and the Collegium is precarious in the land, since everyone is wary of the powers Imagers may use, and the balance of power is always a touchy issue, even among the High Holders and their relations with the Merchants and other groups.

This is primarily a political fantasy, as Rhenn needs to work within the system, or at least be aware of the system enough to be able to work around it without revealing himself. There is also suspense and action, as assassins are gunning for him, and also for those important to him. And there's also a bit more about the magic system of Imaging, although not as much as in the first book. Here, there is some further exploration of his abilities, but much of his magic is spent doing fairly basic things (shielding and telekinesis). Readers who enjoyed the first book should find this book equally enjoyable. As with the last book, there are parts that are slow-moving, but with lots of detail about the world and the society and politics. This book finishes a definite story arc. If there are no more books in the series, a reader could be satisfied. If there are more books, I would certainly be interested in reading them.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Another Outstanding Fantasy Novel Nov. 5 2009
By J. Christensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Modesitt has an outstanding talent to write a fantasy novel that is enjoyable in itself but also leaves you hoping for a sequel. Most of the better known, contemporary authors of fantasy novels, such as Jordan, Martin, and Goodkind, end their novels like daily segments of a TV soap opera. Apparently, that is the only way they can create reader interest in a sequel. I look forward to reading all of Modesitt's future fantasy novels.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Engaging but not Modesitt at the top of his form June 23 2010
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Imager-Master Rhenn has survived assassination attempts, political intrigue, and abusive fellow-students in the Imager college. By handling those problems, however, he's created even larger difficulties for himself. First, the Imager community (imagers are magicians who can manifest things by mental force) survives by keeping a low profile. Imagers are powerful, but they're a small minority...a minority that's actively wiped out in most nations and only tolerated in Rhenn's country. Too much visibility, too much attention to how arbitrarily an imager could murder...by, for example, creating an undetectable heart attack, could bring back the wars that have nearly destroyed imagers in the past. Second, he's earned an enemy in the richest and most powerful lord, Ryel D'Alte. The High Holders (lords) have made an art form of their revenge and D'Alte is systematically going about ruining not just Rhenn, but most especially his defenseless family.

The Imager Collegium lets Rhenn to know, in no uncertain terms, that they will offer him no direct assistance unless he can bring them unassailable proof--something he cannot do. Fortunately, he isn't completely on his own. His girlfriend comes from a wealthy Pharsi family. The family has contacts in various underworlds and is willing to pitch in to help Rhenn. Of course, his imager powers are strong enough to defeat most direct attacks...but it's the indirect approach that has him worried.

Rhenn is assigned to serve as liason between the Imagers and the Civic Patrol, and soon finds that corruption and bribery are rampant in the local police force, and that local crime leaders control the streets while an increasing percentage of the population uses drugs while waiting for a chance to riot... something that's being encouraged by national enemies.

Author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. continues his Imager series with IMAGER'S CHALLENGE. I found this book easy enough to read (although it soon became clear that Rhenn would never miss a meal or a glass of wine), and holding enough of Modesitt's engaging writing to keep my interest through the story. Rhenn's situation, with powerful enemies who choose not to confront him directly (something that has led to short lifespans for anyone who's confronted him in the past) is sympathetic and it's interesting to speculate how Rhenn might resolve his problems while staying true to the Imager code. Ultimately, I found Rhenn's solution to be less clever and less interesting than I was hoping for. Despite the promising beginning and the buildup, the resolution of this book came off, to me, as either rushed or attempting to make a political statement I simply didn't understand.

Modesitt is an uneven writer. Some of his books have been brilliant. Others only so-so. His writing is always engaging, however, and I've never found one of his books I didn't want to finish. While IMAGER'S CHALLENGE has its high points, I'd have to put it in the lower bracket of Modesitt's works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very good sequel! May 2 2011
By Patrick St-Denis, editor of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You may recall that I really enjoyed L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s Imager a while back, going so far as to claim that the book could well be the best and most accessible series' opener the author ever came up with. The sequel remained on my "books to read" pile for months, and I knew it was high time to finally give it a shot. So I brought it with me when I left for South America.

Here's the blurb:

Imager's Challenge takes up immediately after the conclusion of Imager. Still recovering from injuries received in foiling the plots of the Ferran envoy, Rhenn is preparing to take up his new duties as imager liaison to the Civic Patrol of L'Excelsis. No sooner has he assumed his new position than he discovers two things. First, the Commander of the Civic Patrol doesn't want a liaison from the infamous Collegium, and soon has Rhenn patrolling the streets of the worst district in the city. Second, Rhenn receives formal notice that one of the High Holders, the father of a man Rhenn partly blinded in self-defense, has declared his intention to destroy Rhenn and his family.

Rhenn's only allies are the family of the girl he loves, successful merchants with underworld connections. In the end, Rhenn must literally stand off against gang lords, naval marines, Tiempran terrorist priests, the most powerful High Holder in all of Solidar, and his own Collegium--and find a way to prevail without making further enemies and endangering those he loves.

Modesitt wastes no time, and Imager's Challenge starts where Imager ended. As was the case with its predecessor, this second volume features features realistic worldbuilding, deft plotting, an interesting magical system, adroit characterization, and a subtle human touch. Hence, this novel is another intelligent and solid effort by the author.

Set into an industrialized environment akin to late 18th century Europe, the worldbuilding which is the backdrop of The Imager Portfolio is top notch. Once again, commerce, politics, and religion play key roles in Imager's Challenge. Especially the political aspect, which demonstrates that this series resounds with a lot more depth than meets the eye. It remains unclear just how many installments there will be in this series, but it's now obvious that there is a lot more to this tale than we first believed. Exactly how Rhennthyl will fit into this multilayered web of storylines should become clearer as the story progresses.

Imaging turned out to be a new and ingenious magical system in Imager and readers continue to learn more about how it all works as Rhenn practices and learns more about it himself. Once more, how the Collegium operates, both in small-scale and worldwide events, remains at the heart of the story.

Naturally, Imager's Challenge is told in the first person, the sole POV of the narrative being that of Rhennthyl. It works quite well, but as more and more layers are unveiled, I feel that having more POV characters could be beneficial. Yet given the structure of the series thus far, I doubt it will happen. Still, I'd be interested in a Seliora point of view. Though it will always be Rhenn's story, the supporting cast truly added another dimension to this one. These disparate characters, from all walks of life, definitely gave this book a different flavor. In addition to Seliora and her family, especially her grandmother, Master Dichartyn and other members of the Collegium, a number of interesting characters interact with Rhenn. Horazt and Shault came as an unexpected surprise, and so were a few patrollers.

Again, there is a social undertone hinting at the emancipation of a new generation of capable and efficient women attempting to establish themselves and take their rightful place in this male-dominated society. I'm curious to see how it will all fit in the greater scheme of things, but it is evident that Khethila and Iryela D'Alte's storylines will focus on that theme.

As is Modesitt's wont, the pace throughout Imager's Challenge is steady but not fast-moving. A slower rhythm is endemic to most of the author's works, yet Modesitt knows how to build momentum and keep you turning those pages. There is never a dull moment as we watch Rhenn deal with various dangers as he tries to do the right thing without incriminating himself and the Collegium while trying to protect his family and that of Seliora.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If it lives up to its vast potential, The Imager Portfolio could become one of Modesitt's signature works. This is probably L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s most accessible series to date and I encourage you to give it a shot. Chances are you won't be disappointed!

Imager's Challenge is another very good read from one of the most underappreciated talents in fantasy today.


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