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Imager's Intrigue: The Third Book of the Imager Portfolio Hardcover – Jul 20 2010

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"Please retry" First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 20 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765325624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765325624
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #457,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for the Imager Portfolio:

“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

“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

“Meticulous world-building.… The world is fascinating, and the Imagers themselves are extraordinary."
Rt Book Reviews 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 on (beta) 97 reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Solid, occasionally tedious, typical Modesitt July 22 2010
By Jay C. Oyster - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I actually like reading L.E. Modesitt, but he can be somewhat infuriating at times. Imager's Intrigue, the third book in his Imager's trilogy, is typical. This, unlike much fantasy fiction is not intended for a 13 year old audience. At times I get the feeling that he's only concerned about the plot as a secondary outcome. Honestly, I suspect that he uses these novels as a way to role-play some of his ideas about economics and political theory. I think perhaps the fact that he fits his fantastical and otherworldly elements into such a mundane setting is what makes the story interesting for an adult. As always, the magic available to the characters has rules, very real limits, and often difficult consequences.

If you've read the first two books, you do want to find out what happens to the protagonist, Rhennthyl, and his wife Seliora. They are interesting, consistent characters, if they do suffer sometimes at the hands of Modesitt's style. As usual, the author keeps a hard remove from his character's emotions. He describes their actions and some of their thoughts, but he only lets us infer their motives and emotions. In some ways, this is what makes this a more adult version of the genre. It isn't an emotional rollercoaster, it is a story about events. It reads almost as a historical document.

The action is evenly paced, with lots of political machinations and subplots, although if I read one more paragraph about the theory and history of water rights, you can just go ahead and shoot me. On the other hand, the resolution of the story is satisfying and very logical. We end up going along with Rhenn's journey, I suppose in the same way one would go along for a ride-along in the day-by-day events in the life of, say, Harry Truman. (I mention Truman not because Rhenn is anything like him, but because Rhenn faces a similar type of historical situation and similar types of choices.)

Still, I know this review sounds as if I hated the book, but I did not. For some reason, I find Modesitt's fantasy storytelling compelling. I have a hard time putting his books down once I start them, even on those occasions when the action flags, and such was the case with Imager's Intrigue; I didn't put it down until I was done. I suppose that's the ultimate gauge for such a book.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Aptly titled, which might put off some July 22 2010
By D. Josephs - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the interest of full disclosure, the reader should know that while I don't consider myself a Modesitt fan-boy, it's very rare that I don't love his work. So, a 4 of 5 star rating for Imager's Intrigue is, coming from me, a big deal. As I thought about why I wasn't thrilled with this novel, I finally decided on the following:

1. It seemed out of place. True to its title, Imager's Intrigue is all about Rhenn unravelling schemes and machinations, and not so much about Rhenn being a hands-on imager. To be fair, we still get to see Rhenn in action, but it's really not the point of this book. In fact, the largest action sequence in the story doesn't even involve (directly) Rennn. Not to say that a book of intrigue is a bad thing, but it is a significant departure from the rhythm established in the prior two books. I found it jarring, and since it really wasn't what I was looking forward to, a bit disappointing.

2. It felt repetitive. I'm not sure how many times the reader needs to be reminded about the Rhenn's morning calisthenics rituals, or how important it is that imagers sleep in lead-lined rooms or have to read prayers to The Nameless, but in these areas (and others) I felt like Modesitt went a little overboard. I'll give Modesitt the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was trying to convey that the structure of Rhenn's days are routine (wake up, exercise, read reports while taking hack to work...), but enough already.

3. It got a little preachy. Modesitt explores the relative merits of capitalism, free-trade, benevolent monarchies, the military industrial complex and tax law. Oh, and women's rights. Can't forget women's rights. Suffice to say, the reader is left with little doubt as to where the author stands on these issues, and his arguments are a bit ham-handed.

Despite these issues, I still heartily recommend this series, and this book, to friends and strangers. The world is expertly crafted. The (many) characters are nuanced, true to their motives and so well presented that most readers will (continue to) care about what happens to all of the primaries. The overall story arc, while a bit predictable, still has enough surprises that the reader can't take anything for granted. And if a lecture on the impact of land valuation is not something you want to sit through, just skip it. Unlike several books I've read of late where I find myself skipping over large sections of smut and am left with little to call a story, even if you skim through all of the "boring" in Imager's Intrigue you are still left with a lot to enjoy.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Good but not great Oct. 9 2010
By Tracy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Out of all three books in the Imager series, this one was my least favorite. This is not a bad book, it just did not live up to my expectations. First, I was a little disappointed that this book took us five years into the future. I felt a little robbed after going through two books of Rhenn courting Seloria and not getting to read about the wedding and their life as a new married couple. I also felt there could have been a good story about Rhenn's first years as a Captain in the Patrol.
Second, the book seemed overloaded with characters. If they had not had the character list at the beginning of this book, I would have been lost. There were times that I just could not keep straight who was who and what side they were on and if they were a High Holder a Free Holder etc...
Third, there was too much politics and little action. The political intrigue was one thing I liked about the other books, but mainly because it was only part of the story, not the whole story. In this book, politics takes the forefront and it becomes a bit of a bore after a while.
Lastly, the book seemed to move slowly. It took me far longer to read this book than the other two in the series. I did not find that it captivated my interest as much as the other books.

I did not hate the book, it just was not the best in the series. It does tie things up and you are not left hanging in the end. I just think that more could have been done with it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Something broke in this book.. Dec 27 2013
By Shannara - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book should actually be the 13th book of the series for the main character, when compared to the first two books. Mind you, each book is 6 months. Since this book started on the 5th year after the 2nd book ....

We missed TONS of stuff that was promised in the first 2 books, plus this book started out with TONS and TONS of loose ends/plot holes. It is almost as if someone else was ghostwriting for Modesitt.

Where's the wedding proposal, and wedding? Where's the birth of the daughter? What happened when he moved into the couples area? What about those huge problems that he was supposed to have?

Tons of missing content due to the skip ahead of 5 years.

Very, very disappointing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Rhenn's story continues... Aug. 6 2010
By Stefan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Imager's Intrigue, the third novel in L.E. Modesitt's IMAGER PORTFOLIO fantasy series, starts a few years after the events of Imager's Challenge. The young master imager Rhenntyl is now a successful Captain in the Civic Patrol, which makes this new novel initially feel very similar to the previous book in the series. He's also happily married to Seliora and has a 3-year-old daughter, which is a refreshing touch, because how many fantasy heroes are ever shown with a young family like this?

The first third of Imager's Intrigue is extremely exciting and possibly the most enjoyable part of the series so far. By now, Rhenn has become a fascinating, well-rounded character, and his adventures in the city of L'Excelsis, dealing with an increase in drug overdoses due to a suspiciously stronger variety of elveweed, lead up to a stunning mid-novel climax.

After this, the novel slows down considerably as the main intrigue, which again combines local Solidar politics with an international plot, quickly gets very intricate. There's lots of politics in this middle third of the book, and it occasionally feels a bit crowded and confusing when Modesitt Jr. introduces the various players. Many of them have similar-sounding names (thank goodness for the handy character list at the front of the book) and the connections between all those different actors initially aren't always clear. Because of L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s familiar first person p.o.v., reading that part of the novel can be as confusing for the reader as experiencing the events seems to be for Rhenn -- but rest assured that all the different strands are connected and resolved more than satisfactorily in the end.

Another recognizable L.E. Modesitt Jr. feature is the focus on the everyday details of the protagonist's life. Especially in the first part of the novel, the author consistently includes Rhenn's daily routine in each chapter, including the imager group workout in the morning, dropping off his wife and daughter at their place of business, reading the newspaper during the rest of the coach ride to work (which also provides a handy way to keep the reader informed of the international situation), and so on. All of this information is even included when nothing eventful happens, and as a matter of fact, Modesitt Jr. will only rarely write things like "the rest of the week was routine" and instead usually describe that routine in some detail. Even though this may sound a bit dry and even boring, it's strangely enjoyable to read because it genuinely helps the reader's understanding of, and immersion in, the hero's world and mindset.

One of the most interesting aspects of the IMAGER PORTFOLIO series is its setting: Solidar is a country in the middle of its industrial revolution, with new technologies such as steam engines and machine manufacturing gaining ground and changing the power base in an already complex society. Socially, this creates tension between the guilds, landholders, merchants, and owners of manufactories -- and of course the existence of the Collegium Imago makes things even more complicated. Interestingly, the series will now, in typical L.E. Modesitt Jr. fashion, take a step in a different direction: according to the author's website, the next novel, tentatively titled Scholar, is the first book in a trilogy set well before the events of the first 3 Imager novels, in the time before Solidar was unified.

I would have liked to read more about Rhenntyl too, but on the other hand, things are neatly wrapped up by the end of Imager's Intrigue... and knowing L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s skill and experience in showing and connecting different eras of his fantasy worlds, it's hard not to get excited about a few books set in the past of this already fascinating fantasy universe. A brief conversation towards the end of Imager's Intrigue contains a brief mention of historical figures like Rex Regis and Rex Caldor, and Rhenn is actually compared to a "warrior imager champion" called Bilbryn, so my guess is that's where we're heading in Scholar (which is expected for Fall 2011, but first we're getting treated to a standalone SF novel, Empress of Eternity). Count me excited.