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Imager's Challenge (Imager Portfolio Series #2)
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Imager's Challenge (Imager Portfolio Series #2)

4.6 79
by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

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“Modesitt’s work shines with engrossing characters, terrific plotting, and realistic world-building.” RT Book Reviews

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


“Modesitt’s work shines with engrossing characters, terrific plotting, and realistic world-building.” RT Book Reviews

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: That no one wants him there, and that someone wants him dead.

The Imager Portfolio is a magical world from the bestselling author of the Saga of Recluce. Imagers are the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real. They live separately from the rest of society because of their abilities, which make them both feared and vulnerable. Another innovative and enchanting series, it spans centuries and millennia in the refreshing Modesitt fashion that will delight his fans and new readers alike.

The Imager Portfolio
#1 Imager / #2 Imager’s Challenge / #3 Imager’s Intrigue / #4 Scholar / #5 Princeps / #6 Imager’s Battalion / #7 Antiagon Fire / #8 Rex Regis / #9 Madness in Solidar / #10 Treachery’s Tools / #11 Assassin’s Price (forthcoming)

Other series by this author:
The Saga of Recluce
The Corean Chronicles
The Spellsong Cycle
The Ghost Books
The Ecolitan Matter

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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

“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 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

Publishers Weekly
In this second installment of Modesitt's serpentine political fantasy series (following 2008's Imager), the imager Rhennthyl has been made a Maitre D'Aspect and Liaison to the Civic Patrol of L'Excelsis. As a covert security operative, Rhennthyl must ferret out corruption. He expects guidance from the Collegium, but the more involved he becomes in the patrol, the more the masters distance themselves. When Rhennthyl makes enemies of one of the high holder families, the Collegium's refusal to become involved leaves him no options but to take matters into his own hands. Though the story drags occasionally as Rhennthyl ponders every aspect of his predicament and the Masters give constant professorial lectures, Modesitt's steady prose guides Rhennthyl and the reader through the hierarchical foot-dragging and feudal power-mongering.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Soon after foiling a plot against the city of L'Excelsis, young imager Rhenn receives his assignment as imager liaison to the city's Civic Patrol. Given the worst part of the city for his beat, Rhenn must follow the strict rules of his Collegium while protecting himself from one of the city's High Holders. Modesitt excels in creating meticulously detailed worlds populated with complex, believable characters. As in his popular "Recluce" novels, magic in Modesitt's newest series, which began with Imager, is never taken lightly and has as many restrictions as it has advantages. VERDICT One of the genre's most accomplished detailers of the social and political complexities of wielding power, Modesitt enjoys a following that appreciates his verisimilitude, versatility, and storytelling talent.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Imager Portfolio Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

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Read an Excerpt


On Vendrei, the twentieth of Erntyn, just before the bells rang out the seventh glass of the morning, I hurried across the quadrangle of the Collegium to the administration building to meet with Master Dichartyn—imager Maitre D'Esprit, the director of all security operations for the imagers of Solidar, the second-most senior imager of the Collegium Imago, and my immediate superior. The faint mist that had hovered above the grass earlier had lifted, and the morning was cooler than usual, perhaps foreshadowing the end of harvest and the coming chill of fall. Both moons were high in the morning sky, with Artiema close to full and Erion waning, although they were easy to miss in the white sunlight angling over L'Excelsis, sunlight that tended to turn the granite buildings of Imagisle a whitish gray.

As I reached the open door to Master Dichartyn's firstfloor study, the first bell rang out from the tower of Anomen d'Imagisle.

“Come in, Rhennthyl.”

I entered the small room with its single desk and bookcase, and but two chairs. Master Dichartyn stood beside the narrow window with its louvered leaded glass panes cranked full open. He turned and nodded for me to close the door. His dark brown hair was shot with gray, more than even a few months before, it seemed to me, but the circles under his eyes did not seem quite so dark, and his narrow face was not quite so haggard. A faint smile rested on his lips.

I closed the door, but did not sit.

“How are you feeling, Rhenn?”

“Most of the soreness in my ribs is gone, and Master Draffyd feels that I'm ready. He did suggest that I wear the rib brace for another two weeks as a precautionary measure.”

“Given your … tendencies, that's doubtless wise.” He gestured toward the writing desk, on which rested a silver pin—the four-pointed star of the Collegium, encircled by a thin band of silver. “You've seen those, haven't you?”

“Only on Master Poincaryt, sir. I wondered if he wore it because he was the head of the Collegium.”

Master Dichartyn shook his head. “You know we don't wear images of rank … not precisely. The pin merely signifies that you are a master imager, but not what class of master. We've found that it reduces misunderstandings for those imagers who have to work outside the Collegium. You wouldn't be wearing it except for your assignment as Collegium liaison to the Civic Patrol of L'Excelsis.” He paused. “Go on. Put it on.”

I picked up the pin and fastened it onto my gray waistcoat— the same cut and style as worn by all imagers—at the same spot where Master Poincaryt had worn his, just below the point of the left collar of my pale gray shirt.

“Good. That's where it belongs. Now … take it off. You only wear it while you're away from the Collegium and on duty with the Patrol—or going to or returning from such duty.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You'll report to Commander Artois at eighth glass on Lundi. After that, I imagine you'll have to be there at seventh glass. Do you know where the Patrol headquarters are?”

“They're a block or so up Fedre from East River Road, aren't they?”

“That's right. Now …” Master Dichartyn fingered his clean-shaven chin, not that any imager was bearded, as he often did when he was considering how to word something precisely. “Commander Artois is a solid, sometimes brilliant man. He doesn't like the Collegium, but he does like imagers like you—too brave for your own good. He knows that you've taken out the Ferran and three other assassins.”

Master Dichartyn smiled wryly. “He also doesn't like facts being kept from him, and he's not terribly fond of surmises or other ideas that aren't backed with solid evidence. This could present a certain problem for you.”

I could see that, because I often felt how things might go long before I could prove it. While I was usually right, I certainly wasn't infallible, and that could prove difficult.

“Oh … you might be interested to know that while you were recovering, the First Minister of Ferrum recalled their delegation to Ferrial for consultations and a proper period of mourning for the death of Envoy Vhillar.”

“Did Master Poincaryt have to suggest anything?” I wanted to know if the head of the Collegium had been required to use the threat of revealing that Vhillar had been a renegade imager.

“Apparently not.” There was a glint in Master Dichartyn's eyes before he added, “The letter of sympathy for the unfortunate accident did mention that Master Poincaryt also sent his regrets for the loss of such an able envoy with talents that were far beyond his portfolio. That was sufficient, it appears.”

I nodded.

“From time to time, you will continue to meet with Maitre Dyana, Rhennthyl. Your skills in indirection may be adequate for the civic patrollers, but they leave something to be desired for someone who will need to deal with High Holders in the future.”

That was a veiled reminder and reprimand all in one. “Yes, sir.”

“Now … so far as your new duties go … you've studied the procedures manual of the Civic Patrol closely, but remember that events on the street seldom accommodate themselves to written procedures. I'm certain that you've considered this, but wherever possible, let the patrollers have the credit for what happens. If matters go badly, and it is your fault, take the blame. Take all of it. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” What that meant was that matters had better not go badly where I was involved.

“Do you have any questions?”

“No, sir.” I didn't know enough about my new duties to have questions, and as in so many events of the past year, I had the feeling that by the time I knew enough to ask questions, it would be too late.

“Unless you run into extreme difficulties, I'll see you here next Jeudi evening at half past five.”

“Next Jeudi at half past five.”

He nodded, and I inclined my head in return, then opened the door to the small study, a chamber most modest for the second-most powerful imager in Solidar, and perhaps in the entire world of Terahnar.

As I walked across the quadrangle to return to my quarters and to continue my studies of the procedures manual of the Civic Patrol, I couldn't help but wonder over the circumstances that had brought me from a journeyman portraiturist to an imager Maitre D'Aspect. While I certainly hadn't planned on being an imager, I knew that being an imager was far more palatable to my father than being an artist had been. As an imager, even as a low-level master, I had status, even a hint of power, and that was something my father the wool factor could appreciate, and now that I had a beautiful and acceptable young woman in Seliora interested in me, my mother was hopeful that, despite her Pharsi background, a marriage would be in the offing.

There were a few problems with being an imager that they did tend to gloss over, such as my having been wounded twice in the past year, and others that I hadn't mentioned in any detail to them, such as my unresolved difficulties with High Holder Ryel, who was absolutely certain, sooner or later, to try to destroy me in some fashion or another, or the fact that Seliora's family, while certainly wealthy, still possessed certain connections that were highly useful, but not necessarily totally legal.

Excerpted from Imager's Challenge by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Copyright © 2009 by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Published in 2009 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.


Meet 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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Imager's Challenge (Imager Portfolio Series #2) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
Tumblerhaha More than 1 year ago
This second book of the series on Imager certainly did not disappoint me. Compare to the first, I find the main characters development satisfying though a bit too perfect. I do commend Modesitt, Jr. his skill in creating a realistic world and realistic conflicts that place the main characters in situations where they come to depend on one another. I really enjoy the writing style. Modesitt does really good job in decribing scenes and feeling of the characters.
SheilaCE More than 1 year ago
Though he seemed destined to become a master artisan, Rhennthyl's rare ability to visualize objects and cause them to materialize has altered his life's course completely. Rhenn is an imager, one of the select few on Terahnar, and this is his story. After recovering from injuries inflicted during his foiling of a plot masterminded by the Ferran envoy, Rhenn is appointed as the imager liaison to the Civic Patrol of L'Excelsis, but this "promotion" is far from glorious, and, owing to the displeasure of the Commander of the Civic Patrol at having a liaison from the Collegium, it leaves him on patrol in the streets of the city's worst district. What is worse is that Rhenn has made powerful enemies since realizing his ability as an imager, and now one of the High Holders intends to destroy Rhenn and his entire family. His only hope is in alliances with the family of the woman whom he cherishes. Their success as merchants and underworld connections may be the only thing that can help Rhenn win against those who would destroy him and all that he holds dear, but will this be enough, and can Rhenn find a way of compromising the intentions of his foes without making more enemies? What will it take to protect the ones he loves? Find out in the next installment of the Imager Portfolio, Imager's Challenge. L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is an accomplished author of more than forty science fiction novels. Imager's Challenge is the second book in what he has dubbed the Imager Portfolio. This engaging and developed fantasy series is set in L'Excelsis, the capital city of the most powerful nation on Terahnar, a world of Modesitt's ingenious contrivance where magic rules in secret. Modesitt has been treating readers to the brilliance of his magical realms in various science fiction series since the early 1970s. The Imager series bears testament to his ability as a writer to captivate readers with imaginative and exciting tales that unfold on faraway worlds, and, in his writing, Modesitt achieves a level of genuine character development that is not typical of other works in the science fiction genre. According to the Library Journal, "the author's skill in portraying the humanity of characters who possess the power to destroy others with a thought adds a level of verisimilitude and immediacy rarely found in grand-scale fantasy." If you are a reader of science fiction and fantasy, then the likelihood that you are no stranger to the work of Modesitt seems great. Loyal fans of Modesitt will greatly enjoy this newest novel in his latest fantasy series, but if you are an avid science fiction reader and yet your familiarity with Modesitt's work is nonexistant, it is likely that you will still quickly learn to appreciate the potency of his science fiction. The Imagers Portfolio and its latest installment, Imager's Challenge, comes highly recommended for fantasy and science fiction readers everywhere.
LurchCT More than 1 year ago
For those who are looking for an interesting, deeply involved story that will keep you up nights until you have read them all. Second, in the series, the story of a portraiturist turned imager who seems to be always a couple of steps ahead of his peers yet seemingly behind the 8-ball when trying to keep up with current events. War comes bringing extreme danger and opportunity if only our anti-hero can figure out what is happening. Now, I need to buy the third book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rhenn gets fleshed out as a character who deals with complex situations with little guidance or support.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always is a good reading
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Good read. Redundant as all hell in some aspects however. Idont care who had which wine with their overly detailed meal every other page, nor who answered the Nordeste door.
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