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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)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.