The White Order (Recluce Series #8)

( 16 )

Overview

L.E. Modesitt's bestselling fantasy novels set in the world of Recluce are among the most popular in contemporary fantasy. Rich in detail, Modesitt's Recluce books are a feast of wonderous marvels. Booklist notes, "Modesitt's elaborate and intelligent working out of a system of magic and a system of technology parallel to it is becoming more the lifeblood of the Recluce books with every new volume. . . his saga continues to gain in popularity."

The White Order is the story of ...

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The White Order (Recluce Series #8)

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Overview

L.E. Modesitt's bestselling fantasy novels set in the world of Recluce are among the most popular in contemporary fantasy. Rich in detail, Modesitt's Recluce books are a feast of wonderous marvels. Booklist notes, "Modesitt's elaborate and intelligent working out of a system of magic and a system of technology parallel to it is becoming more the lifeblood of the Recluce books with every new volume. . . his saga continues to gain in popularity."

The White Order is the story of Cerryl, a boy orphaned when the powerful white mages killed his father to protect their control of the world's magic. Cerryl, raised by his aunt and uncle, is a curious boy, attracted to mirrors and books, though he is unable to read. When he is old enough, Cerryl is apprenticed to the local miller. The miller's daughter teaches Cerryl to read his father's books, and it seems that the talent for magic has been passed from father to son. When Cerryl witnesses a white mage destroy a renegade magician, the miller realizes the boy will not be safe there, so Cerryl must be sent to the city of Fairhaven to find his destiny.

Thus Modesitt takes one of the most enduring and mythic themes in fantasy and makes it his own. The White Order is a powerful new addition to the Recluce saga, guaranteed to add many new readers to Modesitt's devoted following.

The White Order is the eighth book in the saga of Recluce.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Return to this disciplined and uncompromising world of fantasy. You will not be disappointed."—Realms of Fantasy

"Another entry in Modesitt's popular Recluce series, one that upholds the saga's reputation for intelligence and increasing originality....This volume in the series stands unusually well on its own as a classic and competent coming-of-age story."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The prolific and popular fantasy author adds to his Recluce series (The Chaos Balance, etc.), with this entry tracing the rise of an orphan, Cerryl, to powerful magicianship. That's a venerable concept, but Modesitt keeps it fresh with crisp characters and a consistent, well-detailed setting. The magical system employed here features white chaos magic, somehow connected to the colors of light, and the magic of order, which is black and associated with cold iron. The background is medieval Europeanlargely preliterate, with guilds and apprenticeshipsbut Modesitt uses historical details to create a vivid, realistic culture instead of a stereotyped fantasy world. Cerryl's apprenticeships in a wood mill and, later, to a scrivener lend depth to his ensuing, more magical, adventures. Like many fantasy heroes, Cerryl is virtuous but has unusual magical potential, leading to opportunities but also to problems, especially from jealous apprentices or mages of the White Order. The theme of power, including its uses and misuses, and its various forms, magical, political and sexual, runs throughout the book. As the novel widens its focus from Cerryl's education to his involvement with war, intrigue and assassination, it becomes more colorful but less original. Still, Modesitt provides the requisite adventure and wizardry, plus people and places that are as true as they are magical. Author tour. (June)
VOYA - Marsha Valance
In The White Order, Modesitt makes a totally new departure in his ongoing Saga of the Recluce, where Order and Chaos continually struggle for dominance. This time the story centers on the white magicians, descendants of refugees stranded on this world centuries ago after a starship crash. The white magicians used ordered energies to terraform the world by force, so as to provide a power source from the resulting imbalance for the use of their children's children. Cerryl, orphaned by the white magicians who executed his Talented father, is recruited as a mage candidate because of his own potential for understanding the forces of order. A survivor, Cerryl avoids the jealous traps set by other white magicians, determined both to survive and protect others from injustice. As in previous books in the Recluce series, Modesitt skillfully combines credible characters, an exceptionally well-realized alien world, plenty of action, and as usual, philosophical discussions of power and the consequences of its misuse, into the fast-moving plot. By focusing for the first time on a protagonist of Order, he deepens our understanding of both Recluce's underlying magical structure and of the almost feudal relationship between the White Order and the inhabitants of the lands they control. The reader learns along with Cerryl, who is studying the background of his own society in the Order's school. The White Order strengthens the reader's understanding of Recluce through the presentation of the Order's world view, as in all the previous volumes the protagonists were from the side of Chaos. In the character of Cerryl, Modesitt gives the reader a hero who must conform to survive, but does so without surrendering his own individual values. As always, Modesitt's newest chapter in the Recluce saga is a worthwhile addition to any YA collection. [Please note: when reading this book for review I noticed that the endpaper map did not agree with the geography of the novel. I contacted Tor and learned that due to an error, The White Order received the endpaper map for The Spellsong War (Tor, 1998/reviewed in this issue) which is not set in Recluce. Anyone who purchases The White Order is entitled to a free poster map of Recluce from Tor. Send your request to: Tor Books, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, (212) 388-0100, http://www.tor.com.]. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Broad general YA appeal, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
As an apprentice scrivener, Cerryl discovers his inherent talent for chaos magic, inherited from his father, a fugitive white mage. Taken to study with the mages of the White Order of Fairhaven, Cerryl learns to harness magic from his teachersone of whom is bent on his destruction. Set in the same time period as The Magic Engineer (LJ 3/15/94), Modesitt's ninth novel in his popular "Recluce" series continues the epic history of a world where chaos and order vie for ultimate control. The author's low-key approach to high fantasy results in an intimate, thoughtful tale that belongs in most fantasy collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/98.]
Kirkus Reviews
Another episodeþthe eighth so farþin Modesitt's continuing battle between White (Chaos) magic and Dark (Order) magic (most recently, The Chaos Balance, 1997). Young orphan Cerryl discovers that he has a talent for glimpsing distant places and people in odd fragments of mirror; and in a mostly illiterate society, he has a hunger to learn how to read. Apprenticed to a kindly miller, whose daughter teaches him his letters, young Cerryl learns the truth about his magic-touched father, and resolves someday to travel to the city Fairhaven, stronghold of the most powerful Chaos magicians, and there discover his destiny. A quality series that's settled into a pleasantly understated, modestly involving groove.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812541717
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Series: Recluce Series , #8
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 460,244
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.19 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

I

The brown-haired child clung to the long shadow cast by the ancient house as he edged toward the south end of the tailings pile. His eyes led him toward the barely shimmering oblong of light reflected from somewhere in the tailings against the rough planks of the doorless shed, a shed that had once held mining tools. His bare feet made no sound as he slipped from the shade into the late afternoon sunlight and over the rocky ground to the gray and reddish brown heap of stone and slag.

After he went to one knee, his fingers brushed away the thin coating of dust that had half-concealed the fragment of mirror, perhaps half the size of his palm. He teased it out of the dirt and laid it flat on half of a broken yellow brick. He turned his head toward the house, but the door was closed and the front stoop vacant. He glanced past the next closest tailings pile to the south, checking the other piles of earth and stone and slag, and the abandoned mineheads, but the only movement was that of scattered summer-browned grass waving in the hot afternoon breeze.

A lizard scuttled from where he had lifted the broken brick. The boy tensed until he saw the large brown stripe down its tan back. Then he smiled, watching as the lizard vanished behind a fist-sized chunk of slag. His eyes went back to the lizard hole, but no other lizards emerged.

The hot wind ruffled his clean but armless and ragged shirt as he squatted on the lower slope of the waste pile and gazed intently at the fragment of mirror. His pale gray eyes narrowed. The oblong of light cast against the toolshed winked out. Silver mists swirled across the glass, thickening into nearly a misty white. A faint smile crossed his lips, vanishing as he tightened them, concentrating on the irregular mirror.

"Cerryl! Stay away from that glass!" A heavy set woman, broom in hand, appeared on the clay-and-rock stoop of the house behind the boy.

Cerryl did not move, intent as he was on the image forming in the glass. His mouth formed a silent O, and his eyes widened at the sparkling white tower looming over a green park.

Abruptly, at the sound of heavy steps crunching across the ground, he looked up, his eyes flicking to the squat figure in clean but mottled gray trousers and tunic.

"How you found that…suppose it doesn't matter." The woman's big hand seized his shoulder, and she lifted him to his feet and twisted him away from the shard of mirror. Her booted right foot came down on the glass with a crunch. All that remained of the window that had shown Cerryl an impossibly beautiful white stone tower was a heap of sparkling dust. His eyes burned with unshed tears.

"Glasses, mirrors, they be tools of chaos and evil! Have I not told you that, boy?" Nall's free hand brushed a wisp of iron gray hair off her forehead, but her gaze remained fixed on him.

Cerryl's thin shoulders drooped, but his gray eyes met hers, looking up to a woman more than half-again as tall as he was, and far burlier than even most of the sheepmen and peasants around Hrisbarg. "It was only a little shard, Aunt Nall."

"A little shard. Like saying a little night lizard—one bite, one shard—that's enough to kill you, boy." Nall took a deep breath, then another. "How many times been that I told you to stay away from mirrors and shiny things?"

"Enough," Cerryl admitted in a low voice, his eyes still meeting his aunt's.

"You be the death of us yet."

"I wanted to help," Cerryl said. "They find things with the shimmer glasses. You told me that Da said so."

"Always yer da." Nall shook her head. "Poor I may be, child, but poor be not evil, and evil be the shimmer glasses. Even you know where that took yer da." She glanced toward the door of the house, swinging half-open in the light wind. "You come with me 'fore the soup boils over."

"Yes, Aunt Nall." Cerryl's voice was polite, level, neither apologetic nor begging.

"Child…" Nall sighed again. "Back to the house."

Cerryl walked across the dry and dusty ground, a pace to her left and a pace back. He glanced toward another tailing pile, farther eastward. If there had been a mirror in one pile, what about the others?

"No lagging, child."

Cerryl followed Nall to the stoop, where she reclaimed the broom. She gestured with it, as if to sweep him into the house. Cerryl stepped inside. At the end of the main room of the two-room house was the hearth, with the cook table to the right, the narrow trestle table with its two short benches before the hearth, and a weathered gold oak cabinet with cracked drawer fronts to the left.

"Not even enough sense to fool around where no one could see you," snapped the woman, closing the door behind the boy. "Your poor mother, no wonder she died young. Not a scrap of sense in you or in your worthless father. A white mage, he was going to be." Nall shook her head sadly. "Poor fool…thinking he was that them mighty types in Fairhaven would welcome him. Him a peasant boy from Howlett… "

Cerryl lowered his eyes to the spotless stone floor.

"How did you spy that glass?"

"I saw its reflection on the side of the toolshed. I had to look. I just looked."

"Aye, and that was because yer aunt was there afore you could do more, I'd wager, young fellow."

Cerryl remained silent.

"You men, even young. Syodor…even he…" Nall broke off the words abruptly and looked at Cerryl. "No sense in that. What be done be done." She pointed to the stool by her kitchen table. "Well, leastwise you can help. You're careful enough with the roots."

Cerryl climbed onto the stool and looked at the handful of bedraggled golden turnips. His eyes flicked to the open shutters of the single window and the other tailing piles, then back to the turnips.

Copyright © 1998 by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2012

    Excellent

    A very good book and wonderful series. Dont pass it up and start at book 1.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Book is not well produced

    Printing of several pages is very faint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    another great Momesitt book

    This was my second Modesitt book and I find I am looking for more. I would recommend it to anyone looking for great vitality. He brings you right into the book with the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2004

    The Best of the Series

    'The White Order' is, in my opinion, the best of the Recluce Saga. Modesitt does something extraordinary by turning a story around and looking at it from the other side, blurring the lines between black and white. It does this quite successfully, too, showing that the whites of Cerryl's time were not all corrupted, and many of them sought only to improve the lives that they could. It's nothing that makes your jaw drop, but I would strongly reccomend this to anyone who liked any of the previous Recluce books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2001

    A perspective change

    A good addition to the series, it follows the same pattern of watching a young wizard grow into the world around him, though this time it is a White. It takes place at the same time as the Magic Engineer, so events are parallel and you get to see events from the Whites point of view, as well as opinions on past events.

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