Imager (Imager Portfolio Series #1)

Imager (Imager Portfolio Series #1)

by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

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The Imager Porfolio is a bestselling and innovative epic fantasy series from L. E. Modesitt, Jr. that RT Book Reviews says “shines with engrossing characters, terrific plotting, and realistic world-building.” Begin the journey with Imager.

Rhennthyl, son of a leading wool merchant in L'Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, has his entire life transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager–-one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.

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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765360076
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 02/02/2010
Series: Imager Portfolio Series , #1
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 499
Sales rank: 190,928
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

L. E. MODESITT, JR. is the bestselling author of more than seventy novels encompassing two science fiction series, the Ghost Books and the Ecolitan Matter, and four fantasy series, the Imager Portfolio, the Saga of Recluce, the Spellsong Cycle and the Corean Chronicles. He lives in Cedar City, Utah.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

743 A.L.

Commerce weighs value, yet such weight is but an image, and, as such, is an illusion.

The bell announcing dinner rang twice, just twice, and no more, for it never did. Rousel leapt up from his table desk in the sitting room that adjoined our bedchambers, disarraying the stack of papers that represented a composition doubtless due in the morning. "I'm starved."

"You're not. You're merely hungry," I pointed out, carefully placing a paperweight over the work on my table desk. " 'Starved' means great physical deprivation and lack of nourishment. We don't suffer either."

"I feel starved. Stop being such a pedant, Rhenn." The heels of his shoes clattered on the back stairs leading down to the pantry off the dining chamber.

Two weeks ago, Rousel couldn't even have pronounced "pedant," but he'd heard Master Sesiphus use it, and now he applied it to me as often as he could. Younger brothers were worse than vermin, because one could squash vermin and then bathe, something one could not do with younger brothers. With some fortune, since Father would really have preferred that I follow him as a factor but had acknowledged that I had little interest, I'd be out of the house before Culthyn was old enough to leave the nursery and eat with us. As for Khethila, she was almost old enough, but she was quiet and thoughtful. She liked it when I read to her, even things like my history assignments about people like Rex Regis or Rex Defou. Rousel had never liked my reading to him, but then, he'd never much cared for anything I did.

By the time I reached the dining chamber, Father was walking through the archway from the parlor where he always had a single goblet of red wine—usually Dhuensa—before dinner. Mother was standing behind the chair at the other end of the oval table. I slipped behind my chair, on Father's right. Rousel grinned at me, then cleared his face.

"Promptness! That's what I like. A time and a place for everything, and everything in its time and place." Father cleared his throat, then set his near-empty goblet on the table and placed his hands on the back of the armed chair that was his.

"For the grace and warmth from above, for the bounty of the earth below, for all the grace of the world and beyond, for your justice, and for your manifold and great mercies, we offer our thanks and gratitude, both now and evermore, in the spirit of that which cannot be named or imaged."

"In peace and harmony," we all chorused, although I had my doubts about the presence and viability of either, even in L'Excelsis, crown city and capital of Solidar.

Father settled into his chair at the end of the table with a contented sigh, and a glance at Mother. "Thank you, dear. Roast lamb, one of my favorites, and you had Riesela fix it just the way I prefer it."

If Mother had told the cook to fix lamb any other way, we all would have been treated to a long lecture on the glories of crisped roast lamb and the inadequacies of other preparations.

After pouring a heavier red wine into his goblet and then into Mother's, Father placed the carafe before me. I took about a third of a goblet, because that was what he'd declared as appropriate for me, and poured a quarter for Rousel.

When Father finished carving and serving, Mother passed the rice casserole and the pickled beets. I took as little as I could of the beets.

"How was your day, dear?" asked Mother.

"Oh . . . the same as any other, I suppose. The Phlanysh wool is softer than last year, and that means that Wurys will complain. Last year he said it was too stringy and tough, and that he'd have to interweave with the Norinygan . . . and the finished Extelan gray is too light . . . But then he's half Pharsi, and they quibble about everything."

Mother nodded. "They're different. They work hard. You can't complain about that, but they're not our type."

"No, they're not, but he does pay in gold, and that means I have to listen."

I managed to choke down the beets while Father offered another discourse on wool and the patterned weaving looms, and the shortcomings of those from a Pharsi background. I wasn't about to mention that the prettiest and brightest girl at the grammaire was Remaya, and she was Pharsi.

Abruptly, he looked at me. "You don't seem terribly interested in what feeds you, Rhennthyl."

"Sir . . . I was listening closely. You were pointing out that, while the pattern blocks used by the new weaving machinery produced a tighter thread weave, the women loom tenders have gotten more careless and that means that spoilage is up, which increases costs—"

"Enough. I know you listen, but I have great doubts that you care, or even appreciate what brings in the golds for this house hold. At times, I wonder if you don't listen to the secret whispers of the Namer."

"Chenkyr . . ." cautioned Mother.

Father sighed as only he could sigh. "Enough of that. What did you learn of interest at grammaire today?"

It wasn't so much what I'd learned as what I'd been thinking about. "Father . . . lead is heavier than copper or silver. It's even heavier than gold, but it's cheaper. I thought you said that we used copper, silver, and gold for coins because they were heavier and harder for evil imagers to counterfeit."

"That's what I mean, Rhennthyl." He sighed even more loudly. "You ask a question like that, but when I ask you to help in the counting house, you can't be bothered to work out the cost of an extra tariff of a copper . . . or work out the costs for guards on a summer consignment of bolts of Acoman prime wool to Nacliano. It isn't as though you had no head for figures, but you do not care to be accurate if something doesn't interest you. What metals the Council uses for coins matters little if one has no coins to count. No matter how much a man likes his work, there will be parts of it that are less pleasing—or even displeasing. You seem to think that everything should be pleasing or interesting. Life doesn't oblige us in that fashion."

"Don't be that hard on the boy, Chenkyr." Mother's voice was patient.

"Not everyone is meant to be a factor."

"His willfulness makes an ob look flexible, Maelyna."

"Even the obdurates have their place."

I couldn't help thinking I'd rather be an obdurate than a mal. Most people were malleables of one sort or another, changing their views or opinions whenever someone roared at them, like Father.

"Exactly!" exclaimed Father. "As servants to imagers and little else. I don't want one of my sons a lackey because he won't think about anything except what interests or pleases him. The world isn't a kind place for inflexible stubbornness and unthinking questioning."

"How can a question be unthinking?" I wanted to know. "You have to think even to ask one."

My father's sigh was more like a roar. Then he glared at me. "When you ask a question to which you would already know the answer if you stopped to think, or when you ask a question to which no one knows the answer. In both cases, you're wasting your time and someone else's."

"But how do I know when no one knows the answer if I don't ask the question?"

"Rhennthyl! There you go again. Do you want to eat cold rice in the kitchen?"

"No, sir."

"Rousel," said Father, pointedly avoiding looking in my direction, "how are you coming with your calculations and figures?"

"Master Sesiphus says that I have a good head for figures. My last two examinations have been perfect."

Of course they had been. What was so hard about adding up columns of numbers that never changed? Or dividing them, or multiplying them? Rousel was more than a little careless about numbers and anything else when no one was looking or checking on him.

I cut several more thin morsels of the lamb. It was good, especially the edge of the meat where the fat and seasonings were all crisped together. The wine wasn't bad, either, but it was hard to sit there and listen to Father draw out Rousel.

Excerpted from Imager by L. E. MODESITT, JR.

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

Published in March 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.

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From the Publisher

"William Dufris is an engaging storyteller who gets inside his protagonist. He follows the ups and downs of the plot as if the events were happening to him." —-AudioFile

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Imager (Imager Portfolio Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
orencogirl More than 1 year ago
Imager is an imaginative journey to a world not to different then parts of our world one hundred fifty years ago, but with some very subtle differences and one very big difference. This world has a small number of people who can image or make objects or products through their thoughts. With this ability come challenges and risks as the rest of society finds them both useful and threatening. The main character, Renn, finds himself unexpectedly in this world of imagers and finds that nothing well ever be the same again for him as his new found abilities destroy old relationships, bring threats to his life and even romance. This is a book for people who appreciate the development of the main characters, who want to understand both the main structure and the minutia of this new society and enjoy a good mystery with action! I had not read any other works by this author, but after reading this book am now marching down the path of reading all his prior works.
PigWit More than 1 year ago
This first book in the Imager Portfolio series prompted me to read more L. E. Modesitt Jr books, having been uninterested in his previous works until I checked this out on a whim. I found the main character, Rhennthyl, to be interestingly direct for a person who was pursuing a career in painting people, preferably to their advantage. He is a singularly unaffected character that is mildly surprised when people are shady or backhanded, and yet he expects to be surprised. If that makes any sense. The writing is clear, concise, and does not do any of the "let me tell you about this world" descriptions that I find so vexing. Instead, the construction of the world is laid out in Rhenn's revelations of how the rest world works, having previously been more interested in his smaller world of portraiture and his family's manufacturing business. Also enjoyable are the ideas and philosophies of the world given in speeches by the religious speakers and Rhenn's teachers. It is enjoyable reading about Rhenn moving from a thinker, to a thinker that must act rather than observe, and the characters around him are neither overblown nor caricatures. I also enjoyed reading about the food in the book, described briefly at each meal, but that is because I love food. It made me hungry, but I do not expect that to happen to everyone. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book for an unaffected character who lives in an interesting world in an interesting position.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read tons of science fiction and fantasy book but this is the first book by this author that I have read. I was excited to read one of his books because I have heard such great things. I thought the imager idea was interesting and that this was sure to be a good read. However, this book was dull. The characters were uninteresting and often inconsistent in their personalities (i.e., inflexible snob then accepting of anything/one). I thought it read more like an author's first book than that from a seasoned writer. Some things were over explained, again and again, and some things not explained at all. Mostly, I felt disappointed because the imager idea sounds so cool, there is so much to work with there and this story really went no where. If you are not cheering on the hero there is a problem. I had a difficult time making it to the end of it and really wish I had closed the book much sooner.
HammerRI More than 1 year ago
Even though the story starts slowly, if you have the patience to see it through the story becomes very interesting. I found myself sympathizing with the main character whose parents didn't agree with his choice of profession, portrait painting, and who was unable to find a patron after he unwittingly killed his master, because of the jealousy and fear of the guild masters. I am looking forward to the other installments of this series.
harpua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As I read this book, I thought that I really shouldn't like this. It seemed a bit slow, not much action and the action that was in there just seemed thrown in as if the author said "We need some". This is the type of book that typically wouldn't hold my interest.However, this was not the case. Oh yes, the pace was kind of slow, this book really appears to be a setup for later books, but it was one I couldn¿t put down. I¿ve read a lot of complaints on this book that people didn¿t enjoy a lot of the political background and yes there are pages of that. For some reason, for me, it was enjoyable. It wasn¿t a tough read, not so dense that it was work to grasp it all. Oh sure, Modesitt renamed the days (I¿m still not sure if there are seven days of the week and what day corresponds to Lundi) and some other unneeded embellishments that typically make a book harder for me to enjoy, but this one just worked.I¿m looking forward to getting into the rest of the series and hope that it is as enjoyable as this first one.
bookgirl59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good beggining, pulled me right in and kept me until the end where I felt that it slumped a little. I am wanting to read the 2nd book anyway in hopes that it picks up again. A good clean read. Romance but no smut. A nice twist on the magical side of things but not all that different from other magic type books I have read.
gimble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been avoiding Modesitt's books for some time, since the first novel I picked up of his. I found it to be tedious, so I decided right there and then to not read his work. The long avoidance of Modesitt has come to an end, I found the Imager series to be so unlike the original novel i tried so long ago. I am not sure if his style has changed or if the subject mattter is more to my taste, but I found this work to be captivating to the end.
bethanie336 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
New series by Modesitt are always worth a look. Believable world and interesting characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recommend to all that like good plots
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Bob_P More than 1 year ago
This is a can't put down book! The twists and turns of the plot were great and the story was one that takes you to other places.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoy the author's writing style and the development of the protagonist and his education was very intriguing. These days, for the most part, I find myself reading and re-reading old favorites when it comes to novels or series, because I can't seem to find any new ones that hold my interest for long. But I think this series stands a chance to be added to that list of favorites to read again and again. There is only one thing, I would say, that could've been done better; the climax could have been more exciting. Apart from that, it was a very interesting book and I look forward to the sequels.
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budman461 More than 1 year ago
Another Modesitt classic!
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