Imager's Intrigue: The Third Book of the Imager Portfolio
by L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Cover Artist: Donato Giancola
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765325624
Date: 20 July 2010 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Develop or die, that is the basic choice that Rhenn faces. Over five years have passed since the prior novel. During that time he has continued to patrol the third district, married Seliora, and become a father. As war looms and develops, trouble is brewing in LíExcelsis as well. Rhenn must stop saboteurs, save his country, and protect his family all while learning a new role.
An attack in the middle of the night leaves the Collegium leaderless. Rhenn is thus thrust into a role he is not totally prepared to tackle. In addition, he feels an obligation to resolve the spree of seemingly unrelated events. Although he respects tradition, Rhenn is willing to push limits and try new things on a massive scale. He pushes his students as hard as he pushes himself as he sees their development as their only chance to survive and thrive.
Rhennís love for his family drives him as much as his sense of duty. This dual desire pushes him to challenge the powerful, but also to help those less fortunate. His works have improved the third district and earned him the respect of his patrollers, the people, and the gangs. The built trust opens paths to sources that others canít tap. But his very effectiveness is seen as a challenge to others that wish to advance who then must act to reduce him.
As with the other two books in the Imager Portfolio, this story is told in the first person. I donít mind this narrative style, although I know some readers prefer the third person perspective. Consider yourself warned. As the third book set in this universe it is not the best starting point. Read the first two books first otherwise the intricacies of this universe will make the story hard to follow.
There is the possibility for future novels set in this universe. I would enjoy another foray, as long as the quality stays the same. One interaction I look to see more of is how his daughter develops. She has the potential for great power, but it isnít guaranteed. Seeing how they deal with her having or not having power would be of great interest. In addition, I also want to see if Rhenn chooses to show or withhold favoritism to his daughter and how she reacts.
This is one of the few series that effectively blends magic and technology. There is a nearly scientific approach to magic and its uses. This creates a coherent system that readers can follow to logical conclusions. One of the more interesting aspects of the Imager Portfolio is that they are mysteries at their core. There is plenty of action, but the ultimate goal is to find out who is behind all of the foul play.