The Magic of Recluce (Recluce Series #1)

The Magic of Recluce (Recluce Series #1)

by L. E. Modesitt Jr.


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L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s The Magic of Recluce begins his bestselling fantasy series the Saga of Recluce, which is one of the most popular in contemporary epic fantasy.

Young Lerris yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. In Recluce this means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond. Many do not survive.

Lerris chooses dangergeld.

Lerris will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked, and he must learn to use his powers in an orderly way before his wanderjahr, or fall prey to Chaos.

Saga of Recluce

#1 The Magic of Recluce / #2 The Towers of Sunset / #3 The Magic Engineer / #4 The Order War / #5 The Death of Chaos / #6 Fall of Angels / #7 The Chaos Balance / #8 The White Order / #9 Colors of Chaos / #10 Magi’i of Cyador / #11 Scion of Cyador / #12 Wellspring of Chaos / #13 Ordermaster / #14 Natural Order Mage / #15 Mage-Guard of Hamor / #16 Arms-Commander / #17 Cyador’s Heirs / #18 Heritage of Cyador /#19 The Mongrel Mage / #20 Outcasts of Order / #21 The Mage-Fire War (forthcoming)

Story Collection: Recluce Tales

Other Series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
The Imager Portfolio
The Corean Chronicles
The Spellsong Cycle
The Ghost Books
The Ecolitan Matter

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596063471
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Publication date: 08/28/2011
Series: Recluce Series , #1
Edition description: Signed
Pages: 508
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(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

The Magic of Recluce

By Modesitt, L. E.

Tor Fantasy

Copyright © 1992 Modesitt, L. E.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780812505184

Growing up, I always wondered why everything in Wander-naught seemed so dull. Not that I minded the perfectly baked bread routinely produced by my father or by Aunt Elisabet, and I certainly enjoyed the intricately carved toys and other gifts that Uncle Sardit miraculously presented on my birthday or on the High Holidays.
Perfection, especially for a youngster learning about it from cheerfully sober adults, has a price. Mine was boredom, scarcely novel for a young man in the middle of his second decade. But boredom leads to trouble, even when things are designed to be as perfect as possible. Of course, the perfection and striving for perfection that marked the island, though some would term Recluce a smallish continent, had a reason. A good reason, but one hardly acceptable to a restless young man.
"Perfection, Lerris," my father repeated time after time, "is the price we pay for the good life. Perfection keeps destruction away and provides a safe harbor for the good."
"But why? And how?" Those were always my questions.
Finally, shortly after I finished the minimum formal schooling, in my case at fifteen, my mother entered the discussion.
"Lerris, there are two fundamental forces in life, and in nature. Creation and destruction. Creation is order. We attempt to maintain it--"
"You sound just like Magister Kerwin...'Order is all that keeps chaos atbay...because evil and chaos are so closely linked, one should avoid all but the most necessary acts of destruction...' I know perfection is important. I know it. I know it! And I know it! But why does it have to be so flaming boring?"
She shrugged. "Order is not boring. You are bored with order." She looked at my father. "Since you are bored with us, and since you are not quite ready for the possibility of undertaking the dangergeld, how would you like to spend a year or so learning about woodworking with your Uncle Sardit?"
"Donara?" asked my father, obviously questioning my mother's volunteering of his sister's husband.
"Sardit and I have talked it over, Gunnar. He's willing to take on the challenge."
"Challenge?" I blurted. "What challenge? I can learn anything..."
"For about the first three weeks," my father commented.
"It's not as though you will ever be a master woodworker, Lerris," added mother. "But the general skills and discipline will come in useful when you undertake your dangergeld."
"Me? Why would I ever go tramping off through the wild lands?"
"You will."
"Most assuredly."
But the only thing that was assured then was that I would have the chance to learn how to craft some of the screens, tables, chairs, and cabinets that Uncle Sardit produced. Every once in a while, I knew, someone traveled from Candar or even from one of the trading cities of Austra to purchase one of his screens or inlaid tables.
Until I had a better idea of what I really wanted to do in life, woodworking was better than helping my father keep all the stonework spotless or mixing clays or tending the kiln fire for mother. Although the same traders who visited Sardit also visited my mother's shop, I did not have the touch for pottery. Besides, pots and vases bored me. So did the intricacies of glazes and finishes.
So, within days I had left the neat and rambling timbered and stone house where I had grown up, where I had looked out through the blue-tinted casement window in my bedroom on the herb garden for the last time. Then, I had walked nearly empty-handed the half-day to my uncle's where I was installed in the apprentice's quarters over the carpentry. Uncle Sardit's other apprentice, Koldar, had almost completed his term and was building his own house, with the help of an apprentice stonemason, a woman named Corso. She was bigger than either of us, but she smiled a lot, and she and Koldar made a good pair. He was living in the unfinished house alone, but probably not for long. That meant that until another apprentice came along I had the privacy and the responsibility of the shop in evenings.
Still, it had been a small shock to realize that I would not be living in the guest room at Uncle Sardit's, but in the much smaller and sparsely-furnished apprentice's space. The only furniture was the bed, an old woven rug, and a single hanging lamp. The plain red-oak walls scarcely showed even hairline cracks where the boards joined. The polished floors, also red oak, displayed the same care and crafting.
"That's what you're here for, Lerris. When you learn how, you can make your own tables, benches, chairs, in the evenings. Have to fell your own wood and make arrangements with Halprin at the sawmill for the rough stock to replace what's been seasoned unless you want to try to cut and rough-cure the logs yourself. Don't recommend that."
Sardit as a craft-master was a bit different than as an uncle.
I was going to learn about carpentry, and tools, and how to make screens and cabinets and tables, right? Not exactly. To begin with, it was just like the pottery shop, but worse. I'd heard about clays and consistencies and glazes and firing temperatures for years. I hadn't realized that woodworking was similar--not until Uncle Sardit reminded me forcefully.
"How are you going to use tools properly, boy, if you don't know anything about the woods you're working with?"
With that, he sat me down with his old apprentice notes on woods. Each day, either after work or before we opened the shop in the morning, I had to show him my own hand-copied notes on at least two kinds of trees, the recommended uses, curing times, and general observations on the best uses of the wood. Not only that, but each card went into a file box, the one thing he had let me make, with some advice from him, and I was expected to update the cards if I learned something of value in a day's work on a wood.
"What did you write down on the black oak? Here, let me see." He scratched his head. "You spent all day helping me smooth that piece, and the wood told you nothing?"
Once in a while, I saw Koldar grinning sympathetically from whatever project he was handling. But we didn't talk much because Uncle Sardit kept me busy, and because Koldar mostly worked alone, just checking with Uncle Sardit from time to time.
After a while, Uncle Sardit even nodded once or twice when reviewing my cards. But the frowns and questions were always more frequent. And as soon as I thought I understood something well enough to avoid his questions, he would task me with learning some other obscure discipline of woodworking. If it weren't the trees, it was their bark. If it weren't their bark, it was the recommended cutting times and sawmill techniques. If it weren't one type of wood, it was what types you could match in inlays, what differences in grain widths meant. Some of it made sense, but a lot seemed designed to make woodworking as complicated as possible.
"Complicated? Of course it's complicated. Perfection is always complicated. Do you want your work to last? Or do you want it to fall apart at the first touch of chaos?"
"But we don't even have any white magicians in Recluce."
"We don't? Are you sure about that?"
There wasn't much I could say to that. Practicing magicians, at least the white ones who used chaos, were strongly discouraged by the masters. And what the masters discouraged generally stayed discouraged, although there seemed to be only a few masters for all the towns in Recluce.
I guess my old teacher, Magister Kerwin, actually was a master, although we didn't usually think of magisters as masters. They were both part of the same order. Magisters were those who actually taught.
So...I kept studying woods, trees, and tools, and after nearly a year began to make a few simple items.
"Someone has to make them. And they should be made right. You can do it well enough to keep chaos at bay, and you can select from any of my designs or try one of your own. If you do your own, let's go over it together before you begin cutting."
I did one of my own--simple, but with an octagonal shape.
"Simple, but nice, Lerris. You may actually have a future as a wood crafter."
From breadboards, I went to other simple items--outdoor benches for a café, a set of plain bookcases for the school. Nothing with carving, although I had begun to do carving for my own furniture, and Uncle Sardit had even admitted that the wooden armchair I had built for my quarters would not have been out of place in most homes.
"Most homes. Not quite clean enough, and a few rough spots with the spoke-joining angles, but, on the whole, a credible effort."
That was about the most I ever got in praise from Uncle Sardit.
But I was still bored, even as I continued to learn
Copyright 1991 by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.


Excerpted from The Magic of Recluce by Modesitt, L. E. Copyright © 1992 by Modesitt, L. E.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Magic of Recluce (Recluce Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply put, this is fantasy for people who want to think, not those who just want to escape. Modesitt offers several items that are not common in fantasy, but that work well, including a hero that still has to work to put food on the table, moral dilemmas that feel real, and a magic system that is both unique and still understandable. This is most definitely not 'lite' fantasy, but it is very satisfying when you get to the end.
cak57 More than 1 year ago
An excellent read! I highly recommend this book to any fantasy lover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Modesitt's first book provides us with an introduction into a world not so different from our own. His characters laugh and cry as we all do. The most intriguing portion of the book, though, is the complex system of magic he has developed. For there is Order and Chaos and the Balance in between.
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
There's a handful of publishers that, if I see their seal on something, I'll read it, even if I don't end up liking it, because it normally falls down the path of things I do like. Tor is one of them. So when I spontaneously got the 20th anniversary edition of The Magic of Recluce in the mail from them, I knew I had to eventually sit down and take a peek. I had no idea what it was about, other than that it was high fantasy; I hadn't heard about it from other people, didn't look into it, didn't even look at the star rating on Goodreads. I just sat down and read it. The problem with The Magic of Recluce is that it takes a while to get into. The world itself makes the story interesting enough to keep going -- I wanted to learn more about chaos and Recluse and blackmagic and order -- but Lerris starts the story as unrelatable and unlikable, and none of the side characters stand out enough to really become attached. However, pushing through that section pays off -- Lerris' character grows, his mountain pony is the best part of the story, and the world becomes even more interesting. I like the setup and the way magic works and the surprisingly feminist ideologies at some points for a book published over twenty years ago. (A fantasy with women leading an army? Hell yeah!) For high fantasy fans who enjoy a good world, I'd say to pick it up; for anybody else, though, it would take a while to get into with little payoff at the end. Though the setup for the rest of the series is interesting, it functions just as well as a standalone, so I have no need to pick up the rest of the books.
JonMoss More than 1 year ago
Excellent world building and superb magic system with an annoyingly dense but affable young adult protagonist on a quest. Lerris is 'the chosen one' but for all the wrong reasons or completely mysterious hidden reasons until he's painted himself into a corner with his fumbling choices. Lerris isn't burdened with a prophecy, but he resists the status quo of Recluce. Lerris is just your typical young adult with attention deficit disorder (i.e., he's bored and finds everything boring), but Recluce doesn't prescribe Ritalin. Somewhat like extreme Amish, Recluce peacefully forces their misfits to either exile permanently or go on dangergeld (similar to rumspringa but with a quest attached), during which they must decide if they can return to Recluce and succumb to its creed and worldview (seeking perfection in Order). This novel follows Lerris on his journey as a dangergelder until he understands all that Recluce embodies and effects, and reaches his decision. If you are looking for a story with character growth, Lerris' journey as an exile from Recluce will fit that bill. If you are looking for a new fantasy world with a detailed history, divergent societies, a logical robust magic system, with a different spin on the age-old struggle between angels and demons, good and evil, black and white, order and chaos, then you've come to the right story and series. Modesitt's Recluce series reminds me of Asimov's robot stories. He sets up a scenario with some basic, seemingly simple rules (for example, Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and Modesitt's Order/Chaos balance system as glimpsed through snippets of The Basis of Order) and proceeds to challenge those rules with his world and its characters. While each novel adds a piece of the broader puzzle, for the most part, like this first one, the books stand alone quite well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good book, story was entertaining, however, use of onomatopoeia becomes annoying with sound effects for many minor details ''click' I closed the door.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I reallly believe that this book got me hooked on L.E. Modesitt, JR. I have enjoyed his writing for several years and have collected many of his books. Good author and excellent characterizations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my ultimate favorite books to read, and that's hard to say because I read a lot. This is not an easy read but is really worth while I have read it five or six times and love it.
blueshield More than 1 year ago
Seldom is such a well written book produced, but even less frequently in the genre of fantasy as we get more then our share of pulp style novels. This series is great, but this the first book in particular is a real gem. The main character is thoughtful and sincere and you come to feel his personal struggles as he tries to do what he feels is right in the face of many wrongs done by the Chaos Wizards and institutionally by his own people. Perhaps most importantly this book addresses moral points concerning society and people's responsibility within it. This book is not an easy read by any means. It has plenty of action, but doesn't try to speed you along to the finish like it's a race. It's thought provoking and enjoyable from beginning to end. The perfect kind of book to enjoy while sitting around drinking cocoa on a snowy winter's day. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Rick Harrison 23 days ago
Great book, will read more in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good series.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's the first one he wrote, but is currently next to the last or so in the chronology. He recommends his books be read in the order he wrote them & I have to agree for the first read, at least. After reading them once, a second round in chronological order is better, though. I've read it several times, at least. Very enjoyable.He posits an interesting world where Order (Black) & Chaos (White) are separate forces that can be manipulated by humans. Those who wield each, don't generally play well with those who use the opposing force. There is a balance, so both forces gain more play in the world as the other side becomes stronger. Some people are focuses of one or the other, too. It leads to interesting situations.In this book, he tells the story from the Order side. He continues this for the next 6 books, until book 8, "The White Order" finally gives us the Chaos side of the story.
Guide2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Probably better than 3 stars, but having read it out of order, the story looks too familiar to other of his books.
idanush on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first of a long series of books about the world of recluce. Weirdly enough, recluce is a tiny part (an island) of the world this takes place in.Modesitt has a very interesting look at the whole good vs. evil business. In his world everything needs to balance. Modesitt doesn't define good or evil but rather "order" and "chaos" . Neither is necessarily bad and neither can exist without the other. This really reminded me of Zelazny's Amber series.It is nice though, has the author went to lengths to define a very strict way to practice magic, unlike other fantasy works where magic is very vague and anything can happen if it helps with plot. As far as the narrative goes Modesitt exploits the boy that becomes hero template. The Boy is expelled from Recluce for questioning the principles of order. Recluce has a policy where if you don't fit the frame exactly you're being trained and shipped off. In this book's case, the hero is shipped off to Candar which is the home of White Magic. We quickly learn that the candarian are not "evil" and the hero does in fact settle down in Candar.The book is in first person, which I loved, and unlike the rest of the series which is third person.
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting novel about law vs. chaos, and how they both can be good and evil, but in Modesitt's world, law is generally good. A young wizard of law must learn about law and himself while forced to confront chaos. Not quite your usual 'boy meets self while wandering the world', but close. A good, interesting novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great beginning to a great series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book to one of my favorite series!
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lorisfay More than 1 year ago
L. E. Modesitt, JR. Writes a complete book with a beginning and ending. His books are long too not a couple hundred pages and you have to buy the next one to find out what happened. They will keep you up late reading. I am reading the third book in this series and will get all his other books.