It’s no secret that author L.E. Modesitt Jr. is a favorite of mine.  His Recluse and Spellsong Cycle books are among my favorites, going into the ‘re-read’ category of my little library here at home – meaning, I re-read them from time to time just as I do with The Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time books.

With each new book in the Recluse saga, we learn a little bit more about the world these stories take place in.  Natural Ordermage tells the story of Rahl, a scrivener (he copies books) who is an ordermage but doesn’t really believe that he is.  He can do some things, but surely that doesn’t make him a mage?

Unfortunately for him, the little things he can do aren’t at all good for him.  He uses order to make girls more pliable and to make his life a little easier – never a good thing on Recluse where Order must be maintained.

He gets himself in some trouble with a girl, kills a Jeryani Pirate and gets into a fight with a girl’s older brothers – all of this lands him in Nylan, the Black Holding.  He’s been exiled there and is told that, if he can’t get control over his magic, he won’t be allowed to stay.

Rahl being pretty thick, it isn’t long before he finds himself on a fast boat to Hamor.

Now, we’ve seen Hamor in some of the other Recluse books, but always as a country sort of out there *points*.  They have warships, they attack people (I believe it was Crestlin who sank their fleet – then Dorrin who sank some more).  But this is our first, real look at their society.  It reminds me a little bit of Muslim communities; the women are not allowed to leave the home without a male member of their family with them, they wear clothing that covers them fro head to toe – there’s more, but you get the gist.

As with all of Modesitt’s books, you quickly find yourself deeply entrenched in the world as he’s laying it out before you.  The main character of Rahl – you roll your eyes when he does something stupid but you don’t put the book down, you turn the page to find out what bad thing is going to happen to him because of his  hardheadedness.

I admit it took me a while to read this one, but that’s simply because I haven’t been much in the mood to read, so I bought this one and it sat on the shelf until the sequel, Mage-Guard of Hamor, came out and then I thought, “Well crap!  I need to read these!”

These are always a quick read (for me anyway) once you get started, full of magic and adventure, and well worth the price of a paperback.

Check it out.