|The Magic of Recluce (Recluce series, Book 1)|
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Date: 15 May, 1992 — $7.19 — Book
Despite the star rating above, I do like this book; it merely is less impressive than many of the other books in the series, and the protagonist, Lerris, has way too many "But Uncle Owen...!" moments.*
Lerris is a young man who finds the order of Recluce boring, to the point where he is shipped off to dangergeld training for a controlled exile. Of course, he doesn't have a clue what's going on, which makes it a little hard to read, and unlike the rest of the series, it is written in the first person, which means that what Lerris doesn't know, we don't know.
This is the foundation for a series that is growing by leaps and bounds, but there are several elements here that don't appear in other novels. The chaos masters of this time are body snatchers; they can create physical constructs with magic; and the final confrontation has remarkably few repercussions. Modesitt was still working out his world in this novel.
This is the classic quest cycle, beginning with the Call ("You're going to dangergeld") and including such elements as the Mentor and the Task. One could almost check off each part in your copy of Joseph Campbell. None of the other Recluce books follow the pattern so obviously.
*Star Wars geek reference, if you missed it; this is the whiny farmboy bit.