by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
I continue to find Modesitt's thesis on chaos and order absolutely fascinating. I have been a devotee of all of the Recluce series right from the very first release and I have never grown tired of them. Indeed I enjoy every fiction novel Modesitt has written. Truly talented, I am continually enthralled by, and addicted to, his work.
As a supposedly White Mage and practitioner of the chaotic arts, and apprentice to his uncle, the White Mage Kaerylt, Beltur struggles to be a good enough magician. It seems he looks at things slightly differently from others. There is an order to his use of chaos, which is contrary to what is the norm. That use of order is hinted to him by the red-haired healer Margrena, a young healer he finds himself attracted to.
When Kaerylt and Beltur are called to report before Denardre, Prefect of Gallos, they are attacked as they leave the Prefect's presence by the Prefect's Arms Mage, Wyath. Beltur is forced to flee Gallos. He seeks shelter in the City of Elparta, Spidlar, a place where Black Mages, those committed to the practice of Order, reside. Here Beltur is able to extend his perspectives and understandings. He has the ability to detect chaos and order and use both, and with a master smith pursues the long lost art of casting cupridium.
As Beltur's education continues he struggles with what sort of Mage he is.
I know looking for chaos in sheep, and rotten parts of piers might seem mundane but as the process of Belthurs learning continues so does our understanding of chaos and order, the cornerstones of the Recluce novels.
A trade war is forced upon Spidlar, by the arrogant, despotic Prefect of Gallos. Beltur becomes part of the armed forces where he is forced under fire to develop his powers in new ways. It seems Beltur has enemies amongst the Black Mages, who see his powers as impure, 'mongrel' in heritage.
Whilst initially not as stunning as some in the series, Mongrel Mage is a solid contribution to furthering our understanding of this amazing world that Modesitt continues to grow. It earns its five stars status because of its intricate exploration of chaos and order alongside an equalling compelling human interest story of self-realization, struggle, intrigue and love.
I am so looking forward to more in this splinter series, with Beltur taking center place.
A NetGalley ARC