Book Review: L E Modesitt Jr's "The Mongrel Mage, a Novel of Recluse"

Book Review: L E Modesitt Jr's "The Mongrel Mage, a Novel of Recluse"

January 12, 2018

Happy New Year all and with a new year comes a new review of the latest of more than a few books I have read over the past few weeks.
I’d like to first say before going any further I’d like to give credit, compliments, a shout out whatever it is ‘the cool kids say’ when they want to bring attention to something or someone.  I’d like to start off 2018 by saying; “Thank you libraries!”  I attempted last year and now going into this year to utilize local libraries whenever possible.  My own by supporting them during the book sales by purchasing books to support the buying of new books as well as doing things like this to say, “Hey our and your local library is AWESOME, and you should check it out.” 

Alright, let us first then get to the newest book read and yes checked out of my local library.

L. E. Modesitt Jr’s “The Mongrel Mage, a Novel of Recluse” Anyone that has spent ten minutes with me and wanted to talk about books, knows that Mr. Modesitt’s books sit high on my list.  I was a little late to the party when it came to his Imager books, thinking to myself that I did not want to start another series, but I was mistaken there and well with his return to Recluse I was not disappointed in my wait.

The particular book is set before the settling of the Isle of Recluse but far enough in the past that Westwind has still not fallen yet to the machinations of the White Wizards.  Yeah, anyone that has read the books knows that those two things happen in the same book, but it sounded good didn’t it?  Ok, Creslin has not been born yet, so Lerris hasn’t either, but the characters in the previous 3 books all died and have become largely if not completely forgotten.  In fact, the major founder of Westwind are but a mere legend and barely besides their names not much is known.

Beltur is our mage of the hour.  Having started off as a very limited white, he finds that he is much more of a black mage and goes about learning about his powers as well as strengthening them.  It wouldn’t be a Recluse novel if there wasn’t a love interest, there is, as well as no sex.  Mr. Modesitt seems to go out of his way to keep at least a PG rating and he would not get the G rating due to, and I do mean limited violence in the book due to a marital conflict that our lead character is drawn into, being a black mage.

Philosophy is discussed, mainly to get rid of the thought that; White = good and that Black = bad.  It also goes against the people that are considered ‘the good guys’ can have jerks in their ranks that don’t like other mages because, well they are getting the girl.  There is even a bit of class warfare when on the of minor characters gets killed off by his own men during a battle scene mainly from what I can see as a Vietnam War like flashback where I have heard on more than one occasions of stories where enlisted men, “fragged” their officers when they were incompetent.  Mainly those stories were in other stories or in a movie.

The book has the expected happy ending, our hero gets the girl, and it is pretty obvious that there is going to be two more coming out with our hero, Beltur.  This is not a book that introduces anything new except maybe an explanation of ‘smelting’ how an ore, specific to the setting is made, I can’t say though that would be a reason to run out and pick up this book.  I wouldn’t even say this is a book to start with.  Those books are either “The Magic of Recluse” which is a part of a trilogy and does open the door for pretty much the rest of the series with its main character of Lerris and a host of bit players that are major players in their own right in later books.  The other is “The Towers of Sunset” which is the book about Creslin and the founding of Recluse itself.

Short version?  If you like Recluse books get this one?  If you haven’t read them yet don’t start here but end up here and with whichever books come up next.
Plus, don’t miss Mr. Modesitt’s other books, he writes some MEAN science fiction and one I would have to put as an Alt-History.  Don’t believe me?  Find out for yourself at your local library.

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