Imager's Battalion (Imager Portfolio)
by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Cover Artist: Donato Giancola
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765332837
Date: 22 January 2013
The battle is won and now the invasion begins. Quaeryt and his imagers were able to stop the Bovarian invasion cold. With the Bovarian field army destroyed, Lord Bhayar decides it is time to end the Bovarian threat. He orders the Telaryn forces to invade.
Quaeryt is given additional troops to command and is made part of the invasion force moving along the south side of the river. As the invasion proceeds, both armies face increasing resistance as Rex Kharst is able to bring more troops to face the invaders. Kharst has ordered his holders to resist and provide no assistance. The holders fear Kharst will win and provide as little aid as possible.
There are new weapons that will face the troops. Quaeryt knows that they are coming, but not the best way to defend against them. He will make mistakes and the consequences will be bad. It is tough enough to face the Bovarians, but the leaders of the military are also trying to set Quaeryt up to fail. The difficulties will force Quaeryt to reveal his abilities openly, but by revealing his abilities, the expectations increase.
In addition to learning about his own abilities, Quaeryt must teach his growing band of Imagers the skills he has learned. Without his training, they cannot survive, nor will the Telaryn forces. The constant fighting keeps Quaeryt away from his wife. He finds some solace in reading the forgotten chronicle that he found before the last battle.
This is the sixth book of the Imager Portfolio and the third featuring Quaeryt. There are two more novels set in this era. Antiagon Fire should be out by the middle of 2013 and the final book, Rex Regis, should be out by the end of 2013, making 2013 the year of the Imager. Readers need to start with either Imager or Scholar. Trying to understand this complex world, by starting in the middle of a series is not advised, so I can't recommend this book without recommending the whole series, which I do.
There are a couple of interesting subplots. One relates to the printed sections of the Chronicle about Rholan the Unnamer. It relates how the stories that pass down may not be all there is to a person. The other is the revelations about the Lost Ones. Quaeryt continues to learn more about the prophecy and how it may relate to him.
As in other series, Modesitt hints at the history of the world. These little tidbits can be hints to future volumes set in the same world. In both the Recluce series and the Corean Chronicles little throw away lines have led to complete future stories. There were at least four potential stories hinted at in this volume. One relates to the empire that spanned the continent in the distant past. Another relates to the history of the Pharsi. The third is a story specifically about Rholan or his mystery chronicler. Last, there is the tale of the Lost Ones.
I have noted in the past that my wife is also enjoying this series, she is hoping for a novel from a female imagerís perspective. That would not be unprecedented, and could be quite interesting.