Recluce Tales: Stories from the World of Recluce
by L.E. Modesitt
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765386182
Date: 03 January 2017 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Magic does not come purely from the ether. Part of it comes from the Magi who harness its power. When too much order or chaos takes over a system, the result is not good. Chaos is life and growth, but without the limits of Order, the flame burns too quickly and gutters out too soon. If there is no chaos, there is only death. People can live in the extremes, but the results are not always the best. For over 25 years fans have been enjoying the tales of the heroes of Order and Chaos, now Recluce Tales brings some other stories which fill the gaps.
There are 21 stories which span the earliest history all the way to the time after Lerris and the death of Chaos. These are a few of the stories that really stick out as well as a few about time periods where the genesis of the Saga begins, or how a Science Fiction author starts writing fantasy.
The first story "The Vice Marshall's Trial" provides a little more information about the little silver book of poems which plays such a vital role in the series. It also touches on the taming of the Great Forest. This is information that fans have wanted to see for a long time.
"The Forest Girl" is interesting as it brings a little hint of the balance to come as well as bringing the Emperor who isnít mentioned to life. A brief contact will influence his whole life. It also seemed to draw a stronger parallel with Lorn. The reprint of "The Stranger" is a tales about a character from the Fall who leaves. Hunted and hated the stranger has an effect on those he meets. This is an odd tale in that the characters are not masters of order or chaos.
The final story looks back and hints at how great people are remembered after the Fall. It is a sad story to me. I feel the loss of magic and the growing coldness of the world.
There are 18 novels in the series to date, with another forthcoming, The Mongrel Mage. Although prior knowledge of the series isn't essential for following the stories of this collection, it is helpful. Most of the stories contained are original related pieces, but several have been published in the past. The stories are chronologically ordered, so readers should be able to place them in the appropriate times to the published novels.
I enjoyed reading all of the short stories in this collection. I had a nostalgic walk through a well appreciated series that I have reread on several occasions. I liked the additional knowledge gained and I am left wanting more of the information filled in. But it was also a little sad, as this was almost like a farewell tour. There are more stories to be told, but we don't know how many.