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    Review of WELLSPRING OF CHAOS by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (see his website)


    TOR, April 2004

    When he gets between a lord's son and his pleasure, cooper Kharl goes from being a respected craftsman to an accused criminal. Ultimately, he loses his entire family and has to flee his native Brysta--but not before a young black mage he had rescued is murdered. Kharl takes the mage's staff. As her reads the fallen mage's book and experiments with her staff, Kharl begins to refine his own sense of order. He may be a simple cooper, but he believes in doing things right--and over time, comes to believe in making things right as well. But it's difficult for a refugee to make things right--you need power to accomplish much. A mage, on the other hand, has real power.

    Kharl's problems lead him to befriend beggers, fight pirates, and ultimately battle white mages for the future of one of the kingdom of Austra. Fortunately, he has a knack of finding friends when he needs them and, although he denies it, his sense of order begins to bring him power.

    Author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (see more reviews of novels by Modesitt) has created a fascinating world in the Recluce saga. Order and chaos battle one another, yet need each other to survive. The politics of the world are far more complex than good vs. evil, and even the side of 'order' has its own problems. Kharl makes an interesting character--with a love for wood and iron and true caring about others.

    Readers new to Modesitt and Recluce may find the novel slow going at first. The problems Kharl faces reveal themselves only slowly and his ultimate (in this book at least) battle does little to resolve the problems that first set him into motion. For me, WELLSPRING lacked some of the emotional intensity of earlier novels in this fine series. That, however, is not to say that WELLSPRING isn't a fascinating adventure and well worth the read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 5/10/04

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