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Book review: 'Antiagon Fire' provides an escape into a fantasy world

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 4:00 a.m. MDT

"Antiagon Fire" is the seventh book in L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s Imager Portfolio series. (Tor/Forge Books) "Antiagon Fire" is the seventh book in L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s Imager Portfolio series. (Tor/Forge Books)

"ANTIAGON FIRE," by L.E. Modesitt Jr., Tor Hardcover, $27.99, 464 pages (f)

“Antiagon Fire,” a new novel in the Imager Portfolio series by Cedar City resident L. E. Modesitt Jr., provides an escape into the fantasy world of Telaryn and its surrounding territories.

While the dustjacket summary provides interesting information about the plot for the Imager veteran, it does little to explain the engaging plot that any reader will find. The first-time Modesitt reader would do well to ignore any concerns and launch straight into his world.

Modesitt develops a narrative and characters that flow seamlessly and keep the reader gripped. The first part of the book develops the relationships and the nuances of keeping a newly conquered country very well. It is as though these are actual events that just happen to be occurring in some bygone age.

Cedar City resident L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s latest in the Imager Portfolio series is titled "Antiagon Fire." (Provided by Tor/Forge Books) Cedar City resident L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s latest in the Imager Portfolio series is titled "Antiagon Fire." (Provided by Tor/Forge Books)

There are some places where the narrative seems rushed, and there is a desire for a greater amount of detail or explanation. This is especially evident in the final third of the book.

Having spent time laying the foundation of who Quaeryt is, the complex interrelationships of the various leaders, and the capabilities of the Imagers (simply put, people who can think things into existence), the ending seems to be a rush through various events. These events tell the story, but they seem to be over in the blink of an eye and the reader can be left a bit shell-shocked, having to re-read the events just to capture all the detail. However, it might be the engaging nature of the events that makes the reader return.

Modesitt writes in a way that is not dissimilar to fantasy luminaries such as Orson Scott Card. “Antiagon Fire” works as a stand-alone novel, but also motivates to want to explore more of the Imager Portfolio.

Everything about the book leaves the reader, living the experience through the eyes of Quaeryt and his wife, Vaelora, wanting more. Reading "Antiagon Fire" is a great form of escapism, but may also get the reader thinking about various issues of governance and warfare if that is your wont.

In "Antiagon Fire," there isn't any swearing, and indeed the violence is left to the reader's imagination rather than being graphically described. There are elements of suggestive comments between Quaeryt and his pregnant wife but these are infrequent and very mild.

James is a Senior Lecturer in Religious Education at the University of Chester, UK. His email is james.holt@chester.ac.uk

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