Recluce Tales: Stories From the World of Recluce (Tor/Forge) by renowned fantasy author, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., is a fascinating collection of short stories based on the author’s highly imaginative and inventive series on novels, the Saga of Recluce, based on the Island of Recluce. Enter the contest for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Complete contest rules are listed below.
The collection of short stories, Recluce Tales, opens with an enlightening introductory essay by Modesitt, “Behind the ‘Magic’ of Recluce,” describing the origins of Recluce and the systems of Order and Chaos that shape and control it. The author explains in the essay how he was first drawn to begin writing fantasy, with the desire to make whatever fantasy tale or novel he wrote realistic for his readers. He writes in the essay that he wanted to create “a magic system that was logical, rational, and workable within a practical economic, political, and technological structure that was neither particularly exotic nor borrowed lock, stock and barrel from western European history or anywhere else.”
After the illustrative beginning essay, readers of Recluce Tales get to enjoy a diverse range of 20 tales based on Modesitt’s Saga of Recluce series, and recall some of the reasons they fell in love with the series in the first place. New fans will be given a wondrous glimpse into the rich world-building skills of Modesitt and the three-dimensional characters he creates to populate Recluce. Seventeen of the tales are entirely new ones.
This review will not go into each one of the 20 tales that make up Recluce Tales, but will just touch upon a couple of them, to give fans and potential new fans an idea what to expect from this collection, which begins with the short story, The Vice Marshal’s Trial. Without, hopefully, giving away any spoilers, the first tale is about, as the author puts it, “one aspect of the founding of Cyador,” an empire on the continent of Candar, which existed before the island of Recluce became inhabited.
The “aspect” mentioned is a tale about Vice Marshal Kiedral Daloren and the strange creatures he and others encounter when they attempt to lead the way towards colonization of a jungle region of Cyador. Daloren investigates the fate of the eastern terraforming team that makes up a part of Colonization Force Five. There has been no word from them, and for some reason or set of reasons, technology does not seem to work very well in this region of the empire. There are creatures in the jungle that make colonization problematic, at best.
All of the short stories in Recluce Tales are delightful and engrossing. The one other tale I will briefly touch on here is the third one, The Forest Girl. Modesitt introduces it with just stating, “Here is a story about a historical figure…before he became a legend to be feared…and respected.”
The Forest Girl is a short story about the Alyiakal, his early training in magic, his meeting with a mysterious forest girl who can transform herself into a large black panther, and Alykial’s training as a Mirror Lancer. Alyiakal learns about magic, some of the creatures of the Accursed Forest, and he even finds a brief moment of love, falling for a girl of the forest who says she is far, far older than she appears to be. It is a sort of Coming of Age story, about one of Modesitt’s many popular and famous characters, when he is on the brink of the glory and fame that will follow.
Recluce Tales by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., is a terrific collection of short stories about some of the characters who populate the author’s incredible world of Recluce, and other lands. It is a collection that will definitely appeal to fans of the author’s Saga of Recluce series of novels, as well as anyone who loves reading excellent works of fantasy, in general.
Contest Giveaway Rules – The Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only. CDA News will select one lucky winner, by random drawing, who will receive a copy of Recluce Tales: Stories From the World of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Entering for a chance to win is easy! Simply leave your first name and the state, province/Country in which you live, in the comments section below. The Giveaway will run from March 4, 2017 until midnight on March 18, 2017. CDA News will select and notify the lucky winner via email on March 20, 2016.
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By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Tor/Forge