Bookshelf spotlight: Saga of Recluce

Back in the nineties I was lucky enough to have a pretty good stocked library near my house that helped me discover a lot of authors. Sometimes I’d dip my toe in a series and leave after one book, other times, I’d get sucked in and start the fun of trying to get through the rest of the series, often resulting in the fun of joining the queue of library holds. The Saga of Recluce by LE Modesitt Jr was definitely one of the latter. I read the first nine books before stopping and waiting for more to be published and arrive at the library. Unfortunately, that was around the time my reading was derailed and I forgot to go back to them when I had some time again.

A few years ago, I remembered how much I enjoyed this series and decided I wanted to start buying my own copies and read it again. Joke was on me as the series has grown quite a bit since I paused, and is now at 21 books! I bought the first three, thinking that seemed like a good number to be buying at a time. Of course, I haven’t reread them yet as Covid, high-stress (not Covid related) and a two-year reading slump impacted my plans. But that didn’t stop me from picking up three more volumes (4, 5 and 8) when I saw them at the big book fair I went to in 2021.

Books 1-5 and 8 of The Saga of Recluce by LE Modesitt Jr

This series is a collection of related stories within a single universe, kind of like Dragonriders of Pern, where some are linked to the book before, and others are at a different point in time with different characters. Some people will try to tell you to read them in chronological order (within the world). But NO, don’t do that! The only way to read these is in publication order. You’re not supposed to know key pieces of information about the magic system, the world, and the history in earlier books. If you read in chronological order, you will spoil the journey and not enjoy the series anywhere near as much as you would otherwise.

Because of that hidden information, there’s not a lot I can tell you here. I can say that the magic system is Order (black) and Chaos (white), with some Grey magicians that are frowned on by both. Recluce is an island nation that follows Order and this is where the story begins in book one.

Young Lerris must find his place in the world. In Recluce this means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden Wanderjahr in the lands of beyond. Many do not survive.

Lerris chooses dangergeld.

Lerris will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked, and he must learn to use his powers in an orderly way before his Wanderjahr, or fall prey to Chaos.

I’ll be looking to grow my collection this year, and finally starting to reread them (well, amongst those 300 other books I want to read/reread this year 😆). If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend you try it.

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