Modesitt took a gamble on this
book -- his meticulous worldbuilding
is based on law and history -- and
he knew that this would be dry for
some readers. While the world is fascinating, and the Imagers themselves are extraordinary, the meat of the novel is slightly dry, and some readers will be reminded of a college lecture.

Rhynn is a portraitist on the fast track to master status. No master in the guild can deny his immense talent. Having finally achieved journeyman level after years of following the guild guidelines, Rhynn finds his master dead through his own actions. Rhynn has discovered he has a talent for making his thoughts become reality.

Persons such as Rhynn are called Imagers, and they are both dangerous and valuable, so Rhynn must learn to contain and focus his skills. His future path seems uncertain to him, and he must decide which course to take -- that which he wishes, or that which is set for him. (TOR, Mar., 432 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Victoria Frerichs