If you love reading fantasy novels and want to participate in a 2 book giveaway of Cyador’s Heirs by author L.E. Modesitt, Jr., then this please check out the following interview with the one-and-the-same. Then, follow the simple rules mentioned to enter and cross your fingers that your name will be one of the two that are randomly selected in this book giveaway! It will run from now until Sunday, July 27, at MIDNIGHT CT!
Lee, the author’s actual first name, has written seventeen novels in his fantasy series The Saga of Recluce, his most recent one being Cyador’s Heirs, reviewed elsewhere at The Guardian Liberty Voice. He has also written other excellent series of fantasy novels, like The Corian Chronicles, The Imager Portfolio, The Spellsong Cycle, The Ecolitan Matter, and The Ghost Books, making a total of 63 novels in all.
L.E. Modesitt, Jr., has kindly agreed to be interviewed and answer questions about his latest novel in The Saga of Recluce series, Cyador’s Heirs, as well as a few about his other books. Perhaps the most well-known books in The Saga of Recluce series is the first one, The Magic of Recluce.
L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and the company which publishes his works of fantasy, Tor/Forge, have also agreed to give away two hardback copies of Cyador’s Heirs to two lucky readers of The Guardian Liberty Voice who are from the United States and are 18 or older. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below (not Spam, though) and also mention the state you live in. Then, the names of two winners will be randomly selected and gotten in touch with via their email addresses so that they can provide their full mailing addresses to receive their copies of Cyador’s Heirs.
Douglas Cobb: L.E., thanks for agreeing to do this interview and also to the book giveaway, Lee, of two copies of your latest book in The Saga of Recluce series, Cyador’s Heirs.
What gave you the inspiration or ideas to write The Saga of Recluce series and the other series of fantasy novels that you have written?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: I started out writing poetry, and didn’t actually write a science fiction story until I was almost thirty, although I’d read science fiction since even before I was a teenager. Despite writing scores of SF stories, I only sold something like eight in the period from 1972 to 1978, when I began work on my first novel – as a result of a rejection letter from Ben Bova at ANALOG that basically told me he wouldn’t buy any more on of my stories until I wrote a novel because I was trying to cram novel plots into stories. So I wrote and published SF novels over the next ten years, until I went to my first F&SF convention, where I made the mistake of saying that too many fantasy novelists didn’t seem to understand either economics or government… and got a cold and standing silence, so to speak. That experience inspired me to write a fantasy that embodied characters with real jobs and the need to make a living in a fantasy world where the magic was logical and the governments weren’t medieval knock-offs. The result was The Magic of Recluce. I’d like to add that many more fantasy writers these days are paying attention to economics and politics than was the more than twenty years ago.
Douglas Cobb: Have you come to the end of any of the series or are you close to ending any of them? How many more novels would you say will be in The Saga of Recluce?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: It’s highly unlikely that I’ll write more novels in the world of The Spellsong Cycle, although I won’t rule that out absolutely, and probably unlikely that I’ll write any more in The Corean Chronicles. The Imager Portfolio is the newest fantasy series, and definitely ongoing, with the ninth book – Madness in Solidar – coming out next March . As for The Saga of Recluce, the second book about Lerial – Heritage of Cyador – will be released on November 18th. At this point, I can’t say how many more Recluce books there will be after Heritage, although there will definitely be at least one.
Douglas Cobb: Is The Saga of Recluce the most popular series of novels that you have written, Lee? If not, which of your series has sold the most books so far?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: To date, the Recluce books have outsold all my other series, but considering that there are more than twice as many Recluce books as any other series, that’s not exactly surprising. So far, on a book by book basis, The Imager Portfolio books seem to be selling at a level that’s similar to the Recluce books. So it’s fair to say that those two are definitely the most popular.
Douglas Cobb: The main character of Cyador’s Heirs is Lerial, the younger son of Duke Kiedron. It is set in Cigoerne, but that is not the country where Lerial’s family came from, right?
What land did Lerial’s ancestors come from? How did they wind up in Cigoerne?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: Lerial’s grandfather was the Emperor of Cyador, the country that, at its greatest extent, ruled almost half of the continent of Candar. Unhappily, the grandfather made the mistake of taking on the engineer and mage Nylan and the Accursed Forest at the same time…which resulted in his own death and the destruction of Cyador, as related in the second book about Nylan, The Chaos Balance. The Emperor’s wife foresaw this and gathered her two children and as many others as she could quickly summon, commandeered the remaining fireship, and fled the destruction, making her way to Hamor, where she used most of what wealth she could take to buy lands from the Duke of Afrit. Although this is only briefly referenced as past history in Cyador’s Heirs, she and the other refugees succeed in building a small land, governed by Lerial’s father at the time Cyador’s Heirs begins.
Douglas Cobb: Who are the Mirror Lancers? Which book did you introduce them in?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: The original Mirror Lancers were the principal land combat force of Cyador. While there are historical references to them in several Recluce books, readers discovered what they really were for the first time in Magi’i of Cyador, the first book about Lorn.
Douglas Cobb: Lerial is not thought of as highly by his father, at first, as is Lerial’s older brother, Lephi. Why is that, other than Lephi is the oldest of Duke Kiedron’s sons?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: You might call Lerial a late bloomer. His talents are not the kind that immediately stand out in as culture that has been literally fighting for its life since its inception. His older brother is more apparently gifted in both arms and in handling chaos, and Lerial’s father worries that Lerial is more suited to be a healer than a war-leader when Cigoerne definitely needs a war-leader.
Douglas Cobb: The Saga of Recluce series has a lot of fans who say that they love to re-read the books multiple times. That has to be considered a mark of a great series of books.
Readers of The Saga of Recluce know that you are one of the best fantasy authors when it comes to telling a good story and your impressive world-building skills.
Do you plan out before you begin to write a series where the continents, countries and major cities of the world you are going to write about will be? Do you know what the languages will be that your characters speak and do you have something like index cards you refer back to about each of your characters as you write?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: When I begin a fantasy series, I create a scale map – or at least as close to scale as I can manage – with the major cities, ports, rivers, mountains, lakes, and other major topographical features in place. At the same time, I rough out the magic system, the economics, trade, culture, governmental systems, and other cultural infrastructure. I don’t do index cards, but I do keep notes on the major characters.
Douglas Cobb: Who teaches Lerial about Order magic and tells him why it’s at least as important as Chaos magic?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: Lerial initially learns about order and chaos from his tutor, a white mage, but the more important and critical knowledge comes from his aunt Emerya, who is a master healer, and who has a past that no one will discuss…ever.
Douglas Cobb: There are just a few more questions to go. Your answers have been great so far! Cyador’s Heirs will, no doubt, be a big success and two of the readers of The Guardian Liberty Voice will be lucky to each get a copy of it in this book giveaway that you and Tor/Forge are participating in.
Lee, why is it that Lerial is sent by his father to live with the elderly Majer Altyrn for a year? What are some of the things that Lerial learns while being fostered by Majer Altyrn, and why did you choose to call his title “Majer”?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: Altyrn is the retired commander of the Mirror Lancers of Cigoerne, and Altyrn himself feels that the commander should only be a majer, because, at the time he was in command, the number of Lancers commanded was roughly equivalent to the number commanded by a majer during the time of the Empire of Cyador. This has changed since his retirement, and Altyrn was named a commander, but everyone since still refers to him as “the majer,” a term of both appreciation and respect.
What Lerial learns when he is being fostered is far too detailed to lay out here, but, in essence, he learns all the skills that the majer can impart through actually doing them. Lerial also learns how to do and to handle very dirty physical chores before Altyrn will even think of teaching him more about arms and tactics.
Douglas Cobb: Without giving away too many spoilers, Lee, why does war come to Cigoerne and could you mention a couple of ways that Lerial uses his knowledge of Chaos and Order magic to succeed in battle?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: War comes to Cigoerne in the same way it often has in our world. Kiedron – Lerial’s father, with the help of Majer Altyrn and others – has been successful in turning marginal lands into productive ones and in building a land where there is greater opportunity for outsiders than elsewhere in Hamor. This brings talented immigrants, even healers and potential mages, and whole villages near the borders of Cigoerne opt to join the duchy. The other dukes fear Cigoerne’s growing power and the effectiveness of the Mirror Lancers, and begin to plot to bring down Cigoerne in a way that will not disturb the balance of power between the other and larger duchies.
Lerial is not quite a failure as a chaos-mage and, while becoming an increasingly better healer, doesn’t seem to have even especially strong powers as an ordermage, but thanks to an unusual gift – a lodestone – he begins to learn far more about the underlying mechanics of chaos and order, and how to use them with his limited powers. I’d rather not say more than that, because examples would be spoilers.
Douglas Cobb: The next book in The Saga of Recluce series will be Heritage of Cyador, correct? Are you completely finished with it? If so, when will it be published and in the book stores and could you please give our readers an idea what it will be about?
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: Heritage of Cyador is completely finished and in production. The release date is November 18th. It begins five years after the end of Cyador’s Heirs, with the request of the Duke of Afrit, the adjoining duchy, for military aid from Cigoerne to help repulse what looks to be a military campaign against Afrit by its neighbor (and Cigoerne’s as well), the duchy of Heldya. Lerial’s father doesn’t wish to commit too many troops for obvious reasons, since Cigoerne does share a border with Heldya as well, but, at the same time, knows that, if Afrit falls to Heldya, Cigoerne will end up facing Heldya alone. He decides, most reluctantly, to send Lerial, with rather pragmatic instructions not to be a hero, and, if things get too bad, in effect to withdraw. Lerial discovers, unhappily, that matters are far from that simple… and they get progressively worse.
Douglas Cobb: Thanks, L.E. Modesitt Jr., for doing this interview! Your fantasy novels are among the best that any current authors in your genre have written. Readers of The Guardian Liberty Voice who also love to read science fiction and fantasy novels will definitely be rewarded if they check out The Saga of Recluce and your latest book in the series, Cyador’s Heirs. Also, two lucky readers who leave a comment below with their state mentioned who are chosen at random will be lucky winners in a book giveaway courtesy of the author and Tor/Forge!
By Douglas Cobb
Buy Cyador’s Heirs here