Madness in Solidar, by acclaimed fantasy author, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., is the ninth book in the Imager Portfolio, though it can be read as a “stand-alone” novel without having read the rest of the series. As in his other novels, the author plays with the concept of time and chronological order. Though Madness in Solidar is technically the ninth novel in the series, it is set 380 years after the events of Rex Regis, and it is the beginning of a new adventure and the start of a new story arch.
Madness in Solidar is set during an era when Solidar’s renowned Collegium of Imagers is in a period of decline. Somebody elee must step up to the plate to rule, as the Collegium is experiencing a profound lack of Imagers who have the necessary magical and leadership skills to adequately rule over Solidar.
Within this context in Modesitt’s novel, Madness in Solidar, and the fact that the current leader, Maitre, is dying, he decides to call upon an obscure Imager from Westisle, Alastar, to be his successor. Alastar is obscure, but he has displayed a marked talent at magic, and he has not been involved with the political web of intrigue that exists within the capital of Solidar, L’Excelsis.
The plot of Madness in Solidar involves Alastar discovering when he arrives in the capital that he has several economic and political problems that all demand his immediate attention. He is a widower and has no children from his marriage, though he is blessed with both magical skills and a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished.
As the Collegium is lacking in discipline and is in disarray, and the Maitre is hated so much by the High Holders that they refer to him as being “mad,” hence the title of the novel, Madness in Solidar, Alistar has his work cut out for him. He is an honorable man, but trying to get his political and economic agenda done proves difficult in a country that is overrun by corruption.
The deterioration of the Collegium of Imagers is made palpable by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s remarkable world building skills and descriptive writing in Madness in Solidar. The skills of the present-day Imagers have declined quite a bit since the days of the Collegium’s legendary founder, Quaeryt, but they have to attempt to do the seemingly impossible, and solve the many problems that Solidar is facing in the pages of Madness in Solidar. Alistar deals with the problems with an amazing degree of tact and diplomacy, though in other novels in the series, he resorts more to the use of strength and hardness.
L.E. Modesitt’s Imager Portfolio series began in 2009 with Imager. With Madness in Solidar, the ninth novel in the series, the author continues the Imager saga, though he also begins a new adventure featuring as its hero the little-known though talented Imager, Alaster. L.E. Modesitt, Jr., has long been a pillar of the fantasy genre, for well over two decades. Madness in Solidar is proof that the author is still at the height of his creative powers. Highly recommended for anyone who loves to read fantasy novels, Madness in Solidar is a Must Read for fans of the Imager Portfolio series.
Written By Douglas Cobb