Rex Regis: A very human tale

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsRex Regis by L.E. Modesitt JrRex Regis by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Regis Regis is the eighth book of the IMAGER PORTFOLIO and the fifth book following Quaeryt. After literally years of hard work, war, and nothing less than miraculous events, the curtain begins to close on this part of Solidar’s history.

The fall of Antiago had been particularly painful for Quaeryt because of the loss of his child when his wife was injured. The reality of the constant threat of power-hungry competitors to influence the future of the continent of Lydar leaves Quaeryt with very little time to heal or mourn. In spite of his incredible success, Quaeryt knows that he must race back to report to Bhayar, now ruler of almost all of Lydar.

As in the previous four books, Quaeryt spends a great deal of time interacting with recalcitrant High Holders. These men enjoyed great power under the previous ruler of Bovaria, but are now very slow to adapt to Bhayar’s rule because they believe that they are somehow exempt from the constraints on the rest of humanity. There are notable exceptions to the rule, including men who, because of loyalty to personal family or who suffered tragedy at the hands of the previous ruler, are now open to change. Those side stories are often poignant, though they are often tragic.

Quaeryt and his highly intelligent, insightful, beautiful wife Vaelora (read that as cliché Modesitt female hero) are again given difficult tasks in order to support Bhayar. It has been almost frustrating to watch Bhayar continually struggle to embrace their support and insight. Bhayar just seems to constantly fight against the repeated demonstrations of Quaeryt’s loyalty and demonstrated expertise. It is part of what makes the story work because Bhayar doesn’t just magically supplant a lifetime of social and political culture with a completely new frame of reference. It’s a painful, difficult challenge and marks him as a monarch of quality.The Imager Portfolio by L.E. Modesitt Jr

The expected conflict between Quaeryt and the established military leadership finally comes to a head when Submarshal Myskyl’s continued insubordinate behavior forces Bhayar’s hand. After months of missing reports and hints of seditious activity coming from the north, Quaeryt is dispatched with his loyal troops and Imagers to investigate Myskyl.

Rex Regis would have been just another typical IMAGER book if it weren’t for Modesitt multifaceted representation of human society. In the High Holders we see how power corrupts, and the greater the power the greater the corruption. The Factors, business owners and shipping magnates, represent greed and how the absence of oversight or moral expectations leads to another form of corruption. These examples of human weakness have pervaded the books from the beginning, but in Rex Regis there were counterpoints. We see a Factor family more concerned with caring for each other than with accumulating greater wealth and status. We see a High Holder, who through personal tragedy, come to grips with the reality of his stewardship of those under his control.

Rex Regis, appears to be the final installment for Quaeryt. I may not have loved every minute of the journey from scholar to the Maitre of the College of Imagers, but it was worth the effort.


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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.

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