Assassin's Price

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Assassin's Price

Postby Jimbo1 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:04 am

Another excellent installment to the Imager Portfolio! There is just no world building like Mr. M's world building. Now I have to wait for the next one. (Sigh)
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby loki51 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:52 pm

Mr Modesitt, just finished this. Generally enjoyed it but this is the only Imager or Recluce novel I am unlikely to re-read (almost ever other I have read at "least" twice, most many more). I'm trying to decide why this book missed the mark for me, or I should say generates no interest in revisiting at a later date. Will keep it general and basically spoiler free. The main character is a ruler and is not an Imager. The whole story takes place in around 3 months I believe. The main character is also held to a fairly small area with minor travel. The interactions the main character has with others seems to be a far smaller scope then the rest of your stories. It is almost like it was written in a play format and leaning toward a mystery. I'm not saying these are bad things, just that they differ from all the rest in either series so might be part of the problem for me at least.

I have to assume these changes were a deliberate effort on your part to "change it up" so to speak. Care to share any thoughts about this book and why the rather major shift (to me) in tone or structure. Maybe I'm missing something or overstating it, but I am curious. I also wish to note that if there is a sequel novel I plan to eagerly read it. Your characters and world building make these worth reading, the question is more about what makes them enjoyable to RE-READ :)
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby lmodesitt » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:20 pm

I have to say that I don't think that there's any real change in tone, either of dialogue or description, but the scope is, as you noted, more focused. One of the reasons for this is that rulers, despite all too much fantasy [erroneously, I think] to the contrary, actually inhabit a restricted world. This was brought home to me when I worked in Washington. And it's often not the happiest world, creature comforts notwithstanding, where every word can mean either nothing or have multiple meanings, where no one can be completely trusted, and where your friends and family can often be more deadly than your avowed enemies.

This sort of restrained grittiness isn't everyone's cup of tea, but that was the story I needed to tell.

The other aspect of Assassin's Price is that it's told from the viewpoint of a man who's not an imager. There were several reasons why I did this. First, the focus on the imagers in the first ten books creates a misleading feeling of their omnipresence in society, when the vast majority of people know of them, but seldom encounter them, and I wanted to put them in perspective. Second, Charyn's story can't be told from an imager's point of view. I know. Initially, I tried to write the book from the point of view of different imagers. None of them worked.

I didn't write the book the way I did just to "change things up." I wrote it the way I did because it was the only believable way to tell this particular story. Also, it would have been a cop-out to turn Charyn into an imager.

Those are the best answers I can give.

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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby Silver_Phoenix » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:54 am

Unfortunately, I have to agree with loki51 in that this book didn't work for me. I can understand that rational you present, but I think the "misleading feeling" is yours alone. When I read an IP book, I want to read about imagers. You could have called this book "powerless" and been more acurate.

I just couldn't invest myself in the main character and without the imager focus it reads like historical fiction...
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby Jimbo1 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:33 am

I respectfully disagree. I found sufficient imaging to keep the story clearly in this world view, while presenting a different aspect of that world.

I've found all of the author's stories in his different series to be driven by character (and characters), regardless of their special talents. It's character that drives the tales, not talent, IMHO.
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby loki51 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:23 am

First I wish to thank Mr Modesitt for his reply, it is a joy to actually interact with my favorite writer (extant). I see why the Rex could not be an imager, prior books have made strong points that the people distrust the imagers and would not accept one as a ruler. For me the story would have been more enjoyable if maybe he had a friend who was an imager or he interacted more with Malyna
Spoiler: show
](as an imager).[/spoiler Perhaps these are planned as part the sequel, maybe Malyna has potential as a wife. It was indicated she would not be suitable (due to being an imager) but is that an actual law?[spoiler]
In the "Recluce" series you have rulers with "Blacks" as wives, even if that is frowned upon. So would it be possible for the Rex to have an imager as a wife. It would make sense that the Rex could use the abilities of an imager close for protection if nothing else and of course there is imager blood in the Rex's linage already.

The younger brother is also a problem for me. Having a younger brother myself, the friction part is easy to understand :lol: But the fact Charyn became Rex with little to no training himself, you would think he would make some effort to train/utilize his brother to avoid the same problems. Yes the short time frame does compress some potential actions, but Charyn (and the reader) are given clear indications that the brother and his training/attitudes could represent serious future problems. I know he has a lot on his plate but you would think he would take some kind of action or that his clearly very sharp mother would "suggest" something.

There will be a sequel to "Assassins Price", won't there :? Will this be a 2 or 3 book arc? If I have the time line right you are coming up close on where the first book ("IMAGER") started. While you can (and have already) overlapped your book timelines it does make it more difficult.
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby JTass » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:59 pm

I just downloaded my copy from Audible. Looking forward to starting it on my commute home today.
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby stephenheath » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:06 pm

I have to disagree with all the others, while I love all of the recluse and imager books, I REALLY enjoyed this one because the imagers were peripheral rather than the main focus... I mean, there's 200 of them in the whole population, to the point most people aren't even aware of them, but every book we learn everything about them... it's really nice to have the background and yet see the big event (which I assume basically takes place in the next book, this is lead up to it) unfolding. I love the magic/imaging too, but the timespans for recluse/imager are epic, and a lot of non-magic stuff impacts the world too. It was what I loved about Queart (ok, I admit it, I can't remember the proper spelling and I'm too lazy to look it up), not JUST his ass kicking when called to battle, but the administration and logistics that went with it and how he made his abilities work for him in dealing with those problems.

And on a side note... thank you so much for continuing to write instead of retiring Mr. Modesitt... there's nothing like the feeling when Amazon sends me a new hardcover you've written (well, except for one Terry Brooks has written.. I go back with both of you two many decades to give either of you up :) ).
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby lmodesitt » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:41 pm

As I've noted elsewhere, I am working on the sequel to Assassin's Price, but it will be a while before I'm ready to say much about it, except that Charyn is the protagonist.

Even in worlds with magic, not everything is about the magic, as Stephen Heath has pointed out, nor should it be. Because, if it is, then there's the danger that all the people in the entire rest of the world become mere spear-carriers to the magic wielders, and they can easily become a fairy-prince aristocracy. Charyn's complete story is vital because, without him, the Solidar of Rhennthyl would never have happened, and without telling the story from his viewpoint, it would look like deus ex machina. At least, as the author, that's what I believe. When the sequel is published, you all can make that judgment.

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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby Mythbhavd » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:14 pm

Assassin's Price is quickly going down as one of my favorite Imager Portfolio books. Several months ago, my wife and I were discussing books. I told her that I'd love to see a book written in a world with magic in which the main character was not able to wield that magic. I love the different worlds created by Mr. Modesitt and how the magic systems have been developed. I've enjoyed his characters, many of whom have found their abilities to be as much a challenge as a blessing. This book, though, looks at life through the eyes of the others and I appreciate that.

In many ways, this book reminded me of The Green Progression and The One Eyed Man. I enjoyed the political realism and the fact that, while Charyn had some training, he had to rely on his own wits and willingness to learn to determine how to move forward in a world in which the majority of those with whom he must deal either do not understand or do not care about the reality facing him. As a pastor, I can say that Mr. Modesitt imaged the nail perfectly into place with this story. I've seen exactly these types of machinations take place on a smaller scale. I sympathized deeply with Charyn.

It was also touching to see the support he had from both Palenya and Chelia. It is amazing how much can be accomplished in a hostile situation when you have someone who is loving and gently honest with you.

This was a fantastic book and left me wanting more. Now that it's finished, I find myself trying to figure out what to read next. Anyone have suggestions?
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby IndomitableEm » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:12 pm

So would it be possible for the Rex to have an Imager as a wife.


Mr. Modesitt does a very good job of explaining in this book that Imagers would not be accepted as wives for either the Rex or for even high holders (possibly even for factors). As was mentioned, there is too much distrust of Imagers, too much stereotyping that they are Namer-spawn.

I thought this book was fascinating, and I can confidently say I loved reading it. Seeing the world through the eyes of a non-Imager, even one as highly placed as the Rex, created such a deeper understanding of the Imager world and strengthens its verisimilitude.

Spoiler: show
I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, if only to see how Charyn's story continues or wraps up. If I recall correctly from Rhenn's series of books, Rex Charyn was the final Rex before abdicating and forming the full council we know of from Rhenn's books, and that council includes the crafting guilds in addition to factors, High Holders, and an Imager. My assumption is that the next book will be the events that lead to that choice, and of course I hope we will see the choices that lead to Charyn continuing as High Holder Suyrien, creating his shipworks and making Solidar the force it was in Rhenn's books.
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby JTass » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:26 am

I also recalled from the Rhenn storyline that Charyn was the last Rex before the council was officially made the governing body of Solidar. It occurred to me while I was listening to Assassin's Price that a possible explanation for Charyn's abdication is because he decided to marry Malyna, and was given an ultimatum that the populace would not tolerate a Rex whose wife was an imager.
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby Silver_Phoenix » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:34 pm

Mr Modesitt,

Since you have decided to make erroneous assumption about me on your blog, I'll respond here. First of all, I had NO preconceptions about this book before reading it other than that it took place in the Imager universe. I don't appreciate you misrepresenting my post to promote a false narrative on your part. I don't read the synopsis for most of your books because you are currently my favorite author. I've liked most of your books so much that I purchase the hardcover versions instead of waiting for the paperback versions to be released. You are the only author that I afford this privilege. The major reason I had difficulty enjoying this book beyond the lack of an imager focus is that it deals with a politician and political maneuvering. In this day and age can't you conceive that some of us are burnt out about Politics. I often look to your books to escape from this madness. I'm sorry that I couldn't enjoy this book as much as your other works, but that is my right. Had this book be released in the 70's, I probably would have liked it better, but now... Don't presume that you know me and my reasons for not enjoying a book based on one post. Larry, on your blog echoed some of my sentiment.

While I found the dialog rich, I spent much of the book waiting for the action to happen. I understand your right and need to write this book. It's pretty much foreshadowed in the first trilogy, but that doesn't mean that I have to or will like it. I also don't particularly care for short stories, but it's not because of the content. For me, short stories are like going without food for a week and then being given a 1 oz bag of potato chips instead of a feast that a novel provides. That again is a personal choice.
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby lmodesitt » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:05 pm

I'm a little confused and surprised by your reaction. I said SEVERAL readers, not one reader. Here are the reader comments to which I was referring.

Comment #1: "The main character is not an imagine and it was difficult to get to interested as a resula."

Comment #2: "Meh. More of an "Admin adventure", I'm more into stories about Imagers and their powers. The appearance of Imagers in this book were almost incidental."

Comment #3: "I was disappointed. I expected to read a book about imagers."

Now, when I wrote the blog post, I frankly didn't remember your comment here on the forum. However, having re-read your comment, I can see why you might feel I I singled you out, but to me, at least these comments, as well as yours, suggest preconceptions about the book, and that I disappointed those preconceptions. You also made it quite clear that I disappointed your preconceptions. As a writer, I can't meet everyone's preconceptions, but of the more than 100 reader comments I've seen, having only four people disappointed suggests that most weren't that disappointed. I'm sorry that you were, but that's a risk all writers face. You've also mentioned that "some of us are burnt out about Politics." I can understand that, but that statement reveals a preconception on your part that all politics are the same. After more than twenty years in politics, I can assure you that not all politics are the same, except in the fact that they've never been particularly savory.

And Larry's comment pointed out that he and I had different conceptions about what an "Imager book" meant. He also said that while that he was initially concerned about it not being the kind of imager book he'd envisioned, he still liked it.


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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby Silver_Phoenix » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:46 pm

As one of those four, I just can't buy into your argument, and I'm surprised by your doubling down trying to rationalize your position. You of all people should know that what you personally believe to be true doesn't necessarily turn out to be true for others. You presumed to know what I think. That's arrogant, and that is what I take exception to. Suggests doesn't equate to actuality. I'm reminded of the movie Back to School where a professor rejects Rodney Dangerfield's essay on Kurt Vonnegut's works that was actually written by Kurt Vonnegut stating he doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut.

that statement reveals a preconception on your part that all politics are the same
You are a fiction writer. You may have been involved in a lot of politics, but that doesn't make you an authority on them. I read that part of your post as, "I reject your reality and substitute my own."

The only two "preconception" that I had with the book was that it was set in the Imager universe and that it would be well written. When you say
You also made it quite clear that I disappointed your preconceptions.
, I say you are wrong. The book was in the Imager universe and it was well written, but it was hard for me to even empathise with a a politician. I didn't particularly care for this particular book, so what. The fact that I didn't won't stop me from buying the sequel. What I don't care for is your insistence that you are an authority on my "preconceptions". Get over yourself and recognize that it's almost guaranteed that someone will take exception anything posted to the internet. I wouldn't have made these last posts if you hadn't insisted that you were right about my "preconceptions". If four out of 100 liked the book, why was it necessary to denigrate those who didn't? I must have hit a nerve to provoke the response you provided (yes, how arrogant of me).
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby lmodesitt » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:28 pm

First, Talk about preconceptions! My initial blog post wasn't even written in response to your post here, but in response to Amazon reader comments, but you immediately assumed it was about your post.

Second, after I read what you wrote in response, it seemed to me that you were disappointed in the fact that I hadn't written an imager main character. I read that disappointment as coming from a preconception, and I said so.

Obviously, I misread what you wrote, but just as I am judged by the words I write... so are you.

If having studied politics and economics and gotten a degree in both, if having spent a career spanning more than twenty years in politics from the grassroots all the way through being senior national political staffer, and then a political consultant doesn't make one a bit of an authority on politics, then there are no authorities on politics -- and maybe there aren't.


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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby CodeBlower » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:34 pm

Just finished "Price".


First -- from the discussion going on here -- I would say you've succeeded with this book where the last few Imager books fell short.

I've got to believe -- as the author -- you want your books read and discussed. That's obviously working here. Congratulations.


[I'm going to try to be vague enough, here, to avoid the "spoiler" tag. If I fail, somebody please edit.]


On the book, itself, I fall more into the "loved it" camp. Actually, I think I would've liked it more if there were fewer imagers in the book.


I loved the contrast we see in this glimpse into the Imager world.

So often we see new arrivals from the Isle side of the bridge -- it was nice to see things from the other side.

We see the Isle responding to requests from the Rex -- and trying to figure out how to maintain proper distance while helping the nation. Here, we get two different Rex perspectives on why/not to call for help -- and how to respond when it arrives.

Seeing how Quaryt is remembered -- and forgotten -- and the difference between how a Rex learns their history -- vs. and Imager.


I'm still waiting to learn a little more about our greatly-despised, younger brother.

I think he's been treated better than he deserves.

We'll see if I'm right.


Charyn's mom -- for all her machinations -- is one of the kindest people we've met who occupied the role she does.

There are several people, here, who owe what successes they've had to her planning and "suggestions".


I've always enjoyed your political pieces.

Here, we have a great window into the challenges and rewards of rooting out corruption that has embedded itself over the last couple "administrations".

(It also does a swell job of -- contrast again -- showing that the Isle is not the only group that has skeletons loitering in a few closets.)


Despite this book taking place -- for the most part -- in the palace, we learn an awful lot about Imagers in this piece.

Who knew that all of the diverse backgrounds from which Imagers came -- and the training received at the Isle -- would be so useful (and fulfilling)?

The answer: we all did -- but this book does a good job of reminding us -- and highlighting how beneficial all of that investment can be to citizens on the other side of the bridge.

By focusing our attention on Charyn, we get a chance to see lots of Imagers -- doing what they do best -- who aren't visible enough to show up in the news-sheets -- or warrant their own Imager Portfolio book.
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The gelding is what the gelding is, unlike people who change in response to their perceptions of events that may benefit or threaten their power. -- Lorn, Chapter LXXXII, Magi'i of Cyador
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Re: Assassin's Price

Postby Rigger » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:30 pm

I fall into the 'loved it' camp.

Charyn lives in a world where the foibles of heredity mean everything to a person's standing and (mostly) determines a person's place/lot in life. And it is a world where disagreements with your betters and your parents have serious and harsh consequences. Few of us know what that is actually like.

And the subtext commentary about politicians not actually knowing how the real economy works is timely and (unfortunately) true.
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