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Publisher's Summary

Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant in L'Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, the most powerful nation on Terahnar, he has spent years becoming a journeyman artist and is skilled and diligent enough to be considered for the status of master artisan - in another two years.

Then, in a single moment, his entire life is transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire and Rhenn discovers he is an imager - one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.

Rhenn is forced to leave his family and join the Collegium of Imagisle. Because of their abilities (they can do accidental magic even while asleep), and because they are both feared and vulnerable, imagers must live separately from the rest of society.

In this new life, Rhenn discovers that all too many of the "truths" he knew were nothing of the sort. Every day brings a new threat to his life. He makes a powerful enemy while righting a wrong, and he begins to learn to do magic in secret.

Imager is the innovative and enchanting opening of an involving new fantasy story.

©2009 L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; (P)2009 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Timorell
  • Dingmans Ferry, PA, United States
  • 11-02-10

I didn't love it

Agree with some of the other reviewers that the beginning is VERY slow. Also, the script of the protagonist's father, teachers and mentors is so patronizing, coupled with the narrators tone of the characters, makes it difficult to stay engaged. Feels like being in Catholic school (no offense intended!). Yes it gets better as it goes but not that great really. Rather flat. I think I'll stop here and look at some other series I've had my eye on. Perhaps I'll come back to it later...

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting concepts

Modesitt comes up with some interesting worlds. This is no exception. I'm not thrilled with the narrator. He reads the main character as petulant and many of the older men as pompous. I can certainly see how he'd get that from the writing but it is a bit hard to identify with a pouty protagonist.
I've come to expect a bit of preaching in Modesitt's books and this is no different. It's good enough but not great.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Powell, WY, United States
  • 05-28-10


I really liked the concept of the magic system, but in this book it seems like the only two thing you really see are shields and how to kill with it. I would have like to seen it go even farther, because it is such a powerful tool. The story opens very slowly, the first three hours talks about Rhenn's painting journeymanship. I almost gave up the book it was so boring. The pace never really picks, but the story does get a bit more intriguing after Rhenn learns that he is an Imager. Rhenn is modest about his ability or at least how little he understands how powerful he really is. Along the way he taught more than just his imager skills and learns to use his mind and body. Rhenn is also very good a piecing together clues using logic and deduction. The world is set in a period where steam power and guns are used. The narrator is good, but not great. While I don't enjoy this style of fantasy it was good enough I did pick up the second book. If you like this book you might enjoy "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Max
  • Peth, Australia
  • 12-02-11

An adequate book, with adequate production.

This audiobook was the epitome of an "adequate" fantasy. It hold my attention just enough to ensure that I finished it, but not enough to leave any lasting impression. There were some quaint ideas in here, but not too much as to be outright original.

In addition the production was similarly "OK". The reader, while not suited to the role, made a good attempt. However I feel that he gave many of the characters a strange tone at odds with what they are saying. Again its a matter of it being "good enough".

2.5/5 across the board.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 05-18-12

Imager kicks off a solid fantasy series.

The first 3 books of the Imager Portfolio follow the character of Rhennthyl as he grows from an innocent youth to a powerful Imager. L. E. Modesitt allows the reader to grow in their knowledge of Imaging and all of the politics around it just as Rhennthyl does. The benefits and dangers of Imaging are explained in detail and one can see why many social and political structures related to this powerful class of people would have evolved in such a world.

Terahnar is a rich complex place and more than just the "magic" that exists there. I found the economic structure and religous mythos to also be intruiging. L. E. Modesitt can take his detailed explanations of minutia a bit far at times and he does have a tendancy to focus on the various culinary dishes in detail. For me, that level of detail just made Terahnar seem more like a real world.

I enjoyed the first 3 books of the Imager Portfolio (the ones that follow Rhennthyl) and each one left me wanting more. I definitely recommend going at least that far into the series. I was disappointed when the 4th book did not continue on the same path as the first 3. The 4th book goes back into history a bit and I did not find the new main character to be interesting at all.

William Dufris does an excellent job on the narration.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tom N.
  • Whitesburg, Ga United States
  • 09-03-10

The first in a series of - 5 Stars

A book that pulls you into a new world. I just completed the first three books, and rate all 5 stars, and I rarely give 5 stars. The story line kept pulling me in. I would think I would stop at the next chapter, but I want to hear more and more. Modesitt does a great job developing the characters and the story. A must read (listen).

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pleased, very pleased.

the book started out slow, as many have mentioned. however, i enjoyed being slowly immersed into the world this story takes place in and to the characters themselves.

once the introduction fades away and the story really takes off any amount of perseverance one puts into getting through the introduction pays off in a big way.

i am waiting very impatiently for the next installment of this tale to surface. i would highly recommend this book to any fantasy fans out there as a rare gem.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Worth the slow start.

Don't give up after the what seems like too long an introduction. You will be rewarded for having a better understanding of the characters and the interesting world of Terahnar. An interesting treatise on human nature - no matter from what world they originate.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Good Beginning

This is a good beginning to an excellent series. It gets the full Modesitt treatment complete with unique world building, action, and a bit of romance. A solid read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A long, but good listen

Pretty good book. It was an adequate world with two moons, magic, varying religions, races, cultures and politics. I always wonder when I finish long books if it needed to be such along book? It was interesting to get into the life, daily thoughts and minutia of an imagers life . Yet, I feel it could easily have been an eight to ten hour book. I'm still off to buy the next one, I still think this one is worth a credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonny
  • 05-20-09

Looking forward to the next volume

An interesting new fantasy world. Really well written and read and a great story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Ronald L. Alcock
  • 12-03-15


What would have made Imager better?

A better
Storyline and narrator

What will your next listen be?

Not one of this author's

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of William Dufris?

Anybody would have done a better job but given the story it must have been difficult for him to stay awake anyway.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Imager?

All of it.

Any additional comments?


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  • M. Whiteside
  • 07-11-15

Brilliant book

What did you like most about Imager?

I liked Rhenn's discovery that he is an imager and being taken in by the imager college to be trained and discover the extent of his considerable skills.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked Rhenn's progression from a struggling artist to a successful and powerful imager. The romance which develops is also enjoyable.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed Rhenn's first assessment to determine if he was an imager.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Magic at its best

Any additional comments?

First book in a great series

  • Overall
  • Sparks
  • 09-22-11

enjoyable from the first chapter

I have really enjoyed this book, narration is great and storyline has left me wanting to download the remaining books in the series.

  • Overall
  • Nathalie
  • 08-24-11

Better than initial impression

I finally really enjoyed this book. I was very put off at the beginning by the narrator's accent - it's true that the narrator makes or breaks the audiobook - but I perservered as the story was good. In the end I was VERY glad I did as it was brilliant and I can't wait for the next one.

  • Overall
  • P. D. Smith
  • 04-24-10

Very good

Great book by a great author. I like all L E Modesitt's books, so I was expecting good things from this new series. I wasn't disappointed.

I must admit that at the start, I wasn't too keen on the narrator's accent, but after a few chapters, I got used to it, and I now hope he narrates the rest of the series as well

I'm downloading the second book in the series now.

If you like Modesitt's Recluse series, you'll love this new series as well.

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  • Jeremy
  • 04-24-15


I was disappointed in this book and really didn't enjoy it. Some of the core ideas were interesting but I just couldn't get into the story. There was little character development, so you didn't feel like you actually knew them and hence felt no empathy for them. There was very little description in the text (apart from the food and wine strangely!) and overly long dialog between characters. I found the writing particularly clunky.

The narration was OK but not great. I guess he did the best he could with the material.

I persisted with the story after reading some other reviews that said the last section was quite exciting. Unfortunately I didn't find it so and wish I hadn't wasted my time!

I won't be reading any more of the series. After just listening to Patrick Rothfuss's 'Name of the Wind' and 'The Wise Man's Fear' perhaps anything I listen to is going to be disappointing...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful