4 out of 5
Princeps is the fifth book in the Imager series and the second involving Quaeryt. Apparently 3 more books are expected in the series. This is not a standalone novel and does require reading Scholar first. Despite starting directly after the events in Scholar and finishing with obvious lead ins to the next novel Modesitt doesn’t leave off with a cliff hanger. There is a definite feeling of beginning, middle and end to the story. Princeps follows Modesitt’s usual path of having a strong, talented main character with serious doubts about his abilities being placed in situations where he gets into trouble for being a moral person. Again there is a situation where the main character is forced to use means outside of the law to right certain situations. This can be a little disturbing in that the main character regrets having to use such means but it doesn’t seem to affect his character. On several occasions he kills people who he is unable to prove are causing harm to others but it is rationalized as being the only way to solve the problem. In this series Modesitt also follows a theme of religious doubt. Quaeryt doubts the existence of the Nameless while still following the precepts of the religion, living modestly and caring for others. At the same time he has become quite adept at sharing his insights into the Nameless through the various sermons he ends up giving. His attempts to fix the problems of a corrupt city that has had a natural disaster create more problems for himself and his new wife and at times the only thing that keeps him alive is his marriage to the warlords sister. Throughout it all Quaeryt attempts to bring respect for the scholars and imagers. One thing that is difficult to swallow is that more people don’t put two and two together and realize he is an imager. Those close to him know and those that work with him suspect but considering the imaging work he does it is surprising no one else seems to get it. I have found that the Imager series is a little more complex in it’s view of life than the Recluse series. I look forward to the next book in the series.