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Wellspring of Chaos (Saga of Recluce) [Hardcover]

L. E., Jr. Modesitt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2004 Saga of Recluce (Book 12)
Kharl is the best cooper in Brysta, one of the major cities in Nordla, and his life has been as ordered and dependable as his barrels. His trouble begins when he saves his neighbour's daughter from the violent advances of two upper-class men. Then he rescues an actual rape victim he finds unconscious in an alley, a blackstaffer - a young expatriate mage - from Recluce, and that makes his wife very uneasy. The culprit in both cases turns out to have been Egen, the cruel and corrupt son of the local ruler. When the blackstaffer is mysteriously murdered in Kharl's cooperage, Kharl is jailed, tried and flogged, and in a shocking turnaround, released - and his consort executed for murder, which she did not commit. Egen again. Kharl ends up on the run, with jut a handful of coins and a few clothes, but he also takes the slain woman's black staff and her book, The Basis of Order, which explains the principles of its power. The diligent cooper is about to learn a new, very different skill.

Wellspring of Chaos is the twelfth book in the Recluce Saga and takes place roughly 60 years after the close of The Order War (Recluce #4). It is Modesitt at the top of his form, returning to his most famous fantasy world, yet does not require previous knowledge of Recluce to be enjoyed. Its publication is sure to be one of the fantasy milestones of the year.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765309076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765309075
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 537,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

No matter what anyone claims, writers are made, not born, and what and how they write is the result of just how they were made... or how they made themselves. I began by writing poetry, which was published only in small magazines, and then went on to write administrative reports while I was a U.S. Naval aviator, followed by research papers, speeches, economic and technical studies, and policy and briefing papers. Along the way, I've been a delivery boy; a lifeguard; an unpaid radio disc jockey; a U.S. Navy pilot; a market research analyst; a real estate agent; director of research for a political campaign; legislative assistant and staff director for U.S. Congressmen; Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues; a college lecturer and writer in residence; and unpaid treasurer of a civic music arts association.

As a result, my writing tends to incorporate all of the above, in addition to the science fiction I read from a very early age. After close to sixty published novels, and perhaps a score of short stories, it's fairly clear to me that "what kind of writer" I am for readers tends to depend on which of my books each reader has read.

Along the way, I've weathered eight children, a fondness for three-piece suits [which has deteriorated into a love of vests], a brown Labrador, a white cockapoo, an energetic Shih-tzu, two scheming dachshunds, a capricious spaniel, a crazy Saluki-Aussie, and various assorted pet rodents. Finally, in 1989, to escape nearly twenty years of occupational captivity in Washington, D.C., I escaped to New Hampshire. There I was fortunate enough to find and marry a lovely lyric soprano, and we moved to Cedar City, Utah, in 1993, where she directs the voice and opera program at Southern Utah University and where I attempt to create and manage chaos in the process of writing.




Product Description

Review

"Strong supporting characters, vivid settings and creative approach to mythos and magic enhance this richly detailed story. New readers should feel comfortable in Modesitt's world, where chaos and order reign in delicate balance, while series fans will welcome this return to familiar ground. As usual, Modesitt handles his world-building and characterization with ease. While knowledge of the previous books in the series will enhance the reading experience, it's not a requirement to enjoying this stand-alone tale. This newest entry in the Saga of Recluce is a gift for fans and new readers alike."-"Romantic Times Bookclub" on "Wellspring of Chaos" (a "Top Pick")"The prolific Modesitt's 12th Recluce fantasy, his first since 2001's "Scion of Cyador", delights from start to finish. . . . .In a genre saturated with callow youngsters who grow into heroes, Modesitt effortlessly builds an epic adventure around an ordinary, middle-aged man. This marks a welcome new chapter in the Recluce saga, with the ending all but promising a sequel."-"Publishers Weekly "on "Wellspring of Chaos""Modesitt's excellent new story has thought-provoking underpinnings that will snare newcomers as well as old Recluce hands."-"Booklist "on "Wellspring of Chaos" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., is the bestselling author of the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce, Corean Chronicles, and the Imager Portfolio. His science fiction includes "Adiamante," the Ecolitan novels, the Forever Hero Trilogy, and "Archform: Beauty." Besides a writer, Modesitt has been a U.S. Navy pilot, a director of research for a political campaign, legislative assistant and staff director for a U.S. Congressman, Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues, and a college lecturer. He lives in Cedar City, Utah. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Kharl stood at the front window of his shop, looking westward for a moment at the wedge of twilight sky visible between the slate roofs of the buildings on the far side of the narrow Crafters' Lane. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recluse Fans Will Love This 2 July 2014
By Chaddy
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books (number 12) in the series (& its follow up Ordermaster). Both had me reading well into the night, could not put them down until i had finished. If you love fantasy books & have not read the Recluse Saga books yet i strongly recommend you get started on all 16 books now, its not often that someone writes a series as good as this, only two books in the series were below par, i`m glad to say this is not one of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well spring of Chaos 8 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Karl is a Cooper and he makes fine barrels. But events and Chaos destroy his life wife and nearly him before he learns to think and feel that he is more. Helping those around him as his Mage abilities grow leads to great change for the better thru strife.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wellspring of chaos 11 Jun 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Book 12 of the Saga of Recluse.
Kharl the cooper, honesty, and community spirited gets himself into trouble helping others. He needs to leave his business, family and home as he has become the target of men more mean spirited and they are hunting him down. The journey changes his life.
I really enjoyed this book, a different pace to others in the series, but really well written.The characters are interesting and multidimensional although you can guess quickly who is on the side of order and who isn't quick enough.
Cannot wait to start the next in the series.
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17 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Order magic Book 8 May 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Kharl is the best cooper in Brysta, one of the major cities in Nordla, and his life has been as ordered and dependable as his barrels. His trouble begins when he saves his neighbour's daughter from the violent advances of two upper-class men. Then he rescues an actual rape victim he finds unconscious in an alley, a blackstaffer - a young expatriate mage - from Recluce, and that makes his wife very uneasy. The culprit in both cases turns out to have been Egen, the cruel and corrupt son of the local ruler. When the blackstaffer is mysteriously murdered in Kharl's cooperage, Kharl is jailed, tried and flogged, and in a shocking turnaround, released - and his consort executed for murder, which she did not commit. Egen again. Kharl ends up on the run, with jut a handful of coins and a few clothes, but he also takes the slain woman's black staff and her book, The Basis of Order, which explains the principles of its power. The diligent cooper is about to learn a new, very different skill.
Wellspring of Chaos is the twelfth book in the Recluce Saga and takes place roughly 60 years after the close of The Order War (Recluce #4). It is Modesitt at the top of his form, returning to his most famous fantasy world, yet does not require previous knowledge of Recluce to be enjoyed. Its publication is sure to be one of the fantasy milestones of the year.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Recluce novel since Chaos Balance, if still formulaic 22 April 2004
By Indy Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Wellspring of Chaos is probably the best Recluce novel Modesitt has penned since the Chaos Balance, a solid if not spectacular addition to a series that had badly run out of gas the last few books. What makes it better? The good books in the series share the common thread of exploring the intriguing cultures and magic of Recluce; the bad ones use it as a backdrop for what has become a bit of a repeating boy-overcomes-obstacles-to-be-world-changing-mage/Emperor/etc. The good news is this has a lot more in common with the former.
The story is one we've heard before and unfortunately elements remain formulaic enough to knock it down a star. Without ruining plot, Kharl the Cooper is a good-deeds type who does a good deed for the wrong person, gets forced from his home, sails around the globe (literally), finds himself in exile, and helps out the land and people of his exile. Substitute sail for wander and Recluce has seen this tale told before - Magic of Recluce, Towers of the Sunset, Magic Engineer, Order War, Fall of Angels, among others. It's familiar territory, for better or for worse.
Now the good news. First, Kharl is Modesitt's first middle-aged Recluce protagonist since Nylan in the Chaos Balance, meaning Modesitt ratchets Kharl's observation level of life's travails up a few notches from his typical kid. This doesn't mean Kharl is any quicker off the bat than some others - his awakening as an Order Mage resembles that of Lerris - but we don't have to watch him do truly dumb things. Second, the wanderjahr is better done than any book since Chaos Balance. Kharl visits almost every major city on the planet in his sailing, and its the exploration of the different cultures in this well articulated world that make this worth reading. Nordla and Austra finally get explored, as well as side trips into Hamor, Recluce and Candar, the last of which features some neat cameos by previous series characters. As it turns out, Austra and Nordla don't feel much different from various Candar provinces, but its still interesting reading. Finally, Kharl does interesting things with Order magic - there's new tricks in that old dog.
The formulaic aspect to the plot clearly subtracts a bit, meaning this is good but doesn't rank with the very best of the series (such as Towers or Death of Chaos). Still, its the best of Recluce in several years, and the various plot threads Modesitt leaves undone means we'll get a sequel of hopefully similar quality.
It's also not a bad entry point for the series given that Kharl has to have the history of Candar explained to him by his shipmates, meaning you get a pretty solid background even if you don't know the series. Those of us who have a bookshelf full of Modesitt first editions and would buy the next just to keep the series complete have a worthwhile read ahead.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a solid offering by Modesitt 20 May 2004
By Joe Sherry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Set some sixty years after the events of "The Order War", "Wellspring of Chaos" is the new entry in the world of Recluse. Rather than setting the events on Candar or Recluse, we are brought to a new location: the island of Nordla. Kharl is a cooper (he makes barrels) in the city of Brysta. Kharl is a man of honor and he is compelled to do the right thing. He does not consider the cost of doing the right thing; he just acts because it is the right thing to do. Kharl first stops the assault of his neighbor's daughter. He next rescues a young blackstaffer (an exile from Recluse, they are generally unpopular) and takes her into his home to give her time to rest and heal. This is over the objections of his wife. She insists that this will bring them to ruin. She is right. These two good deeds set in motion that which will change Kharl's life.
When the blackstaffer is found murdered, Kharl is blamed by the authorities. They know quite well that he had nothing to do with it, but Kharl's earlier good deeds puts him at odds with them. He is falsely imprisoned and he loses his wife and his children (how he loses his wife and children I will up to the reader to discover). Kharl must escape Brysta before he loses his life. He ends up taking a berth on a ship owned by one of his former customers and works as a carpenter for a time. Kharl also begins learning about his inclination towards Order (which will make sense if you have read other Recluse novels), and who he may really be.
"Wellspring of Chaos" was a good Recluse novel. For one of the few times (or maybe first) in the series, the main character is a middle aged man rather than a kid going out on his quest. This changes how Kharl reacts to things and how he thinks, though he still is a bit nave at times. As always, "Wellspring of Chaos" is not substantially different from the other Recluse novels. They have a similar feel and if I wasn't told that Brysta is in Nordla rather than Candar, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. The good thing is that if you do not try to read the whole series one right after another, this is a good story with a fairly likeable protagonist and is a nice addition to the series. Similar series of events happen to Kharl that might have happened to any number of protagonists in Recluse, but Modesitt is a solid enough writer that it is easy to get engaged in the story and it doesn't matter what other novels have come before (even if there are 11 previous novels).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb storytelling based on gripping characterisation 9 Nov 2005
By ilmk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Modesitt Jr's `Wellspring of Chaos' takes us to Nordla, thence to the town of Brysta to the home of a middle aged cooper named Kharl whose aptitude for woodcraft is quietly pushed along in his cooperage. He suffers from all the usual problems of a well settled man, teenage sons with issues, a wife pushing him along to improve the business, the daily struggle of providing for his family. As a periodical so aptly indicates on the jacket, there are no youthful "callow youngsters who grow into heroes" just a hard-working man who suffers the cruelest of fates when he decides to help a young female Recluce blackstaffer who is beaten and left for dead on his workstep.

The social consequences of his individual kindness means his charge is murdered under cover of an arson, his sons leave him, his wife is arbitrarily executed by the actions of a prideful and callous young nobleman, his cooperage is attacked and then he is taxed out of his home and his place in society is irrevocably destroyed. Force to flee and hide in the town's gutters, he befriends another runaway, Jeka, and his patient, logical approach begins to reveal a hidden talent for order. With Jelendra's staff (the dead mage from Recluce) and her `The Basis for Order' book he kills a white mage who is preying on the youth of Brysta to gain new life and finds himself fleeing to the sea and taking a position as second carpenter on the Seastag under captain Hagen. After proving himself a capable fighter and using the tentative beginnings of his order power to assist the ship he finds himself involved in a political and real battle to save Lord Ghrant's lands. His single handed destruction of a powerful mage and the opposing lord elevates his status far beyond that of a cooper and hands him a minor landholding.

Clearly the beginning of at least a two novel story about Kharl, Modesitt again effortlessly proves that he can create a fantasy tale of true magic around a very ordinary character in much the same way he has done with the Corean Chronicles. It is the mark of an excellent storyteller that you can get eighty odd pages into a novel, pause and realise all you've really done is learn about making barrels and the trade of said barrels, but be throughly entertained. A clear case of superb characterisation removing the need for quick fix plots that lurch from one big explosion to another to keep reader attention because the characters themselves engender no empathy at all. For any fan of the fantasy genre Modesitt is in a very different league to many others simply because of his style. Character is more important than plot, narrative is tightly drawn and captivating and the novels are strangely gripping.

Luckily, Modesitt is a prolific author so there's never any lack of material to read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Return to the World of Recluce 18 April 2004
By James D. DeWitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Three years after the somewhat formulaic "Cyador" books, Modesitt has returned to the world of Recluce, this time to the tale of Kharl, a cooper - a barrel maker - in Nordla, a northern island-continent across the Eastern Sea from Recluce and Candar, the sites of the 11 earlier books. And for the first time, the protagonist is a grown man, with a consort and two teenage children.
While the overall plot remains much the same as the earlier books, there are at least a few important changes from those earlier books. Kharl suffers losses and wrongs not experienced by any of the earlier Recluce protagonists. He is a mature man, not the callow youths we have seen earlier. And his experiences take place in Nordla and in other parts of the world that we've not seen before. But along the way, fans of the Recluce series will encounter familiar characters: Talryn from "The Magic of Recluce," Justen from "The Order War," and several others. "Wellspring of Chaos" occurs some years after the destruction of Fairhaven at the end of "The Order War" and not too long before the events of "The Magic of Recluce."
It's good to see Modesitt stretching a little bit. It would be better to see him stretch a little more. But the story is fun, and the ties into the earlier stories - the destroyed tower of the Duke of Lydiar, for example - is seamless. You don't have to know a thing about the Recluce series to enjoy this book, but if you are familiar with the series you will be delighted at the sly references.
There will plainly be a sequel; Modesitt gets suitable mileage out of a good character. I look forward to it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version lacking... 9 April 2009
By R. Grau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book itself is fine. I would give the book a good review. But, the Kindle version of the book stinks. The type font is filled with mistakes, extra marks on the page and broken text. Add to it that the fond is alternatively normal in font type then suddenly you have a word or two that are displayed in BOLD font.

Finally, when I turn my Kindle off with this book, then start the Kindle again, the book starts from the beginning again. NOT a good sign.

So, the only reason this review is so poor is NOT the author's fault. It is the specific version for the Kindle. If the font type was consistent and easier to read the review would be much more positive.
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