Scholar—Pursuit of a Different Dream

By L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Don’t all heroes in fantasy dream about becoming the supreme mage, ruler, liberator, warrior, or the like?  And even if they don’t have that dream, don’t most of them end up doing something like that in order to get their dream?

In the new Imager Portfolio subseries, beginning with Scholar, the main character is Quaeryt, and, of course, he has a dream.  But because of his background, that dream is rather different from most dreams and ambitions one reads about in fantasy.  To begin with, Quaeryt doesn’t know his birth name, nor from where he comes.  He also has odd white-blond hair and a bad leg. He’s been raised by the scholars of Solis to become a junior scholar, and it’s not been an easy path, so much so that he ran away to become a seaman for part of his youth and had to crawl and grovel to be taken back by the scholars.  He does have one advantage: his tutor happened to also be the tutor of the heir to the throne of Telaryn, and Quaeryt came to know the young Lord Bhayar.  So Bhayar occasionally gives Quaeryt scholarly tasks to do, and the scholars of Solis allow Quaeryt to remain at their scholarium because… well… it’s useful to have a scholar who has access to the man who will rule.

Quaeryt has more than one secret, but the most critical one is that he’s an imager at a time when the land is being fragmented into five warring nations and when imagers are often hunted down and killed. To make matters worse, he can feel the scrutiny of court politics turning toward him because he is different and an acquaintance of Bhayar, who has recently come to power.  So Quaeryt gets himself sent on a paid mission to recently conquered Tilbor, ostensibly to see if he can recommend a better way of governing the province… and to remove himself from scrutiny in Solis while he tries to find a way to follow his dream. Except—and there are always exceptions—just before he is to leave Solis, he finds himself beckoned into the privategardenofBhayar’s family, where Bhayar’s youngest sister hands him a letter.  But… it’s not a love letter, nor is it a letter about court intrigue, not directly, but something far more dangerous for a scholar… and Quaeryt is about to discover that he only thought he knew all the secrets that surround him, let alone those he is about to discover in Tilbor.

Scholar is also a different book in another way, because while Quaeryt is pursing his secret dream, one that he doesn’t even allow himself to often think about, he is constantly striving to stay out of the limelight, to avoid being noticed, and even when he is favorably noticed, attempting to give credit to others.

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3 thoughts on “Scholar—Pursuit of a Different Dream

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