Imager’s Intrigue takes five years after the events of Imager’s Challenge. Rhenn has settled into his position as the Patrol Captain for the Third District and as an imager. He and his wife are doing well in their careers and have well placed social contacts and an extremely active toddler. Rhenn’s situation becomes considerably less comfortable when a string of deaths leads him to become aware of a conspiracy and the actions of enemy agents.
Then someone decides that it would be a great idea to blow up Rhenn’s house. In addition to blowing up his house, two of the highest ranking members of the Collegium are murdered. Rhenn is forced to take extreme and decisive action. (It should be noted that Rhenn’s idea of “decisive” is generally terrifyingly ruthless. I think Rhenn is one of the more scary Modesitt characters in this regard.)
The major theme of this book is maintaining traditional practices vs. progress. In the Council, there are those who want to change the status quo, and those who see the need of developing new technologies and upgrading the old. Refusing to change the way things are done leads to a situation where the country as a whole might be weakened because it is not able to keep up with the advances being made in other countries. Likewise, Rhenn realizes that the Collegium must change the way it has done things in order to both protect imagers and the only country that doesn’t condemn the ability out of hand. Another area where change is an important concept is Rhenn’s efforts to improve the quality of life of the people in his District and his more subtle efforts to bring positive change to the Civic Patrol.
Imager’s Intrigue is full of subtle political maneuvers and action interspersed with “ordinary” family concerns. The relationship/partnership between Rhenn and his wife Seliora continues to hit all the right notes for me. (I have a weak spot for warm, competent partnerships where it is obvious that there is good communication between the two people in the relationship, and they both clearly rely on the other’s advice and support. You don’t really see this very often in a lot of series.) I also liked the addition of their daughter, who appears to have her parents cornered a good deal of the time. (Again, there was a very good balance between obviously competent parenting and a child that is too active and rambunctious for anyone’s good.) I find that I am enjoying this series much more than I did the later Recluce novels.