In Imager’s Battalion, Quaeryt continues to further his goals in between leading imagers in battle against Bovaria and playing military chaplain. Since a part of his goal is to find ways to make imaging useful (which it is not, given that very little is known about the ability), the war gives him plenty of opportunity to do science. He also makes a few discoveries about a previous civilization that used imagers more extensively than his society, and learns more folklore related to Pharsi “lost ones.” He does not however discover why the locals are so superstitious about “black rabbits.” (As an aside, every time someone mentioned a black rabbit I’d fill in with “of Inlé,” for which I blame Watership Down.)
Modesitt’s male protagonists generally fit into a specific type. They tend to be very intelligent, somewhat socially clueless and emotionally closed off. They tend to problem solve in a way that is completely sensible, while also occasionally being completely bone-headed and lacking anything resembling tact. (And then they wonder why people slowly edge away from them. Spoiler: It’s because you’re scary, dude.) They also usually have some kind of life purpose, or slowly grow into one. Quaeryt very much fits the mold while also being very distinct in character. He continues to be an engaging character, and reading him slowly figure out how to use his abilities and pass on the techniques was as interesting as the military action to me.
This was a tightly written novel that I enjoyed reading. While I enjoyed the book, there were a few things that I wish had been given more detail, such as the continuing discoveries concerning the “lost ones” and the previous civilization. (Though given that Quaeryt is making most of these discoveries while in the middle of war zone, it’s understandable that we don’t really get a chance to learn anything.) I also ended up being a little impatient concerning certain supernatural elements that have been turning up as plot points. Modesitt does not write supernatural phenomenon very well (which yes, is a strange thing to say about a fantasy author), so I’m not sure how to take the possible supernatural elements. On one hand, I like Quaeryt’s continuing skepticism and preference for empirical data, on the other; I’m not sure where we’re going with all the premonitions and omens.