Kharl is a cooper who loses everything after preventing the rape of a neighbo'rs daughter by a prince. After obtaining a staff from an order mage who was also a victim of the prince, Kharl leaves his home and learns that he too has the makings of an order mage and learns how to use his powers to make a difference.
This report prepared by Randall Pursley
Tor, April 2004, 27.95, 448 pp.
In the city of Brysta in the realm of Nordla, Kharl is contented with his work as a highly regarded cooper, loves his wife and two sons. When Kharl hears a cry he comes to the rescue of a neighbor's daughter who is being attacked by two men. He finds out that one of the attackers is nobleman Captain Egen of the City Guard. Egen considers Kharl an enemy so when a young woman is murdered, the captain arranges for Kharl to be arrested for the crime.
Testimony proves that Kharl couldn't have murdered anyone but his wife is convicted of the crime and he has to helplessly watch her execution. His sons flee because they know Egen is waiting to kill them. Kharl leaves the country and begins to realize that he has the powers of a mage. He learns how to harness that power which comes in handy when battling pirates or being involved in a civil war.
WELLSPRING OF CHAOS takes place in the Recluse universe but that country is hardly involved in the storyline so this is a book that can be read by people who haven't perused the other novels of L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (though they come highly recommended).. The protagonist is a hero in the true sense of the word because he does what is right no matter the personal cost and does not seek revenge for the crimes against him. Kharl grows into his powers slowly as an outgrowth of his profession so the audience believes that his mage power is real. The author once again writes a fantasy novel that is simply superb.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner