As a writer Modesitt is an impressive human factory rattling off one book after another. The whole Imager series was a fairly obvious attempt to diversity his offerings after the Recluse series, but despite its early variations in the art scene and the fantasy French setting, by Imager’s Intrigue the books have hopelessly converged back to their Recluse origins with the same trajectory.
Sure all the books are basically the same. The brash youthful main character learns the study of magic, copes with a distant and uncommunicative mentor, finds a girl and marries her, and then gets down to working at some sort of job or running a business while developing skills that the other characters find ridiculously superhuman. But some still manage to be entertaining, which is more than you can say for Imager’s Intrigue which finds the main character, name long forgotten, working at his police job, married and with a kid or two, until the villains of one of the previous novels, evil capitalists, shell the Imager academy forcing him to root them out.
This sounds exciting, but really isn’t. The first third of Imager’s Intrigue reads like a log with the character getting up, going off to work and doing nothing much there. Then coming home and eating dinner with his family. The book picks up a bit after that, but not by very much. The villains are still the same old capitalists who want to overthrow a monarchy and this time there aren’t any wild cards.
By the end the main character commits genocide against them, wiping out millions of people, without even yawning. The author doesn’t find this too awful either. And even that moment happens off-screen while the main character is doing such exciting things as eating breakfast and checking in with the local police. The banality of evil would apply here, because it’s banal and evil. But mostly banal.