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Wellspring of Chaos

(The Saga of Recluce #12)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,033 ratings  ·  47 reviews

"An intriguing fantasy in a fascinating world." —Robert Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of The Wheel of Time® series

Kharl is the best cooper in Brysta, one of the major cities in Nordla, and his life has been as ordered and dependable as his barrels. His trouble begins when he saves a neighbor's daughter from the violent advances of two upper-class men. Then he r

Kindle Edition, 461 pages
Published (first published April 2004)
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Brandon Sanderson
(This review was written in 2004.)

I read my first L.E. Modesitt Jr. book back in the early nineties, right around the same time Robert Jordan was getting popular. My first thought, upon seeing The Magic of Recluce, was that Modesitt looked like a Jordan clone. He had the same cover artist, same publisher, and same general “feel.” I read the book, and found it interesting, but wasn’t overwhelmed.

During the next ten years, however, I grew increasingly impressed with Modesitt as a writer. He took a
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This takes us to Brysta, Nordla, a place that has been mentioned, but one we've never visited before about 60 years after the events in The Order War (C14, P4). There is a whole new cast of characters starring Kharl, a cooper, who does what is right & is punished for it. This is currently the 15th chronologically & was the 12th published (C15, P12). We also get to visit Austra. Neither place seems that different than any part of Candar.

Recluce is certainly mentioned as are the after effe
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
weaker Recluce book though as it is set in the last (so far) period covered before the finale, it presents an interesting snapshot of the world

the standard fare though this time with an older lower class man discovering he is a powerful mage...

for some reason the hero doesn't really work that well, at least in comparison with other duologies
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best in the Recluce series so far!

A different approach in a familiar style, this is one of my favourites in the Recluce saga. It is probably the most unpredictable so far as well, which gives it a different feel to most of the others.
The characters are excellent, as usual, except I think they are even better than usual in this book. The trials of the hero character were authentic and painful to endure as a reader at times. I felt angry and frustrated at the injustices, and once or twi
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I had to look up where in the overall history of the Saga of Recluce this book fits, especially since the last couple were actually the earliest in the internal timeline. This one jumps forward about 1700 years, and it took me a while to remember all the things that had happened (and had not yet happened).

This book starts with a bang, then settles into its main narrative. It seemed like there was less whining than in some of the books, and more action. I hope we return to Kharl's story (have not
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice to visit so many of the other islands on the map for a change. Yes it's another person discovering powers, but the character is complex and sympathetic and the way he perceives order and chaos is very different.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Excellent! The second volume with this main character is waiting...Kharl the cooper becomes an Ordermaster....
Debra Meyer
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one that seems to have been written by a different author, longer chapters,no verbal sound effects, good story, bit of a tearjerker but I liked it. Good teaching one about life too.
Ron Souliere
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm, just like the potato chips, can't stop with just one.
Enjoying the series. Binge reading them.
Mary Soon Lee
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the twelfth book in Modesitt's fantasy series "The Saga of Recluce," and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable installment. I very much liked the main character, Kharl, who starts the book as a married cooper with two sons, the oldest about fifteen years old. Kharl stands out from all the other Modesitt protagonists I've met, who begin childless and wifeless--and often very young--and later find a partner they desire. A refreshing change.

Collectively the Recluce series builds a cohesive worl
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It has been any years since I last visited the world dominated by the Chaos of Hamador and the Order of Recluse so it was with some trepidation that I began reading "The Wellspring of Chaos." I had stopped reading the recluse books in the past because, quite frankly, that had started to get kind of boring. However, I have had this book on my wishlist for a long time and it arrived for Christmans (thanks Mom) so I decided to dive right in. I'm glad I did.

Like all of the Recluse novels this one is
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd probably give this 3.5 stars, because although I like the characters and story, the writing is kind of choppy. Often at important conversations, the speakers will come to some kind of understanding, but Modesitt never spells it out and doesn't often even offer enough clues for the reader to figure it out. Or maybe it's just me. But how annoying is that, to be reading this conversation, read that the characters look at each other meaningfully, and then one of them says, "Ah. I see your point. ...more
Chip Hunter
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best book Modesitt's released in the last five years or so, but I wouldn't call it the best of the Recluce series. Being fairly predictable and sometimes a bit too plodding, this book didn't live up to its real potential. Most of the book was really great and I am still tempted to give a 5-star ranking. Mainly, Kharl is a truly great character that the reader really feels like he understands. More mature than your normal fantasy hero, and more set in his ways, Kharl is a simple m ...more
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Kharl the cooper runs afoul of the local lord when he keeps the lord's son from raping a neighbor girl, and misfortunes hurry past each other to heap themselves on Kharl's head. He's a man of principle rather than of warmth, which ends up costing him his family, but does earn him some critical friendships.

Modesitt does fall into familiar patterns in all his Recluce books, but each distinguishes itself in varying ways. The mundane tradecraft hasn't been new since the first book in the series, ele
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't immediately excellent, but engaging enough to keep reading. It did, indeed, keep to the promise that despite being book 11 in a series, I was still able to follow along. Modesitt's world is fairly well-constructed, though he shows little of the countries in detail (it's mostly sea ports). The story follows a cooper (barrel-maker) as he loses his family and sets out to almost accidentally becoming a mage. The prose was solid, though the plot fairly predictable, if you've ever read a dis ...more
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, fantasy, male-author
The Recluce series used to be one of my favorites, but I fell out of it somehow. I picked up Wellspring of Chaos while in the grips of nostalgia. Now, even though I have other books that I really want to read, I'm kind of tempted to pick up the next book in this series instead.

So, why the three stars if I enjoyed it so much? Well, I need a certain mood to read books from this series. I need the patience to wait while Modesitt makes his way to the ultimate conclusion. I need to want to be comfort
Mike Paulhus
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another standard entry for Modesitt, similar story line from all the other books. I must say that the way he jumps from across periods of time from book to book has infuriated me throughout the series, but I can't seem to put my finger on a time frame in relation to the other books in the series for this one. Clearly it is one that has occurred somewhat later on the time line, but is it prior to the magic of recluse, or after? I suppose I will have to read Ordermaster next and see if there are a ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Modesitt returns to his most famed creation without missing a beat. As with all his books, this one fits seamlessly into the greater story of history and legends that make up the Recluse world. Focusing on the continents of Nordla and Austra, it tells the story of Karl, a cooper, and his journey through personal hardship and tragedy to become an Order Master. Any reader fascinated with the philosophy of the Order and Chaos magic system will love this book and the insights it provides into the au ...more
Gary O'Brien
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
This is the twelfth book in the Saga of Recluce series.

Writing most of them out of chronological order is a very interesting way to do a series.

I have noticed that each book seems to have characters that learn new ways to manipulate order and/or chaos. I am looking forward to finding out what the limits of order/chaos use may be without artificial enhancements.

This series gets better with each book. I am looking forward to the rest of them.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the recluse series. Most of the 15 books stand alone and you don't need to read them in any order. A few stories continue with a second book. This one, the Wellspring of Chaos is the first in a set of two.
Karhl the Cooper keeps getting these increasingly bad breaks. He escapes and things start getting better for him as he begins to understand his ordered nature.

Fun read, if you haven't read any of them, start with the Magic of Recluse.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I found this book to be among the better stories in the series I've read so far. The main character is better developed and is more sympathetic. He's not just a Boy Scout with nothing really bad ever happening to him - as many of the protagonists in this series are written.

This book is one in a series, but it can easily be read on its own.

I gave this book four stars more for the series, and not relative to other books.
May 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Just one of a great number of strong offerings from the Saga of Recluce. As is generally the case, the novel centers on a craftsman who finds himself blessed/cursed with unusual abilities, in this case a cooper by the name of Kharl. The book strikes a nice balance of interpersonal conflict, politics, and philosophy. Not the best from Recluce, but still well worth reading.
Feb 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Fantasy, yet another Recluce book in which an innocent man falls victim to wrongdoing, and develops magic powers along with his inner strength. Really, all of Modesitt's plots are the same; all of his narrators have similar voices. This one is refreshing in that it's a cautious older man instead of your typical teen/mid-twenties adventuring hero.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karl will strike you at the heart of the story if you are like him and want just a plain simple life. With all that happens to him you can see why that's not going to happen. just as Karl thinks he'll be able to settle down, the second book happens.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read this book after reading all of the 11 prior Saga of Recluce books back to back. This was a delightful change from the typical Recluce hero. I like all of Modessit’s writing, but this is one of the best in the series.
Elisabeth Love
I enjoyed this book as a departure from the normal "Recluce" hero/anti-hero's. However I was a bit disappointed in the lack of flow that the other books have. It was choppy and disjointed at times that made it much harder to keep up with than any of the other books in the series.
Lonnie Smith
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A good book, and a fun read. It follows the L E Modesitt formula, fairly well, questioning justice and right and wrong. Kharl is a likeable protagonist as well. If you like his other stuff, pick this one up.
Steven Lawrie
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-general
I've long been a fan of Modesitt's Recluce series, and I found this book really scratched that itch after having spent a long time since I last read one of them.
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
100% Engrossing

From the first page to the last, couldn't put it down. Looking forward to the next book, I live this author
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Modesitt is always excellent. Engrossing tale with understated action which only makes it more intense.
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L. E. (Leland Exton) Modesitt, Jr. is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels. He is best known for the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, lived in Washington, D.C. for 20 years, then moved to New Hampshire in 1989 where he met his wife. They relocated to Cedar City, Utah in 1993.

He has worked as a Navy pilot, lifeguard, delivery boy, u

Other books in the series

The Saga of Recluce (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Magic of Recluce (The Saga of Recluce #1)
  • The Towers of the Sunset (The Saga of Recluce #2)
  • The Magic Engineer (The Saga of Recluce #3)
  • The Order War (The Saga of Recluce #4)
  • The Death of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce #5)
  • Fall of Angels (The Saga of Recluce #6)
  • The Chaos Balance (The Saga of Recluce #7)
  • The White Order (The Saga of Recluce #8)
  • Colors of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce #9)
  • Magi'i of Cyador (The Saga of Recluce #10)