At its simplest, Exile, Magus can be enjoyed as a simple sword & sorcery tale full of action and magic. Beneath that lies something more - a story of isolation born of prejudice, the attempt to find one’s place in the world despite of this, a search for love and belonging, and the darkness that desperation can bring as well as the hope that can be found through perseverance.
Pentaz Muix, a young man native to a reclusive nation of dwarves, feels he has no choice but to flee his homeland in order to escape punishment after revealing his study of magic in order to save his people.
As he takes his first clumsy steps out from the isolation of his island home into the wide and varied world of the mainland, he searches for a family to replace the one he has lost. Along the way he meets a wandering warrior named Buscidia and falls in love with her, but his own fear of losing her may well spell their undoing.
While he explores the mainland and its many perils, he is unaware that his homeland has not let go of him as easily as he believes. Unbeknownst to him, he is pursued by the last surviving member of his family, his brother Palkaz. Their reunion follows closely on the heels of Pentaz’ biggest mistake and tragedy, and they find themselves facing off against one another amidst a danger neither of them had imagined. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive?
This is the first in a series following the Muix family as well as those who interact with and influence them, starting with Pentaz. The books do build off of one another, but each is its own separate story with the ongoing thread of the major characters’ development linking them.
The first book is perhaps a bit of a non-traditional fantasy narrative in that its conflict does not come from some dark power or evil empire to be overcome, but instead from the struggles of its main character Pentaz to find a place for himself after having to flee his homeland to escape punishment for practicing magic.
The bulk of the narrative for this first book follows his relationship with the half-dwarf Buscidia, and hinges on his desperate and unspoken need to find a new family after losing his own. I have a hard time calling it a true love story, being in my mind more of a study of Pentaz’ mind as he struggles to overcome the solitude of his situation.
Throughout this there is plenty of action as the road is a dangerous place to live, as well as moments of both lightness and darkness. There is also a fair bit of playing with tropes in what I hope are ways most will find fresh such as the human king with a fascination for gnomes so strong that he employs them almost exclusively in his dreams of a new world.
Book 1 is fully written at around 150,000 words. It focuses primarily on Pentaz’ personal growth as well as the relationships he develops with others such as the half-dwarven warrior Buscidia, the gnome obsessed and woman crazy Lord Llargas Llanch, an academy full of other magi and wilder elves, a scholarly magus named Talari, and of course his own older brother.
It is laid out as a series of connected episodes, each comprised of 1-2 parts with multiple chapters as detailed below.
Part 1 - Thierdenvolgenlund. Wherein we’re introduced to our dwarven magus, Pentaz, his brother Pentaz, their father Duertanso, and the reclusive subterranean nation they call home. Chapters 1-4.
Part 2 - Exile. Wherein Pentaz must flee his homeland and faces an inhospitable welcome from the mainland. Chapters 5-9.
Part 3 - Warrior. Wherein Pentaz is rescued by Buscidia who appoints herself as his bodyguard and guide. Chapters 10-16.
Part 4 - Llanchland. Wherein Buscidia and Pentaz seek employment with an eccentric king (more of a mayor really), only to find the job more complicated than expected. Chapters 17-22.
Part 5 - Cruise. In which king/mayor Llargas treats his heroes to an extravagant trip to their next destination. Chapters 23-28.
Part 6 - Academy. Wherein Pentaz’ momths of higher magical education is interrupted quite rudely. Chapters 29-33.
Part 7 - Graduation. Wherein slavers are punished, final farewells are said, and Pentaz and Buscidia share a rare moment of unfettered honesty. Chapters 34 - 40.
Part 8 - Hunter. Wherein Pentaz amd Buscidia travel through the Badlands, meeting predators of 3 types along the way, and bringing to light insecurities. Chapters 41-48.
Part 9 - Proposal. Wherein life goals are contrasted, mistakes are made, and pursuits are found to be underway. Chapters 49-55.
Part 10 - Rescue. Wherein strange powers converse, mistakes are made worse, and pursuits end, continue, amd begin. Chapters 56-62.
Part 11 - Ansvari. Wherein there be giants, Pentaz accidentally befriends Talari - a dwarf unlike he had ever imagined, and Palkaz speaks gruffly while carrying a big axe. Chapters 63-69.
Part 12 - Reunion. Wherein a homonculus is made, a far from warm family reunion is crashed, and everying falls down. Chapters 70-72.
Part 13 - Ascenscion. Wherein memories are relived, dragons are shown to be poor hosts, and our dwarves must learn to rise up. Chapters 73-77.
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