Master of the Five Magics

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Master of the Five Magics
Master of the Five Magics.jpg
Cover of first edition
Author Lyndon Hardy
Cover artist Rowena Morrill
Country United States
Language English
Series Magics
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Del Rey
Publication date
October 1980
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 373 pp
ISBN 0-345-31907-9
OCLC 14198021
Followed by Secret of the Sixth Magic

Master of the Five Magics is a fantasy novel by Lyndon Hardy, first published in 1980.[1][2] It is the first of a trilogy set in the same world; the second book is Secret of the Sixth Magic and the third Riddle of the Seven Realms. The books feature different characters, but each explores the same system of magic in successively more detail.[3][4] It may be an early example of hard fantasy.[5]

Plot summary[edit]

The book focuses on the adventures of its main character and hero Alodar in the fictional land of Procolon. Alodar's self-imposed quest for much of the book is to distinguish himself sufficiently to wed Queen Vendora.

The book is divided into six parts, the first five of which correspond to the five disciplines of magic learned by Alodar in that portion of the narrative. The final part is entitled "The Archimage" and corresponds to Alodar's mastery of all other forms of magic.

In the first three parts, Alodar learns enough of a particular type of magic to make a notable achievement, but the antagonist of that part usurps Alodar's credit and becomes a recognized suitor to the queen. Alodar is then left with an artifact of some type that allows him to begin learning a new discipline of magic. The first part also introduces Aeriel, a female character important in the second half of the book.

The fourth part does not feature an artifact; instead, Alodar discovers an ancient wizard placed in suspended animation, who reveals the basics of his craft to Alodar at the start of the fifth part.

The fifth part of the book reveals that Alodar's journey was planned by the ancient wizards, who predicted the now-imminent demonic invasion.

In the sixth and final part, Alodar uses his knowledge of all five magical disciplines in combination to defeat the leader of the demon army. However, Alodar spurns both marriage to the queen and an offer by his previous antagonists to support a coup placing Alodar on the throne; instead, he chooses to marry Aeriel and continue his apprenticeship.


  • Alodar, protagonist of the book. His family is stated to have once been noble; however, they have fallen into disrepute by the start of the narrative. Therefore, Alodar is merely an apprentice to a thaumaturge, the least prestigious type of magic-user.
  • Vendora, the queen of Procolon.
  • Aeriel, advisor to Vendora. She confesses her love to Alodar in the first part of the book, but Alodar does not clearly reciprocate until the final chapter.
  • Feston, antagonist in the first part of the book. His father Festil is a nobleman in Vendora's service. They take full credit for the queen's escape from a besieged fortress, ignoring Alodar's important contributions, leading the queen to name Feston as an official candidate suitor.
  • Basil, antagonist in the second part of the book. One of his henchmen steals an alchemical potion from Alodar and uses it to gather a vast wealth of gems for Basil. This gives Basil sufficient leverage to court the queen.
  • Duncan, a magician appearing in the third part of the book. He completes a ritual on an artifact discovered by Alodar, making it into a powerful talisman. This causes the queen to name him yet another official marriage candidate.
  • Kelric, an elderly sorcerer who instructs Alodar in the fourth part of the book.
  • Handar, a wizard placed in suspended animation. In the fifth part of the book, he instructs Alodar in the basics of wizardry.

Disciplines of Magic[edit]

A primary focus of the plot is upon the five magics of the title: Thaumaturgy, Alchemy, Magic, Sorcery, and Wizardry. In the system devised for the trilogy, each discipline allows the user to perform magical actions within a particular set of rules. These rules are specified after the table of contents and are also stated within the narrative.

In popular culture[edit]

The song "Five Magics" by Megadeth was inspired by this book, although the five magics listed in the song's lyrics differ from those in the book. The five magics in the song are listed as Alchemy, Sorcery, Wizardry, Thermatology, and Electricity.[1]

Author Patrick Rothfuss spoke during an author's panel at the Phoenix Comicon in 2014 and credited Master of the Five Magics as influential in the writing of his The Kingkiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind (2007), The Wise Man's Fear (2011), The Slow Regard of Silent Things (2014), and the unpublished Doors of Stone).[6]

Richard Garfield revealed in an interview that the five color model of Magic: The Gathering was inspired by Master of The Five Magics.[7]