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I am trying to identify a fantasy novel I read part of, I believe around 2010. The only narrative detail I remember is that there is a magic system in-universe that takes effort to use, maybe proportional to value. I remember the main character attempting to summon/conjure a gold coin and almost dying from the effort.

The book was fairly thick, maybe 500 pages. The cover was blue, and had a character standing in the rain, in what I remember looking like a shipwreck.

I believe that it was not the first book in a series, which is why I didn't read all of it. I think the title was a single word, something like "Homelander", or "Outcast", a dramatic word for a person. Any help would be appreciated, this has haunted me for ages.

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  • I don't recall the scene of conjuring a coin (it's been 25 or so years since I read them), but Louise Cooper had The Time Master Trilogy, The Initiate, The Outcast and The Master that came out in the late 1980s. My copy doesn't have your cover, but the title's a direct hit...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 25, 2022 at 11:10
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    I don't think this is it, but a good try. I think that it must have been published around 2010, because it was a hardcover book, and it's unlikely I would have a hardcover copy of an old book. Oct 25, 2022 at 16:12
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    The part about the effort to conjure a coin remins me of the Imager series by L.E. Modesitt, but I don't recall any of the covers. Mostly one-word titles. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imager_Portfolio
    – FlaStorm32
    Oct 26, 2022 at 11:02

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As FlaStorm32 suggests in a comment this does sound like L. E. Modesitt's Imager Portfolio series. The fourth book, Scholar, has a cover that matches your description:

Scholar

In the book the act of summoning objects is called imaging. I can't find where the main character, Quaeryt nearly kills himself by imaging gold coins, but there is a paragraph in which he remembers:

But how could he forget how he puked his guts out, or the endless days of fever, and the weeks regaining his strength after attempting to image a single gold? How could he not forget that?

There are other references to imagers being killed by imaging gold. For example in Rex Regis we find:

“It could kill you. That was how the Antiagon imagers who were captured killed themselves. They imaged a disk of gold large enough to kill themselves. That’s because, when you image, you’re drawing what you image from around you. If you image stone, that’s easier than metal, because there’s much stone beneath the soil-or beneath a river. Gold is rare and hard to find. It takes much strength. If you are strong enough to image gold, but there is no gold in the ground near you … it could kill you.

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  • That's it! Thank you Oct 27, 2022 at 16:22

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