Way of the Clans
|Way of the Clans|
|Cover artwork||Bruce Jensen|
|Interior artwork||Jeff Laubenstein|
|First published||6 August 1991|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Series||Legend of the Jade Phoenix|
Way of the Clans, by Robert Thurston, is the first book in the Legend of the Jade Phoenix trilogy. It chronicles the early life of Aidan Pryde, future hero of Clan Jade Falcon. The novel is also the first story written from the point-of-view of the Clans.
 From the back cover
|“|| In the 31st century, the BattleMech is the ultimate war machine. Thirty meters tall, and vaguely, menacingly man-shaped, it is an unstoppable engine of destruction.
In the 31st century, Aidan aspires to be a Warrior of Clan Jade Falcon. To win the right to join his Clan in battle, he must succeed in trials that will forge him into one of the best warriors in the galaxy, or break him completely.
In the 31st century, Aidan discovers that the toughest battle is not in the field, but in his head—where failure will cost him the ultimate price: his humanity.
Aidan is one of the genetically engineered elite born from the bloodline of the Ramon Mattlov/Tania Pryde sibko. Unknown to the Clan Jade Falcon sibko, Galaxy Commander Ramon Mattlov's characteristics of quietness and dark looks all while having the strength of a hero are apparent in Aidan. His resemblance is put as being his near twin by Ter Roshak, the cadet commander who fought alongside Mattlov until his death. Much like Mattlov, Aidan assumed quickly the status as head of the sibko and worried heavily about the well-being of his clansmen, not a respectable clan trait according to Joanna.
Aidan is quickly singled out by Falconer Joanna, his trainer from his first day on the frozen homeworld of Clan Jade Falcon, Ironhold. Falconer Joanna challenges the sibko to fight her. She easily defeats the rest of the sibko except for the relentless Aidan. After the fight, Falconer Joanna instantly singles him out and he gains instant love from Marthe, another member of the sibko. Reluctantly, over time Falconer Joanna's attacks grow fiercer until it is evident that Falconer Joanna will kill him in her brutality. Falconer Joanna's methods are challenged by Ter Roshak and Trainer Ellis, whom she kills over the issue in a trial, as being excessive and unclanlike.
The main goal of dividing the sibko stems from the individuality of the Clan warrior. Joanna pushes separation. Seeing Aidan's love for Marthe, she sexually requests his presence frequently and as Marthe scores higher than Aidan in every category still ignores her merit. Near the end of training there are only a few members left of the sibko, and Marthe grows apart from Aidan, hinted at as jealousy and anguish from her multiple attempts to be like Falconer Joanna.
The trials are the stage after sibko training where a MechWarrior will define his status and entrance into the clan warrior caste. The day before the trials, Aidan's last friend Peri regretfully is exiled into the Scientist caste. In his trials Aidan, kills five freebirths and attains his position to pilot a Summoner. He loses out to Marthe, who attacks Aidan's 'Mech for the opportunity to become a star commander. Aidan in his defeat resents his reassignment to astech. He flees to Tokasha where he meets Peri. Ter Roshak sends Joanna and Nomad after him. They capture Aidan and bring him back.
Ter Roshak kills Jorge, a member of a freebirth trainee unit. When Aidan returns he is placed into the freebirth unit that he had humiliated as Jorge. Ter Roshak watches him carefully as he earns his right to lead the freebirth unit. Shortly after Aidan's unit is given the trial of position. Aidan makes a plan to work together with Horse, a freebirth who recognizes him. Since trueborns will only attack one 'Mech at a time, Aidan uses this to his advantage to win his trial as a freebirth over the trueborns, led by Falconer Joanna. This ensures him a place as a freebirth MechWarrior in the Jade Falcon Clan.
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