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 a trueborn of the Ramon Mattlov/Tania Pryde sibko. Unknown to his surroundings, Galaxy Commander Ramon Mattlov's (his genefather) 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.
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, who stubbornly refuses to give up. Falconer Joanna's methods are later challenged by fellow Trainer Ellis (whom she kills over the issue in a circle of equals) as being excessive and unclanlike.
The main goal of dividing the sibko stems from the individuality of the Clan warrior. Joanna pushes this 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 merits. 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 trial, Aidan kills five freeborn recruits while making his way to his 'Mech on foot, but fails to achieve the necessary 'Mech kill to attain warrior status. He utilizes a bold tactic where he attacks the opponents of his fellow recruits, changing the trial to a free for all melee according to the trial rules. Figuring that with his unusual behaviour, he can confuse his opponents and has a chance for three kills, he does not take into account that he becomes a valid target for his fellow recruits too. His tactic almost succeeding, he is put down by Marthe moments before he can finalize his first kill. She attacks Aidan's 'Mech from behind for the opportunity to join the ranks as a star commander.
Aidan in his defeat resents his reassignment to astech. He flees, and Ter Roshak sends Joanna and Nomad after him. After a journey through the clan worlds evading his pursuers, he ends at Tokasha where he meets Peri. Joanna and Nomad eventually capture Aidan and bring him back.
Ter Roshak kills the freeborn Jorge, along with the rest of his trainee unit and their training officer. When Aidan returns, he is placed into another freeborn unit assuming the identity of Jorge, to get a second chance at another trial. For his second trial, Aidan works together with Horse, a freeborn who recognizes him as a trueborn from a previous encounter (but doesn't care for his deception). Since clan warriors are used to only attack one 'Mech at a time, Aidan uses this and his collaboration with Horse to their advantage, and they both achieve their necessary 'Mech kill. He joins the Clan Jade Falcon ranks as the freeborn MechWarrior Jorge.
 Featured characters
- Cadet Aidan
- Falconer Joanna
- Cadet Marthe
- Falconer Commander Ter Roshak
- Diana (mentioned only)
 Featured places