Scholar takes place in the Imager universe but is set centuries before Modesitt's first trilogy. Here the art of imaging is feared worldwide and people who possess the talent are often killed outright—but the seeds for the Collegium are planted. A recognizable world, but a very different society—I look forward to seeing the evolution of this environment through future novels.
One of the key points in the first trilogy was that an imager is a huge danger to himself, to the point of sleeping alone in a lead-lined room to prevent creating dangerous items via dreams. In Scholar, however, this doesn't seem to be an issue with the lead being a powerful imager and yet living on crowded boats, dormitories, and castles. Not sure if this is by design and will feature into future novels, or simply an oversight or writer's remorse. Time will tell!
"You'd think the Tilborans would have more sense," snapped Bhayar.