Modesitt's entertaining fifth book in the Recluce fantasy series details the further adventures of the young wizard Lerris, protagonist of the 1991 series kickoff, The Magic of Recluce. Lerris, who narrates, is happily ensconsed in his carpentry shop and contentedly married to Krystal, a military leader, when he is called to employ his magical powers in battle against the forces of Hamor, an empire across the ocean. The stakes are bigger than simple national interest: in the Recluce universe, chaos and order must be balanced; if either disappears or dies, the world will be destroyed. This novel appeals not primarily for its grand fantasy themes, though, but for Modesitt's convincing treatment of the relationship between Lerris and Krystal--whose fear for, and envy of, her husband manifests as anger. Similarly, Lerris's confusion about why he is driven to heroism comes through clearly and convincingly. The cosmic conflict that fuels the story line is resolved by a deus ex machina, and those not familiar with the earlier series books may find some plot twists hard to follow. Modesitt's dialogue and, above all, character development have improved from earlier volumes, however, resulting in a fantasy whose roots are dug into the reality of human nature. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995 Release date: 10/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 629 pages - 978-0-8125-4824-2
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