The Gods themselves do battle in this prequel to Modesitt's popular Recluse saga. Set centuries before last year's The Death of Chaos, the story recounts a space battle in which the frigate Winterlance is blown into another universe and makes an emergency landing on a habitable planet. The castaways, mostly female space marines, initially must struggle with the harsh weather and their own failing technology in order to survive. Soon, however, they discover that they share their new world with a more intelligent enemy: other humans. The natives, whose culture is intensely patriarchal, have magical powers and are extremely hostile, especially to independent women. As Ryba and Nylan, the Winterlance's former chief officers, struggle to create both a civilization and a means to defend it, they must fight increasingly difficult battles even while coming to terms with their own awakening magical powers. Modesitt's character development is solid, and the novel makes intriguing use of technology in a fantasy setting, but the plot is predictable and the language pedestrian. A seemingly superfluous subplot concerning the chief villain's home life fails to add excitement. Fans of the series should enjoy this sixth entry, particularly for its explication of the myths and legends of latter-day Recluse, but it's not the sort of volume likely to win Modesitt a new legion of admirers. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996 Release date: 06/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 608 pages - 978-0-8125-3895-3
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