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From Barnes & NobleChaos Thrives
In Magi'i of Cyador, the highly anticipated new addition to L.E. Modesitt's Recluce saga, readers are treated to another narrative thread drawn from the colorful tapestry of a series brimming with all the enchantment and exploits we've come to expect from the author. Along with Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind, Modesitt has been establishing himself as one of the notable authors of the extended fantasy mega-series, turning out huge, action-packed, magic-filled novels of sword and sorcery. Magi'i of Cyador is a sweeping high-fantasy adventure, bound to delight Modesitt fans and garner him new readers as well.
Lorn, the son of Magus Kien, is a proficient student who wields a great sorcerous skill, although he lacks the proper passion to ever become one of the truly great Magi'i. Lorn has the power of suggestion at his command, and needs only offer an "opinion" to thugs and thieves so that they are forced to obey him. The Magi'i guard the Towers of Chaos, which harness the wild energies of chaos, fueling all fireships, war wagons, and weapons. All of Cyador depends on the Magi'i and their chaos glasses, which detect storms and warring forces from afar. Barbarians to the Northeast constantly attack and attempt to cross the Great Eastern Highway. Chaos thrives on the other side of the barrier within the towers, and no one knows what will happen if the towers ever fail. As it is, they are pushed to their limits in holding back the barbarian hordes.
Although Magus Kien dreads it, he eventually chooses to make his son Lorn into a lancer officer, a task that sends Lorn to the frontier to fight the barbarians. While this might seem a punishment, Lorn readily accepts his position. Though he must leave behind his love, Ryalth, and despite the dangers, Lorn enjoys his newfound freedom. On the border he studies and learns more about the barbarians and becomes intent on leading Cyador into a new age of liberty. But Lorn's political enemies aren't satisfied with simply his mere departure and plan further mayhem for the young mage.
Modesitt has long explored the war between White Chaos and Black Order magic, and now gives us a new perspective on the feuding powers. Cyador has appeared as menacing and expansionist in previous novels in the series. Here, though, we see another example of an ever-changing, fascinating, and believable account of world-building. The fact that the planet was colonized by explorers from a crashed starship is only alluded to, aside from occasional "manual excerpts," which allows this facet of the saga to remain a mystery of sorts. Modesitt masterfully weaves a complex tale filled with high-energy action in a voice just as often profound as it is evocative.
Modesitt provides the reader with a tense and deeply absorbing novel of intrigue, paying special attention to the cause and effect of civil strife. The book gives us a thoughtful narrative of war and rebellion tempered by the numerous well-defined viewpoints of those involved, whether soldier, civilian, or magician. Modesitt's storytelling ability is singular in its balance of conflict, suspense, and secular reflection, and gives us a richly textured high fantasy novel combining adept characterization with a highly charged plot. MAGI'I OF CYADOR is another powerfully vivid chapter to the versatile, enticing, and ever-growing Recluce saga.