The concluding volume in Modesitt's Corean Chronicles trilogy (after Legacies and Darknesses), an intriguing blend of martial fantasy and SF, gets off to a slow start, then picks up steam once the vivid and inventive magic starts flying. The Lord-Protector of Lanachrona calls the supernaturally "Talented" but oh-so-reluctant hero, Alucius, back to duty as commander of the Northern and Southern Guard to quell rebels determined to reinstate the True Duarchy. Meanwhile, his beloved wife, Wendra, who's just given birth, is abducted by a mysterious Ancient One, an angelic soarer who teaches her about "the threads of life, and how they may be mended-and unravelled." Wendra also learns the importance of destroying the alien ifrits, who seek to reactivate all pre-Cataclysm "Tables" (which serve as conduits between vast distances) to invade the land of Corus. Romance clearly isn't Modesitt's forte (there's a one-sentence love scene), and Wendra is a little boring until she takes her baby along to fight the ifrits, but male readers age 15 and up should enjoy the ride after they get past some tedious dialogue and superfluous military detail. (July 24) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.