Cyador's Heirs (Saga of Recluce)
by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Cover Artist: Matt Stawicki
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765374776
Date: 20 May 2014 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When Nylan faced the power of Cyador in The Chaos Balance, the power of Cyad was broken. The Emperor Lephi died, but the story didn't end there. Now the story of the few survivors is told. The Emperor's wife escaped the turmoil and destruction and led a few of the Magi and Officers to Hamor. The action of this novel follows her grandson Lerial.
Lerial is the second son of Duke Kiedron. The Duchy of Cigoerne was purchased by his grandmother as it was viewed as worthless. With great care and guidance, the land and people are prospering. Unfortunately, this prosperity puts the land at risk. The Duke has been expanding the lancers, but lancers cost money. Even with great skill, lancers die and with covetous neighbors all around there may not be time to become strong enough to survive as an independent Duchy.
Lephi is Lerial's older brother. He is secure in his belief of his own talents and place in the world. Those beneath him are barely worth his notice. Lerial is young and unskilled. His father wants him to hone his skills, as does his aunt. His aunt helps him learn to use his skills. In order to learn martial stills, Lerial is sent to train with the former head of the Lancers Major Altyrn.
The skills he learns there in his short time will pay dividends once he is called upon to take up a mantle of leadership. As a second son, much will be expected from Lerial. And like all the heroes in Recluce, he will have troubles with women.
This is the seventeenth novel set in Recluce and it is set about the same time as Arms-Commander. Lerial is another of the gray wizards that have made Recluce one of the most popular fantasy series. Lerial's duology may have a chance to rival Lorn and Cerryl sets in popularity. For long time fans of the series there are numerous nods to prior stories. There is still a lot of action to come as Lerial grows. I expect I will read this duology numerous times in the coming years.
Even though this is the seventeenth novel, it is a possible starting point. Although I would recommend reading The Fall of Angels and The Chaos Balance first. The author's recommended reading order is on his website and wiki page.
One of the things I enjoyed about this novel is that the love interest of Lerial isn't made clear. There are several candidates that have been introduced, but there may be someone who hasn't been introduced. There are several loose ends that need to be tied up in the second book, Heritage of Cyador, scheduled for later this year. Although hinted at, the true father of Lerial's cousin is one of the things I am looking forward to the most.
Modesitt has a great skill in describing the mundane and making it interesting. In this case he describes the making of a leader. In the prior novels he described woodworking, magic, and engineering. He also creates real relationships between the men and women of his world. There is equality as each has skills that are needed by the other.