Arms-Commander (Saga of Recluce)
by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Cover Artist: Matt Stawicki
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765323811
Date: 05 January 2010 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The angels are once again on the move. In the immediate aftermath of Nylanís battle with Cyad, Lornth is battered and still pressed by enemies. The friendly relations with Westwind are not liked by many of the lord holders or the traders of Suthya or even the Prefect of Gallos. As years pass memories of defeats fade, Gallos once again tests the might of the Angels. Surely with Nylan gone, the women of Westwind can't defeat another army.
When there are great troubles in this universe, a strong order focus usually develops. In this case the talents of Saryn are growing. She is able to touch the order flows and use it to the advantage of her allies. As her talents are developing, so are her questions of Ryba's methods. Ryba does not tolerate questions, and sends Saryn to Lornth to help.
Working with some guards, Saryn will move into Lornth to support the regents. Armed women are not viewed well to start with. Others, particularly women, see opportunity and the ranks of the guards grow. The growth and development of Saryn is central to this tale. Saryn is the Arms-Commander of Westwind, and hence the title. She is nearly as good with a blade as Ryba, but comes to discover the problem with an affinity to order, the loss of the ability to create destruction. Something nearly every Recluce series hero faces.
There is a first in this novel. The main character and perspective is a female. Although new to the series, this isn't new for the author who has written quality female lead characters in the Spellsong Cycle. This was a good choice of a lead character and story. It explains the development and spread of the Legend.
One of my favorite nuggets in this novel relates to Nylan. You find out how he stays a part of his daughter's lives without actually being there for them. It was something I wondered about after reading The Chaos Balance. This is another solid entry into the Recluce series. To appreciate this novel, readers should read at least Fall of Angels and The Chaos Balance before getting to this piece of the series. Modesitt does a nice job filling in the reader on what comes before, but the myriad of little things are what long time readers truly appreciate. Depth of characters is Modesitt's greatest strength.
The novels of Recluce are very popular. Fortunately, there are many stories still to tell in this world. I look forward to the next novel along with legions of other fans.