Another, perhaps the final, installment of the prequel fantasy series (Antiagon Fire, 2013, etc.) involving the unification of Lydar under a single ruler.
Imager Quaeryt’s crushing of Antiago and its vicious rulers came at great personal cost. His wife, Vaelora, lost the baby she was carrying, while Quaeryt himself was badly injured and his hair and fingernails turned white. Now, Quaeryt, Vaelora, the imagers (wizards) and armies head back to Variana, mending or building new bridges, quelling resentful Bovarian High Holders and greedy Factors as they go. Quaeryt is troubled by dreams or visions of the godlike imager Erion, who repeatedly warns him not to seek personal gain. Once they reach Variana, they face a difficult interview with Lord Bhayar, who is thrilled by Quaeryt’s successes but less than pleased that he has so far overstepped his orders. Still, of all Lydar, only Khel remains uncommitted to Bhayar, and the Khellans have agreed to consider terms. Quaeryt and Vaelora set to work as joint minister for administration and supply of Bovaria. Yet, Quaeryt is troubled that no dispatches have arrived from Submarshal Myskyl in the north, and he begins to suspect that Myskyl and Marshal Deucalon are conspiring with the Bovarian imagers who vanished after the battle in which Quaeryt vanquished Rex Kharst. Bhayar refuses to believe that old soldiers who served his father loyally could be conspiring against him, so Quaeryt must find solid evidence while persuading Bhayar to let him establish a Collegium where imagers can safely be educated and trained in the service of the state. Overall, workmanlike rather than spectacular, as Modesitt illustrates honor, dedication and estimable personal values through the words and deeds of his leading characters.
Fans won’t be disappointed.