Cyador’s Heirs, the seventeenth book in the SAGA OF RECLUCE, takes place after the fall of the great nation of Cyador. It tells the story of Lerial, the younger son of the current Duke of Cigoerne, the heir to the Malachite Throne of fallen Cyador. L.E. Modesitt Jr. follows Lerial as he comes of age and is shaped by people and events around him.
Lerial is an intelligent, angry, slightly jealous younger son of the nobility. He is talented, insightful, and sick of his older brother getting preferential treatment and acting superior to him. Lerial is not a bad guy; he’s just struggling to figure out who he is. His father, Kiedron, is a diligent ruler who has been well trained by his mother, the former Empress of Cyador, on what it takes to grow and develop a country in real prosperity. Those lessons are not always easy for Lerial to accept from his father or his tutor, Saltaryn, who is responsible for giving Lerial a traditional education as well as teaching him the use of Chaos and Order. Fortunately, Lerial’s aunt, Emerya, seems to understand Lerial, and is able to help guide him and offer chances for him to learn and harness his talents for order and healing.
Lerial’s anger eventually leads his father to send him out for fosterage and training with the retired Commander of the Mirror Lancers. Lerial takes this as a grave insult, but Altyrn and his family deftly teach him what it means to be a leader of soldiers. This opens Lerial’s mind to a new possibility: becoming someone of value who is defined by what he does, and not by what others do. It’s a wonderful lesson in the emotional growth of a young man.
As is often the case in the SAGA OF RECLUCE novels, greedy nobles create plenty of problems for Lerial and the other rulers of Cigoerne to overcome. The insights Lerial has gained while living with Altyrn and his family serve him well when he is called upon to not only lead soldiers while still merely a young man, but to act as a representative of what his nation embodies to other cultures who seek its aid. Profound lessons can be learned in times of trial and conflict, and Modesitt shows this in a way that is detailed without being boring.
I am still a big fan the SAGA OF RECLUCE and L.E. Modesitt’s work in general, and Cyador’s Heirs is a solid addition to the series. Lerial’s story and the formation of what will eventually be Hamor is not just interesting as background for other books, but an enlightening read in itself, and it left me excited for the next installment. To be honest, I have read the book twice already…. it was that good.