Heritage of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt Jr
Heritage of Cyador is the eighteenth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s SAGA OF RECLUCE and is the immediate sequel to Cyador’s Heirs. It continues the story of Lerial, the second son of the Duke of Cigoerne. This is a typical Modesitt novel, which means it follows the pattern of having different political parties wrangling back and forth with each other until a hero is forced to use his magical skills in some unique and unexpected way to save the day. It’s formulaic to be sure, but if you happen to like this pattern, you will enjoy the story.
The continent of Hamor is comprised of competing nation-states. The different rulers are often misled into equating their own ego and lust for power with what is best for their nation. The result is a constant state of at least minor warfare with countries probing each other back and forth looking for weaknesses that could be exploited.
On the other side of the coin are the wealthy merchants. Their enormous wealth and prestige makes them immune to almost any difficulty unless it is at the hands of one of their fellows. All merchants resent the rulers because they require taxes of the merchants. The natural jockeying for power and influence remains a consistent theme. Some disgusting merchants are willing to watch their nation go up in flames as long as they can profit from it. I am sure that Modesitt is making a connection here with some of the major corporations who have profited so greatly from war in our world. They make money and young men and women wearing their nation’s uniform lose their lives.
In Heritage of Cyador, Lerial is dispatched by his father with a smallish force of lancers to reinforce the nation of Afrit. Even though they have fought each other within the last five years, Duke Kiedron decides that his troops may make the difference in a rapidly escalating conflict between Afrit and Heldya. Lerial, as the younger son, is less of a risk to send should disaster strike and he be killed. His skills as a military commander, coupled with his ever growing ability to use the forces of Order and Chaos make the support of Cigoerne not a pittance. Given the scope of future conflicts if Heldya were to conquer Afrit, the risk has to be taken.
Lerial continues to mature as the story progresses. His integrity and personal courage often expose him to extreme risks and, without fail, his ability to manipulate order make the difference between victory and failure. Operating jointly with the Afrit military creates strong friendships rooted in shared loss but also allows those who are merely jealous to take actions that set Lerial and his lancers up for destruction.
Amid the long war that Lerial is obliged to wage on behalf of Afrit, he meets Kyedra. She is one of the daughters of the Duke of Afrit and Lerial is smitten with her. Their gradual interest in each other is sweet and a fine counterpoint to the continual death and destruction of war. There are other connections between the ruling family of Afrit and Lerial’s family. This serves only to increase Lerial’s desire to win the war.
Heritage of Cyador is passable for a Modesitt book. As already stated, it follow much the same pattern as other SAGA OF RECLUCE novels with the exception that Lerial’s trade is war, not as a smith or a carpenter. I found some of the themes of greed and corruption to be very clearly articulated and that added more to the story. On the whole, this is nothing spectacular, but if you liked Cyador’s Heirs then you will likely enjoy Heritage of Cyador, too.