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Legacies: Corean Chronicles, Book 1
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor Books, 558 pages

Daniel R. Horne
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is the author of the Recluce fantasy series and a string of science fiction novels, notably The Parafaith War and Adiamante.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Octagonal Raven
SF Site Review: Colors of Chaos
SF Site Review: Of Tangible Ghosts and Ghost of the Revelator
SF Site Review: The Soprano Sorceress
SF Site Review: The Ecolitan Enigma
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Tribute Site
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

A magical cataclysm has destroyed the world of Corus, fracturing it into several smaller countries that have forgotten the peace and beauty of the past. Instead, they find themselves struggling up from the ashes of their civilization and fighting against each other. Because magic ruined their world, any one with talent is treated with suspicion, usually becoming enslaved to the rich and powerful. When Alucius heals his grandmother's injury, he shows that he has much more Talent than is healthy, and his mother and grandparents make him promise to hide it. When he grows up and is forced to leave his family's Nightsheep ranch for the militia, he learns that his powers may be more than just a way to spy safely or heal a comrade -- it may save a whole country, enslaved by its leaders in a horrifying fashion.

Most of Legacies is about Alucius, as he grows up and learns how to use his talent, as well as rising through the ranks of the militia. He is captured by the enslaved soldiers belonging to Matrial, the immortal ruler of Madrien. The men are all are forced to wear collars, and Alucius can see a sickly purple line leading from them. Women, fleeing from the neighboring Lanachrona also find themselves wearing these collars. But they are treated so much better here; it is worth the sacrifice. Anyone with a talent is controlled with an iron fist. Fortunately, when they tested Alucius, he had a concussion giving him an advantage and allowing him to study what is going on.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is probably (I say this because I'm going by instinct, not any connection with the writer) setting Alucius to be the star of this whole series. So he is careful to set up all aspects of our hero's character here, in such a way that we feel very close to him. He does this by having us only inside Alucius's head. We grow with him... and the development of his talent throughout the book is fascinating. The more he uses it, the stronger it gets. It's fascinating to see more things happen as his talents grow, and to see how useful they become. For example, he can sense people laying in wait, yet he is challenged by finding creative ways to warn his soldiers about the ambush without giving away his talent. This is a very wise move on the author's part, because since we live in Alucius's mind for so long, watching him grow and rise through the ranks by dint of courage and talent, we find ourselves growing very fond of him, and it gives us more of an investment in his success or failure.

The author is also careful to build a rich world, well worth revisiting. I think one of the ways he does this is by studying varying perspectives. One that stands out is how different people are blamed for the loss of magic in the two countries. Lanachrona blames the women for the loss of magic, Madrien blames the men -- in the former, the women are the lowest of all classes because of this, whereas in Madrien, men are enslaved with a collar. In some ways, it gives us two entirely different versions of the battle of the sexes, but it also shows how these different cultures act upon their very different beliefs, and how it changed them. Alucius, who comes from the barren Iron Valleys, sees that magic is used against the Madrien people as much as against the "enemy." While evil, they are not an evil people, and their lands are prosperous and rich. It shows that not everything is black and white... and the "good" are not always rewarded for behaving themselves. Not only do these aspects make the world more rich, but they give you odd little things to mull over while you're reading.

This newest world is certain to please long time fans of Modesitt, as well as prove to new readers why he has such a following. His new world is dense and interesting, his characters well written and round. I really enjoyed the adventure despite the fact it is mostly a set up book for the series, and I really am looking forward to the rest.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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