[By Nic Lindh on Saturday, 05 June 2004]
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is a machine. It’s rare to find an author who can output so much and with such a high level of quality. Darknesses and Legacies are books one and two of The Corean Chronicles, respectively, and while not as good as the Recluse series at its peak, are enjoyable and engrossing.
The setting is the continent Corus a millennia after a great civilization crumpled in a great cataclysm, the causes of which are lost in time. Our hero, Alucius, is a herder, and we follow him as he is drafted and goes off to war. Naturally, he along the way he finds out more about the Talent possessed by most herders. Yes, capital-T Talent.
Darknesses finds Alucius as he is first drafted, and Legacies follows the tale with Alucius now an officer and reluctant hero.
Both books feature lots of action and a keen sense about the politics and economics of war, which sets them apart from most “Quest” type fantasy. There’s also no band of intrepid adventurers; instead the books are strictly focused on Alucius and his struggle to stay alive and get back to his wife and stead.
Modesitt exceeds at world building, and Corus is drawn with a fine brush. Characterizations are also adept, if not particularly vivid.
All in all, a trip to Corus is well worth taking–this is exceptionally competent and enjoyable fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The third installment is scheduled to be out in hardcover this summer.