Modesitt's latest is to the reader as interval training is to the marathoner -- slow, essential pacing through much of the run with occasions of high-speed action that get the adrenaline pumping. Saryn is as actualized a protagonist as you will ever read, and the plotting of the novel is superb. This is truly one book you won't put down until you cross the finish line.
Change is coming to the lives that the women of the four lands have carved for themselves at the peak of the world. And Saryn, the legendary Arms-Commander of Westwind, is at the helm. The patriarchal societies in two of the four lands are threatened by the idea of a city-state run by women, for women. As each plans an invasion, one by political means and one by military, Saryn is in the position of being instrumental in the survival of Westwind and its only ally, Lornth. The fate of four lands, and Westwind, rely on Saryn's actions. (TOR, Jan., 527 pp., $27.99)