Modesitt takes readers back to the world of Corus, wrapping up the tale of reluctant hero Alucius. He's returned home after first escaping military enslavement in neighboring Madrien and then defeating a would-be conqueror. But when the Lord Protector of Lanachrona again requests his help, Alucius finds he cannot refuse.

Given command of the Northern and Southern guards, Alucius faces multiple threats: a religious rebellion, ancient and powerful weapons under the control of the forces of Madrien and, most frightening, an alien evil bent on enslaving all of Corus. Armed with his own courage and magic, as well as Wendra's magical talent and the aid of the mysterious Soarers, Alucius undertakes his most dangerous endeavor yet.

As usual Modesitt creates a fully realized, magical universe peopled with complex characters who are rarely wholly good or evil but a realistic jumble of motivations and desires. Corus is a land of humans but also magical and supernatural creatures, and this third installment of the Corean Chronicles reveals more about the land itself and the mysteries of its magic. (Jul., 624 pp., $27.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum