Sunday, January 29, 2012

Arms-Commander, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Arms-Commander, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

In Arms-Commander Modesitt revisits Recluce again, this time jumping back to an earlier time in the saga. I believe this is the first Recluce book with a female protagonist, and he makes full use of it spending much of the novel examining traditional male and female roles taken to their extremes. The plot revolves around Saryn, the Arms-Commander of the female-ruled Westwind, trying to find allies and stability in a male-dominated world. “She truly hadn’t understood, not emotionally, the depth of the misogynism embedded in the Lornian culture. Why not? What had changed her understanding? The fanatical male insistence on tradition, to the point of senseless death after senseless death? Or the inability or unwillingness to accept the superiority of a female force? The old Cyadorian dwelling, with its entire structure designed to restrain women?” In most of Modesitt’s books who is “right” and who is “wrong” is very clear; this is no exception, especially as the antagonists are unlikeable, old-school he-man woman haters. I wouldn’t recommend using this as an introduction to the world of Recluce, but for those of us that have visited this universe before it is a welcome and wonderful addition.

First Sentence:
In the late afternoon on the Roof of the World, the guards stood silent on the practice ground, their eyes fixed on the blackness rising just above the western horizon as Istril stepped out of the main door of Tower Black and crossed the causeway.

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