L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
The Towers of the Sunset
Tor Books 1992

Creslin is the son of the Marshall, ruler of Westwind. As a man in a matriarchal society, he is against his will sent away to be married to the younger sister of the ruler of neighboring Sarronnyn, Megaera. He runs away on the trip to his betrotheds country, and escapes the capturing patrol. But his mother and her marriage plans for him is not the big threat. He has the ability to become a black wizard, an order master, which isn't too popular among the chaos wizards who rules the east, where he is heading. And it doesn't become any better when Megaera visits him in a dream and he rapes her...

This was the second book about Recluce to be published, but in the Recluce-chronology it is set in the very beginning. This is the story about Creslin and Megaera, but more than that it is the story about the founding of Recluce. It is of course also a study in the chaos and order, and the relationship between them. As in "The Magic of Recluce", the young hero has to fight against Chaos Wizards, but here they are at their prime, ruling from the chaotic city of Fairhaven and building the great roads Lerris discovers in the other book.

"The Towers of the Sunset" portraits a very different continent than the one we get to know from Lerris' travels. The culture of Creslin's home country is quite difficult to comprehend, so different is it from Western culture. Fairhaven is also quite different from anything in "The Magic of Recluce", and there is of course no Reclucian culture. So that part of the story is set in the same area as the other book doesn't make it less interesting - actually the opposite.

This book is not as good as the first one. The story has both romance and tragedy, but it doesn't feel as spell-binding as the other one. Not bad, really, but not excellent either - or maybe it's just that it was written in the present tense, which felt strange for a story set in ancient times. I think the reason this book was written was that mr Modesitt wanted to give the historical background to why is the society it is, and in that sense it is really interesting, but in a way it is writing a novel out of an appendix. Well, at least I prefer a novel to chronicles. And it was not bad, just not as good as I had expected after reading "The Magic of Recluce".

Karl Henriksson

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Books by the same author:
The Magic of Recluce

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Henriksson & Henriksson 1996.