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"Heritage of Cyador: The Saga of Recluce" is by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

"HERITAGE OF CYADOR: The Saga of Recluce," by L.E. Modesitt Jr., Tor Books, $27.99, 525 pages (f)

Even those who aren't series regulars to Utah author L.E. Modesitt Jr.’s Saga of Recluce series can find the stratagem and concepts of order versus chaos intriguing — if they get through all of the buildup to action and keep track of all of the players and their relationships in his latest book, "Heritage of Cyador."

As a grey magician and the second son of Kiedron, the Duke of Cigoerne, Lerial takes the starring role in the 18th book of the series. He became a major player in the saga with Modesitt’s last book, "Cyador’s Heirs."

"Heritage of Cyador" begins with Lerial watching over the border skirmishes with the nation of Afrit. He uses his powers over order and chaos, which equate to magic in his world, and annihilates the encroaching Afrit army.

Five years later, Afrit requests help from the smaller, poorer nation of Cigoerne. Both are weary of their belligerent neighbor, Heldya, and Kiedron recognizes that it is in his country’s best interest to aid Afrit and, in turn, receive protection from Heldya. He sends Lerial in command of a number of Mirror Lancers, Cigoerne’s best warriors.

Modesitt uses Lerial’s mission to dig into philosophy and political commentary about nations at war, forcing betrothals to buy allies, and the state of a nation that is beholden to its merchant community.

With "Heritage of Cyador," Modesitt muses about mercantile distaste: The warriors of the Afrit country are purchased by its merchant class. Lerial struggles with this oligarchy throughout the book and must use his own magical skills and wit to overcome his status as a lone warrior fighting for self-identity in a world where familial decisions are made in regards to political outcomes and where money drives war.

The novel describes military action and some war violence, but more in general references than in great detail, with occasional strong language. There is no sexual content.

Modesitt is a prolific author of more than 60 novels that encompass two science-fiction series and three fantasy series. He lives in Cedar City.

Lauren Elkins writes randomly on her blog, tweets periodically about who knows what, and spends her regular days conversing with computer programmers. By the time she gets home at night, she is mighty happy to see her husband and son.