Beltur and Jessyla have now been made the councillors of Haven along with their companions and have been charged with getting it under control as it has been essentially lawless for a few years at this stage. However they find that there are bigger forces at play and find themselves caught up in a war that they weren’t expecting.
I definitely struggled more with this book than the previous two. I think in my head I was expecting a more low key entry, in that the focus would be of the town building up gradually, overcoming obstacles etc. There were elements of that but the main story of the book ended up being a full scale war and I really didn’t see that coming. I generally enjoy those style of books a lot but for whatever reason it didn’t grab me as much this time.
Beltur has transformed from a somewhat different protagonist than usual to the more standard determined one, and I think that is a bit of a shame. He is now completely ruthless and is killing people by the thousands. Jessyla is pretty much the same in a lot of respects. There is never much tension in the books but what I’ve always found interesting is how they overcome the obstacles set in front of them. Beltur is strong and capable, but limited in what he can do, so I did find his ingenuity good but nothing much changed from this book compared to the last except for one thing, so it was lacking even that dynamic.
I did enjoy it, not my favourite entry by any means, but still entertaining. It could be the problem of reading too many Modesitt books in a row, I have found more than two in a row can get too samey. I’m going to take a small break before getting to the last book in this arc, which I believe is set a bit more in the future with a different protagonist.
3.5 rounded down