This is really a review of the whole series, as I've read them all up to this one & intend to read the rest too.
I keep asking myself, why? Why do I enjoy these books so much? Why am I driven to read them so obsessively at the negation of other excellent books waiting for my attention? Why are Rhenn & Quaeryt so engaging?
I could say it's because of the excellent writing, but I've read other books just as good if not better. I could say that it's the captivating plots, but sometimes Modesitt' s tendency to use excessive detail can swamp any attempt to use action as a plot mover, (check out Princeps if you don't believe me). I could say it's the action, character building, an eerie ability to capture real conversations or even to be able to give just the right amount of insight into a character's thought processes. Yet I still feel that I would have failed to identify what actually keeps me reading.
Throughout the series I have been troubled by the casual treatment of death, especially the way both central characters in the series seem able to justify being judge, jury & executioner in countless situations without consulting others or feeling lasting remorse. Quaeryt does seem to struggle with this more than Rhenn, but even he is able to ignore his dubious concerns enough to carry on with the practice.
And yet I'm still tempted to buy the next instalment & start reading it as soon as possible!
If you think you know why, then please, please, please tell me! I think I'm doomed to read the whole series anyway but it may help others decide if they want to start or not.