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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy writing and plotting, 29 April 2014
This review is from: Antiagon Fire (Imager Portfolio) (Imager Portfolio (Paperback)) (Mass Market Paperback)
I resent books like this. L.E. Modesitt is a perfectly competent writer ... when he can be bothered. He has written some splendid material, such as "The Magic of Recluce" and the "Forever Hero" novels. He has also written inferior works, more or less routinely, as sequels.

This is an inferior work, Modesitt by numbers. All his military campaigns are exactly the same. The countryside is sketchily realised, the people interactions invariably involve the hero sitting around with minimal forces, worrying at his colleagues and subordinates and getting constantly reassured by them - something that is quite simply unbelievable and irritating. Indeed there is a parody waiting to be written where all the minor characters groan at the author making them constantly pet the hero. So frankly it's boring a lot of the time. Modesitt's ability to keep the reader with him means you finish the work; but only just.

Much of the plot is silly. The hero - never mind his name, it's the same hero as every other Modesitt book - goes off on a dangerous diplomatic mission, with wife (!). Instead of negotiating the council of Khel make pointless speeches. After which, for no obvious reason, the hero goes and stands on a hill-top while people get him dive-bombed by eagles.

Anybody with an elementary experience of human interactions will find all this incredible. Khel itself was tedious and improbable as a country.

Likewise the scenes where the hero is involved in pacifying Bovaria. I wonder if Modesitt knows that there are memoirs, written by imperial civil servants who had to do precisely such a role in difficult country, after British forces had won the major battle but now had to create a nation? (e.g. in Nigeria) If he had read these, his storyline would be considerably more probable.

It tires, after a while. You can only take so much poor quality plotting and writing.

If you have read the series so far, you may as well read this. But frankly it's atrocious.
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