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Fall of Angels (Saga of Recluce, 6) Paperback – July 15, 1997
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"The Conjurer" by Luanne G. Smith
A beguiling novel of revenge, deliverance, and a powerful sisterhood of magic by the author of The Vine Witch and The Glamourist. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Publisher : Tor Books (July 15, 1997)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 608 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250248531
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250248534
- Item Weight : 1.06 pounds
- Dimensions : 4.25 x 1.34 x 7 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I found the central character, Nylan, very likable, and, while he has commonalities with the protagonists of the other books, his background as an officer on a space frigate makes him distinct. I also liked that his primary effort was to build a sustainable base in a low-technology environment. In one pointed speech, Nylan says, "You know, heroes are supposed to slay the enemy, but no one has to worry about shelter or heat or coins or stables or whether the roads need to be paved or whether you need bridges or culverts to keep them from being impassible." That said, even though I liked what he was trying to do, and even though I was interested in how he might achieve it, at times the pacing crossed the border from steady to slow.
In a second departure from the earlier books, I found Sillek by far the most believable opponent to date, probably because he is an antagonist rather than a villain. (Although I'm enjoying this series very much, the villains have been the weakest aspect for me.)
This series is not great literature. I am not beguiled by the prose. I find the protagonists well-drawn and very likable, but the supporting cast less developed. Yet the story often moves me, almost invariably engages me, and at its best is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
At the outset of the tale, we meet a crew that by happenstance, is made up of women, with only three male crew members. Nylan is the ships engineer, and, as are all the officers, he is connected into the ships neuronet, the mental command center that completely controls the ship and its environment. Ryba is the ship's captain, and while she and Nylan have a sexual relationship, there is no doubt that she is in command. I didn't say romantic, because though they sleep together and care for each other, there is no romance involved. As a result of a great battle, they are thrown into an alternate universe, above a strange planet. With no way to return, they are forced to land.
They are "angels," humans from the various cold planets of Heaven. Most are from Sybra, the coldest planet, but a few are from Svenn, a warmer planet. Nylan is half-Svenn. The Sybrans cannot take the heat of their new world and are pretty much trapped in the cool mountains. Unfortunately the first thing that happens is they have landed on a world previously colonized. It probably happened in the same way, but by the Rationalists of the warmer worlds of Hell, those humans called 'demons' with whom they have been at war with for thousands of years. The lord of the land immediately attacks them, and the conflict is on.
This tale takes the concepts of traditional gender roles and twists them inside out. If she hadn't been thrown out of her universe, Ryba would never have had the chance to rise any higher than she already had, as women are considered technically equal, but there is a glass ceiling most women can't break through. In their new world, she makes sure the three men know they are now the ones with lesser stature, coldly telling Gerlich, "I could amputate both your arms and you would still retain your stud value." She is determined to build a culture where women have all the power and men are simply a means to reproduction. She is deadly, calculating, and will ruthlessly use anyone to achieve her goal.
Nylan is a strong man but he is not a leader, and feels like he has no other options, other than to march along with plans Ryba sets down for them. Using their failing technology he forges the weapons and builds their tower so they can survive the first winter in their mountain home. As events unfold and his relationship with Ryba disintegrates, he is confused and unsure of what to do. He is a man with a temperate mind, believing in equality with neither sex having the upper hand. A few of the women feel the same way he does.
This age old conflict makes for an awesome tale. Each character is sharply drawn, and the contrasts in their philosophies and the way they relate to each other drives this to a dramatic finish. I have read this entire series several times, and absolutely love it. In my opinion, this is one of Modesitt's better tales.
While the book was really fun to read and and the story line progressed smoothly and quickly, I thought that it was very predictable (thus the sub 5-star rating). I mean, considering the fact that the reader knows that Westwind survives and that the Legend lives on, there weren't really too many possible outcomes for this one. Also, with Ryba's foresight, she kept predicting occurances that would come later in the book. I'd really be interested in reading more about Heaven itself.