Book 11 of the Saga of Recluse
This eleventh Recluse novel is a direct sequel to Magi'i of Cyador and is more a continuation of that story than a sequel. The book continues to follow Lorn, an officer in Cyador's Mirror Lancers. Chronologically, this is the second book in the Recluse series and is still a good 400 years before the events in Fall of Angels. Lorn begins the story as Over-Captain of a port city. As with all of his postings, Lorn is assigned it so that he may fail and be killed. Lorn has been given the most difficult assignments that exist in Cyador. He was a student Magus, but his aptitude led him to be assigned to the Lancers. Those in power in Cyador find Lorn to be a potential threat, but Lorn keeps surviving by being smarter, luckier, and more ruthless than those who oppose him, and so he works his way up the chain of command of the Mirror Lancers.
If Magi'i was more of an action/adventure book with some intrigue, Scion is the opposite. Sure, there is action, and battles, but this book deals more with political intrigue and moral decisions (and ambivalence) and political infighting. Lorn has to play the game in order to survive, all the while he only wants to stay alive and be with his merchanter consort, Ryalth. As Lorn's fortunes rise in the Mirror Lancers, so does Ryalth's success with the Ryalor trading house. Because she is a lady trader, she is also not completely accepted by the current powers in Cyador. Lorn would, and does do everything he can protect himself, his family and especially Ryalth. This does not exclude murder...he views it more as pre-emptive self defense rather than cold blooded murder, but Lorn does what he feels he has to do. He isn't quite as much of a sympathetic protagonist as is Lerris or Creslin, but he is still in their mold.
As the novel progresses, the stakes keep raising as Lorn gains military rank and as the current emperor is closer to dying. His battles get tougher, larger, and carry much greater risk to his life, his career, and to Cyador. The novel follows the logical progression of Lorn's career and everything that happens feels like that is the logical next step. Part of the reason for that is probably because of the nature of the Recluse series. Each protagonist is put in very similar circumstances to other protagonists in the series. They do exactly what needs to be done to survive, are called Cold-Blooded because the do so, and end up doing similar actions in their quest to survive and have a quiet life. Lerris, Creslin, Justin, and Nylan are all very similar to Lorn in this way. Modesitt's novels are very formulaic in that manner. If you try to read them all in a row, they become very tiresome because you are really reading the same exact story being told over and over again. However, if you read a book or two and take a break for several months before continuing with the series, you may find Recluse easier to digest. Recluse remains one of my favorite series (Though not the best), but I have come to understand that it is best to read the books in small chunks rather than in one big piece.