Tor, Aug 2003, 27.95, 528 pp.
On Corus, sheepherder Alucius possesses a powerful, untapped Talent that he tries to hide while serving his mandatory military time. Alucius just wants to go home to his wife Wendra so though he is a captain in the 21st Company he avoids trouble as much as possible in order to avoid becoming noticed.
Warlord Aellyan Edyss finds and opens an ancient vault containing magical weapons and legendary beasts from a time long before the Cataclysm. Aellyan plans to use his weaponry to conquer and then rule Corus. Alucius realizes his dilemma once he understands the threat posed by Aellyan. If he displays his prowess and succeeds in defeating the warlord and his magical army and arsenal Alucius will become visible to his superiors and a pawn of individuals like the Lord-Protector of Lanachrona. If he hides his Talent by doing nothing, he will probably die.
DARKNESSES, the second book of the Corean Chronicles (see LEGACIES), is a superb fantasy due to the abilities of L.E. Modesitt, Jr. to make a world of magic and mystical beasts seem real. The story line combines plenty of action with strong characters and even a sense of history. Alucius is a delightful reluctant hero. The support cast such as Wendra and the magically created beasts add depth to a strong epic fantasy that will have the audience wondering where the author will take them next.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner