This fifth book in "The Saga of Recluce" returns to the story of Lerris, the main character in the first book. I thought it slightly below the usual standard for Modesitt's fantasies ... which means I enjoyed it a lot. Lerris is a very likable character, trying very hard to do the best he can. I found the minor thread to do with Lerris and his parents particularly effective, and was moved by such a seemingly small thing as whether or not Lerris would send them a letter.
I note that Justen, the protagonist of the fourth book in the series, also plays an important part. I also note that the scenes from the perspective of the villains struck me as the weakest.