Continued poor harvests and steam-powered industrialization displace and impoverish thousands. Protests grow and gather followers.
Against this rising tide of social unrest, Steffan Dekkard, newly appointed to the Council of Sixty-Six, is the first Councilor who is an Isolate, a man invulnerable to the emotional manipulations and emotional surveillance of empaths.
This makes him dangerous.
As unknown entities seek to assassinate him, Dekkard struggles to master political intrigue and infighting, while introducing radical reforms that threaten entrenched political and corporate interests.
L.E. Modesitt Jr. is a masterful storyteller, jumping right into the plot from Isolate, providing the same level of intrigue and social unrest as the previous novel. In this second book in the series, The Grand Design, author L.E. Modesitt Jr. continues to develop a discussion of political systems and questions that are easily applied to our modern political system and questioning of our legal systems. With strong characters, like Steffan and Avraal, both clever and complex and emotionally charged scenes, this novel flows even better than the previous, Isolate.
One of the reasons I think I liked this novel is that Modesitt has a unique ability to take what would ordinarily be boring, committee meetings, voting, and political discussion and make it riveting. He adds in intrigue and social unrest, political maneuvering and assassins to create a story impossible to put down. The corruption of the first novel is developed even more in this sequel. And while Steffan and Avraal are far from perfect, I loved the evolution of their characters and their relationship.
If you love deep, rich complex novels dealing with political intrigue and social unrest, this novel is worth checking out. I do recommend reading the first novel, Isolate, first but that will allow this novel to be even more engrossing and you will fall in love with Steffan, Avraal and those who support them. While this novel is far more emotionally fraught, it is an even more powerful story once you have read both novels.
Rating: 5 out of 5 assassins