|The Chaos Balance (Saga of Recluce)|
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Date: 15 June, 1998 — $7.99 — Book
Nylan is a loyal sort, and one who wants to help the whole crew survive. Unfortunately, he is also male, and in the culture that Ryba, the ship's commander is setting up, there is no place for him. The fact that she sees visions of the future doesn't help the fact that she has become colder and more ruthless since arriving on Candar; the fact that she sees dire consequences for being lenient is of little comfort. Finally, Nylan has to come to terms with the fact that he has to leave.
He journeys with Ayrlyn, the former ship's communications officer, down to the lowlands, where, as is common in Modesitt's world, a simple quest for survival turns into a changed world. In Nylan's case, he ends up doing enough all by his lonesome to ensure that his name will be curse by followers of chaos for centuries to come. Along the way, he has a few bouts of "why?" but they're mostly endurable, as he is an honorable man.
Incidentally, one commenter on Amazon mentioned that Nylan is one of Modesitt's few "middle-aged" characters. Despite the cover art, which indeed shows him as a stocky forty or thereabouts, he is described as a wiry thirty-one or thirty-two who looks a decade younger than that. (And who can be mistaken for a woman in a culture where beards are the norm.) However, I do agree that his deliberations do carry the weight of maturity.