The Saga of Recluce is a series of fantasy novels.The initial novel in the series, The Magic of Recluce (from which the series derives its name), was published in 1991. The series is still in publication with the recently released Arms-Commander on January 2010.
The 16 books of the series describe the changing, often confrontational, relationship between the genetic descendants of two technologically advanced cultures, representatives of which have been marooned on a sparsely inhabited world and regressed to the level of the existing inhabitants' primitive technology. Themes of gender stereotyping, sexism, ageism, racism, ethics, economics, environmentalism and politics are explored in the course of the series, which examines the world through the eyes of all its protagonists.
The series is published outside of internal chronological order: The first book published in the series occurs near the end of the overall story, with subsequent books jumping further into the past to expand on elements of history. (The author strongly recommends reading the books in publication order.) As of the sixteenth novel, Arms-Commander, the saga covers seven different time periods and ten major storylines. The stories demonstrate the progression of real-life events into myth and legend over the progression of centuries, as the characters in one book will be referenced as heroes or mythical figures in other, chronologically later books. Additionally, certain characters appear in multiple books even if they aren't the main protagonist in that particular novel.
Within the Recluce universe, magic is manifest as a person's ability to harness the natural order or chaos inherent in matter. The feats of magic that are possible rely on the user's understanding not only of order or chaos, but in the interaction between the two and how they occur in balance in nature. Modesitt is unusual in fantasy writing in that he shows how the use of order and chaos affects all aspects of society. For example, his order wizards have jobs—they are carpenters, coopers, smiths, and engineers—all areas where order gives an added understanding. The chaos wizards are mostly enforcers, but can take on tasks like road-building when it is in their interest.
He also writes a number of other books both in fantasy and hard science fiction. He has a very good web site at http://www.lemodesittjr.com/ and there you can read all about them.