I recently re-read Fall of Angels, the sixth book in Modesitt’s Recluce series. The first time I read it was not long after it first came out. Though Fall of Angels is the sixth book in the series, it actually takes place hundreds of years in the past, when the angels of legend fell. The angels in this case are the mostly female crew of a military starship from another universe that suddenly find themselves in a completely different universe with half of their tech not working or working in ways that are not according to their original design. Luckily they find themselves orbiting a world that is just barely inhabitable for them. (They are cold-adapted humanoids. The planet is mostly too warm for them.) They crash land in an uninhabited area that is close enough to their requirements and attempt to settle.
Unfortunately, they land in an area that’s claimed by the Lord of Lornth, a small country run by a man who does not appreciate squatters and thinks that a group of women will be easy marks. He attempts to attack the angels, but the angels defeat him. This leads to a conflict spanning years between the angels and the noble’s heir. A conflict where there is absolutely no attempt at communication because the angels are mostly women and the men in the story are completely unable to wrap their minds around the idea that women are people, even if they are also squatters, and are only interested in killing or otherwise removing the angels. (I exaggerate slightly. The main antagonist does think women are people, he just never makes the leap to “you know, maybe if I tried real diplomacy instead of fake diplomacy, maybe I could make a deal with these scary ladies?”)
The story is told mainly through the point of view of Nylan, one of the only men on the crew, and the ship’s engineer. Nylan becomes responsible for creating infrastructure for the tiny community and grows increasingly uncomfortable with some of the decisions made by the ship’s former captain, Ryba. Despite their rapidly crumbling relationship, Nylan continues to be supportive of Ryba’s efforts, mostly because the alternatives are much, much worse. (The decay of the relationship in comparison to the success of the community plays very strangely against the antagonist’s successful marriage and general failure at defeating the protagonists.)
Overall, I still like the book, though this is not one of my favorites in the series.
Fall of Angels (Saga of Recluce) on Amazon
Fall of Angels (Saga of Recluce)on Powell's Books