While volume 17 technically contains a complete “new” arc it is an immediate continuation of the last one and the series in general builds off all that has come before. This is not the place to start reading – go back to the beginning.
The Claws of Memory (complete: parts 1-6) follows the major power shift at the end of The Lamentation of the Earth and features the intersection of many of the remaining players, and a new danger that might be greater than them all. The developments here are intense, and once again surprising. It amazes me how well and how often Yagi can spring the unexpected on the reader this late in the series and still have everything build and flow naturally and logically. Battle rages throughout the volume and several characters are permanently affected.
I can’t get into more detail without major spoilers so suffice to say this is a pivotal installment and with the conflict within just getting started the next volumes promise to be the same.