Monday, October 20, 2014

Closer to Home-Mercedes Lackey

Closer to Home
Mercedes Lackey
DAW, Oct 7 2014, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756408992

In Haven, Valdemar, Mags the Herald is with his Companion Dallen when he hears the Mindvoice shriek of the King’s Own Nikolas.  Using Mindvoice he tries to contact Nikolas but his mentor fails to respond.  Dallen and Mags see Nikolas floating in the nearby river.  On top of Dallen, Mags pulls Nikolas onto the shore, but he is not breathing.  Using the Breath of Life technique Bear taught him, Mags saves Nikolas’ life. 

Rolan the Companion selects the incapacitated Nikolas’ panicked daughter Amily to replace him as the King’s Own though the monarch Kyril fears having an untested young female in such a critical position.  Complicating matters for the new King’s Own and the monarch is a treasonous coup to extinguish the Heralds and fill the power void.  With unprecedented Mindspeech skill, Mags assists Amily in an attempt to uncover the traitors before the Collegium is shattered, its Heralds eradicated and King Kyril loses the throne.

The first Herald Spy Valdemar fantasy is a fabulous opening act as Mags (no longer a stranger in a strange land) and Amily face impossible odds.  Both fear they’re not ready for the big leagues without adult supervision (Nikolas), but they bravely team-up to do the right thing with so much at stake.  Fast-paced throughout, yet vivid Valdemar and the key cast (particularly the protagonists and their companions) seem genuine.  Genre readers, especially series fans, will delight in returning to Valdemar.

Harriet Klausner

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