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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Fantasy » Epic

The Hills Have Spies (Valdemar

Family Spies)

By Mercedes Lackey

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Format: Hardback
Family Spies #1 begins a new Valdemar series by the bestselling Mercedes Lackey, and continues the story of the now-married Mags and Amily, protagonists in the previous two Valdemar series. Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife Amily are happily married with three kids. The oldest, Justyn, has the Gift of animal Mindspeech--he can talk to animals and persuade them to act as he wishes. Justyn's dream is to follow in his father's footsteps as a Herald Spy, but has yet to be Chosen by his horse companion.

Mags is more than happy to teach Justyn all he knows. He regularly trains his children, including Justyn, with tests and exercises, preparing them for the complicated and dangerous lives they will likely lead. Justyn has already held positions in the Royal Palace as a runner and in the kitchen, useful places from which he can learn to listen.
As the next stage of Justyn's training, Mags proposes that Justyn joins a group of traveling players and musicians, to get experience away from home and out in the world. Justyn joins the troupe, and he starts collecting information for his father. And the patterns he finds are unsettling....

During the troupe's travels, Justyn witnesses growing rural unrest about an indigenous community of Valdemar, known as Hawkbrothers. When the troupe settles for a season at a fortified manor of a local lord, Justyn watches the unrest grow increasingly hostile. The manor lord dismisses Hawkbrothers as inhuman--and has a local militia to back up his hatred. When a child goes missing, the locals immediately blame Hawkbrothers, and Justyn finds himself in a dangerous position.

He enlists the help of a local stray dog, who knows a lot about the town's goings-on, despite being a bit...odd. Justyn must find the missing child and warn the Hawkbrothers community of the trouble headed their way--before tensions turn deadly.

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the bestselling Heralds of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator.

Reviews

Praise for the Herald Spy trilogy: "Whether it's the spellbinding world, the intrigue of the plot, or the simple yet remarkable narrative style - it is impossible to say which of these makes the story so good, but one thing is for sure: Closer to Home marks the beginning of another fantastic Lackey series." --RT Reviews "With an unusually strong Gift that allows him to Mindspeak and Mindhear, Mags is perfectly suited for his role, and this sequel gives fans another opportunity to explore Lackey's storied universe of Valdemar, one of the best-imagined fantasy universes in history." --Barnes & Noble Bookseller Picks "Mags remains an engaging character, and makes a very capable spy/investigator...his adventures still make engrossing reading." --Locus "Closer to the Heart has the two things that have always made me love these books: a richly detailed history of the world, and beautiful writing." --The Arched Doorway

EAN: 9780756413170
ISBN: 0756413176
Publisher: Daw Books
Age Range: 15+ years
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