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Lackey, who has enchanted readers since the publication of her first novel, Arrows of the Queen in 1987, scores another hit with the paperback release of the first book in an exciting new series. High magic had been lost to Valdemar when he gave his life to save his kingdom from destruction by the dark sorceries. Now it falls to Elspeth Herald, heir to the throne, to take up the challenge and seek a mentor who will awaken her mage abilities.
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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. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.

Reviews

YA-- Elspeth, future queen of Valdemar, and her long-term friend, teacher, and fellow Herald, Skif, set out to locate a mage who will either train her or return with them to protect their home. Strong female characterization, vivid description, and fast-paced adventure entertain readers as good battles against evil in this first book in a fantasy trilogy.-- Barbara Hawkins, West Potomac High School, Fairfax, VA

When a powerful sorcerer threatens the kingdom of Valdemar, Herald Elspeth embarks on a search for a mage to defend her country. At the same time, in the magic-ridden Pelagir Hills, a young Tayledras scout named Darkwing finds himself caught between his duty to his tribe and his vow to foreswear magic. Set in the world of her ``Heralds of Valdemar'' and ``Last Herald-Mage'' trilogies, Lackey's latest fantasy (the first in hardcover), introduces a pair of engaging heroes involved in a conflict that reverberates with echoes of an ancient past. Although Elspeth and Darkwind's stories do not merge until the novel's end, Lackey's talent for foreshadowing and skillful plotting maintain continuity and interest throughout. Highly recommended--particularly where the author has a following.

This first volume of a new trilogy is again set in the imperiled land of Valdemar, encountered earlier in Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series. The heir to the throne, Herald Elspeth, sets out with Gwena, her Companion (a Guardian Spirit embodied as a horse), to find an Adept who can teach her people both to use and to deflect the power of magic. On learning that she has great potential as a mage, Elspeth goes for training to the k'Sheyna clan of the Tayledras, sorcerers who specialize in cleansing lands damaged in the long-ago Magic Wars. K'Sheyna leader Darkwind, attempting to rally his people as they are assaulted by unknown forces, saves Nyara, a Changechild, and discovers that the evil Adept Mornelithe Falconsbane is the source of the clan's troubles: under Tayledras land lie miraculous artifacts the Adept desires. After Darkwind saves Elspeth, the two join forces to save his people. Lackey's delightful world of magic is inhabited by strong and believable men, women and creatures, the most enchanting being the griffins Treyvan and Hydona. (Oct.)

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