The long-awaited founding of Valdemar comes to life in this new series from a New York Times bestselling author and beloved fantasist.
Within the Eastern Empire, Duke Kordas Valdemar rules a tiny, bucolic Duchy that focuses mostly on horse breeding. Anticipating the day when the Empire’s exploitative and militant leaders would not be content to leave them alone, Korda’s father set out to gather magicians in the hopes of one day finding a way to escape and protect the people of the Duchy from tyranny.
Kordas has lived his life looking over his shoulder. The signs in the Empire are increasingly dire. Under the direction of the Emperor, mages have begun to harness the power of dark magics, including blood magic, the powers of the Abyssal Planes, and the binding and "milking" of Elemental creatures.
But then one of the Duchy’s mages has a breakthrough. There is a way to place a Gate at a distance so far from the Empire that it is unlikely the Emperor can find or follow them as they evacuate everyone that is willing to leave.
But time is running out, and Kordas has been summoned to the Emperor's Court.
Can his reputation as a country bumpkin and his acting skills buy him and his people the time they need to flee? Or will the Emperor lose patience, invade to strip Valdemar of everything of worth, and send its conscripted people into the front lines of the Imperial wars?
Bestseller Lackey underwhelms in the half-baked first installment of her Founding of Valdemar series, which returns to the sprawling world first visited in 1987's Arrows of the Queen. Duke Kordas of Valdemar and most of his constituents prepare to escape the reach of the hostile Empire, a scheme that started with Kordas's father. But as Kordas's mages put the finishing touches on their escape plan, the Emperor summons Kordas to the Imperial City to deliver a parcel of tribute horses. While there, he discovers an atrocity committed against the vrondi, air elementals whose mistreatment has been carefully hidden by the Emperor. Lackey's world is richly drawn and the magic system behind the inter-Empire travel is ingenious, but as Kordas recalibrates his plan to take on the Empire's wrongdoings and free the vrondi, he faces such feeble obstacles that the whole thing feels a tad too easy. The Emperor is a one-dimensional villain whose incompetence poses no real threat to Kordas's mission, and with Kordas's victory all but assured, the tension drains from the story. Lackey's fans will be pleased to return to Valdemar, but will hope for higher stakes in the series to come. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh. \n
Great read and the ending was surprising.