Magpie is a thirteen-year-old orphan chosen by one of the magical Companion horses of Valdemar and taken to the capital city, Haven, to be trained as a Herald. Like all Heralds, Magpie learns that he has a hidden Gift-the Gift of telepathy. But life at the court is not without obstacles. When Mags is "recognized" by foreign secret operatives whose purpose is unknown, Mags himself comes under suspicion. Who are Magpie's parents-who is he, really? Can Mags also solve the riddle of his parentage and his connection with the mysterious spies-and prove his loyalty-before the king and court banish him as a traitor?
In the ongoing exploration of the early days of her popular Valdemar series, Lackey (Foundation) continues the tale of Mags, an orphan Chosen by the telepathic, horselike Companions to train as a Herald. Eventually he will be responsible for keeping the peace, enforcing the laws, and serving the crown. The learning curve is steep, the training rigorous, and the extracurriculars downright lethal, especially when Mags is picked by a high-placed Herald to act as informant and secret agent. Already an outcast due to his impoverished background, Mags is all but ostracized when flashes of the future link him to a potential assassination attempt upon the king. The tone, characterization, and rampant angst recall Lackey's earliest Valdemar books, while the themes of magical orphans and sports conjure up more modern images of Harry Potter. While not ground-breaking, this is a worthy entry in the overall saga.
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An emotional and thought provoking read
Mercedes Lackey once again establishes herself as a real master of human emotion as she colors the past lives of Valdemar. You really think and feel with her characters. You will cry with them, laugh with them and truly enter into her deep and wonderful country. A wonderful read from a legend in her genre.