Cover art: Jody Lee
HERALDS OF VALDEMAR BOOK THREE
Pages: 319 (Including Appendix)
Publisher: Daw Books
Published: 5 January 1988
On the cover:
With Elspeth, the heir to the throne of Valdemar, come of marriageable age, Talia, the Queen's Own Herald returns to court to find Queen and heir beset by diplomatic intrigue as various forces vie for control of Elspeth's future.
But just as Talia is about to uncover the traitor behind all these intrigues, she is sent off on a mission to the neighboring kingdom, chosen by the Queen to investigate the worth of a marriage proposal from Prince Ancar. And to her horror, Talia soon discovers there is far more going on at Prince Anscar's court than just preperation for a hoped for royal wedding. For a different magic than that of the Heralds is loose in Anscar's realm - an evil and ancient sorcery that may destroy all of Valdemar unless Talia can send warning to her Queen in time.
For the third book in the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy, Lackey for the first time takes is out of Valdemar. There have been some talk of the greater world earlier, but now we get to experience it.
There is much more of a vibe of politics here than in the previous books. And I find that very interesting. It broadens the understanding of how the Heralds function, and gives a deeper insight into their place in Valdemar's society. They have always been described as the Queen's Own, but here we get a better sense that this is as more than an internal "police" force.
The personal journey of Talia is also a major part of the plot this time. Not only in her central place in the political plot, but also in her personal life. It's good to see a resolution to something that has been brewing since the first book. The conclusion to, at least this part of, Talia's personal life is very well integrated into the greater storyline of the plot.
Lackey branches out in the epicness of the series with this novel. There is a much greater scope to this than the relatively closed settings of the two previous books. This is done in a very fluid way, it feels like the tale grows and branches out without being forced by the writer, but as a logical extension of the narrative.
As a conclusion to a trilogy, I really enjoyed this novel. But I must admit that I was a little disappointed with some of the things that were unresolved. Then again I have become so invested in the world of Valdemar now, and plan to pick up the next trilogies in the future, so this is not actually anything than I minor disappointment.
Apart from a feeling that the end could have been even better if the book had been a hundred pages longer, this was a very good read.
Lackey has cemented her place as a must read author when it comes to classic style (i.e. pre-Gritty) Fantasy. And I would again like to recommend this trilogy to anyone who wants Fantasy with a little less darkness and grit in it.
Reviews: Arrows of the Queen Arrow's Flight
Links: Mercedes Lackey Daw Books