This is the first book in a series by Mercedes Lackey. It is set in the Kingdom of Valdemar, which long term fans of Lackey’s work will remember. It occurs between 50 and 150 years after “Magic’s Price” and around 200 years before “Brightly Burning”.
The Kingdom has expanded considerably, and now Companions are bringing in many more Chosen. Some of whom, like Mags, the main character in this tale, are completely or almost completely uneducated. This has led the Heralds to create a Herald’s Collegium to replace the system of trainees with mentors. One of the threads of this story is the worry and unrest some of the Heralds are feeling because of that. Another, related to the expansion, comes from a diplomat, whose purposes are never clear.
This is rather an enjoyable tale, except for one weakness. It ends rather abruptly after moving from Mags making friends and watching the diplomat’s guards, to dealing with an assassin. Honestly, it feels like this is the first part of a longer tale cut off from the rest with a cheerful epilogue added just to make the story end on a cheerful note. From my perspective it either needed to be carried another couple hundred pages or stopped when they got everyone out of the killer storm.
The characters are what I’ve come to expect from Lackey; not terribly deep and mostly there to keep the story moving along. On the other hand they work quite nicely for moving the story along without distracting the reader from the action.
All in all an enjoyable story, one of Mercedes Lackey’s solid tales that I’ll reread from time to time.