Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review: Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the Heart
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Valdemar: The Herald Spy (Book 2)
Publication: DAW (October 6, 2015)

Description: Mags was a Herald of Valdemar. But he had once lived the brutal life of a child slave. When he was Chosen by his Companion Dallen, his young life was saved, and he slowly adjusted to being well fed, educated, and treasured as a trainee in the Herald's Collegium at Haven. Singled out by the King's Own Herald, Mags would thrive in his secret training as a spy. His unusually strong Gift—an ability to Mindspeak and Mindhear anyone, not just others who were Gifted—made him a perfect undercover agent for the king.

Sequel to Mercedes Lackey's Closer to Home, this adventure continues Mags's journey as Valdemar's herald spy.

My Thoughts: This second volume in the Herald Spy series has as a central focus Mags and Amily's wedding. The king wants to use the occasion of the marriage of the King's Own Herald to do some political things. Mags and Amily put Lady Dia in charge and know that all they will need to do is show up. Both Amily and Mags are busy with their day jobs; Amily is learning her role as a the King's Own Herald and setting up a spy network among the impoverished young women of good family who are poor relations of little hope and prospects. Mags is busy working with his own spy network of orphans that he plans to train and put in households where he needs information.

Mags keeps having feeling that something is going to go wrong with the whole wedding. So he convinces Amily that the two should just slip off and get married. They won't tell anyone. But if something goes wrong with the spectacle that is being arranged, at least, they will already be married.

And something does go wrong. Someone is trying to force Valdemar to go to war with its neighbor Menmellith. Menmellith currently has a boy king who is in the care of the council and a disgruntled relative has taken the opportunity to try to foster a rebellion. Menmellith is certain that Valdemar is behind the potential usurper because his troops are using Valdemaran weapons. The King and council know very well that they haven't sanctioned this plan in any way. Heralds are sent scurrying including Mags and his new father-in-law to try to find out who is leading and funding these plan.

I especially liked seeing Mags go back to the area where he started his life and get to see what a well run mine that cares for its workers looks like. We also get to see Mags and some of the younger sons of the mine owners get all involved in Kirball.

This was another excellent story about the Heralds of Valdemar.

Favorite Quote:
It was with a feeling of profound relief that Mags kissed his bride under the combined (beaming) gazes of his new father-in-law, Brother Elban, Healer and tender of the little Shrine of Alia of the Birds, and three Companions.
I bought this book. You can buy your copy here.

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