Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Audiobook Review: Beyond by Mercedes Lackey


Author: Mercedes Lackey
Narrator: Paul Woodson
Series: The Founding of Valdemar (Book 1)
Publication: Tantor Audio (September 14, 2021)
Length: 12 hours and 13 minutes

Description: 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.

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?

My Thoughts: This story tells about the beginnings of Valdemar. It begins in the corrupt Eastern Empire and Duke Valdemar rules a rural and hopefully overlooked dukedom. Its two major products are barges and very finely bred horses. 

Duke Kordas Valdemar is at least the third generation that has been working to remove his goods and people from the Empire and start a new life somewhere else. Now that the mages who have stayed under the emperor's view have discovered a spell to make gates into new lands far away, the plans can begin to be realized.

But Kordas is called to the capitol with the latest tribute shipment of horses. He sees that even more has changed for the worse from the time some years earlier when he had been kept as a noble hostage in the palace. Human servants have been replaced by dolls powered by captive Vrondi and the city is almost empty since anyone not immediately needed to support the palace has been sent to the Southern border to fight in the emperor's long-running war. 

Kordas, being the kind of man he is, becomes determined to also free the Vrondi, rescue that latest group of noble hostages, and rescue anyone else in danger. And danger is imminent because the emperor has captured a child earth elemental to provide magical power for his mages to use and its very angry parents are getting closer.

Meanwhile back at home, Kordas's wife and sister-in-law are mobilizing the transfer of people, goods and supplies to their new home.

I really enjoyed all of the magic and intrigue. This was an engaging audiobook presentation.

I bought this one during and Audible Sale November 20, 2022. You can buy your copy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!