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Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy

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Overview

Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King's Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds' Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.

Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, ...

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Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy

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Overview

Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King's Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds' Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.

Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags' mentor, King's Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King's Own, a complicated and dangerous job that is made more so by this perilous time. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Returning to her beloved Valdemar universe, Lackey opens her new series at a pivotal time in the history of Valdemar.... Series fans will enjoy the variations on a familiar theme, while enough information is presented for first-timers to discover a world of high adventure and individual courage. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal (for Foundation)

“A real page-turner.... Outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans.” — Booklist (for Foundation)

“An enjoyable and pleasant read.... Mags is an appealing protagonist facing challenges (and successes) with which readers will empathize." — RT Book Reviews (for Foundation)

"An entertaining fantasy starring a likable lead character." — Midwest Book reviews (for Redoubt)

"Top Pick! ... A wonderful amalgam of fantasy and character study." — Night Owl Reviews (for Redoubt)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756408992
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Series: Valdemar Series
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 24,776
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Mercedes Lackey is one of the best storytellers I¿ve ever come a

    Mercedes Lackey is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever come across and I adore her world of Valdemar.  
    In this latest tale Mags & Amily come home to take up the reins of their adult responsibilities and to face Amily’s father and Mag’s mentor Nikolas to ask permission to marry.  Politics, magic, love, intrigue, and a bit of swashbuckling sword play and you have one terrific read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2014

    I eagerly awaited the latest release of the newest addition to T

    I eagerly awaited the latest release of the newest addition to The Collegium Chronicles. I Pre-Ordered it, in fact. I immensely enjoy Lackey’s work. She’s an excellent storyteller, and has created a unique world in Valdamar and wonderful stories. Her non-Valdamar series are also excellent. So why two stars for this book, you ask?
    I enjoy Lackey’s works mainly for their originality. Even her re-tellings of classic fairytales all have unexpected twists and characters that entertain like never before. However, the Heralds of Valdamar series is NOT a collection of re-told, old (aka classic) stories. It was refreshing. HOWEVER, Closer to Home breaks that pattern.
    It starts out as a half-way decent story. In matter of fact, I was on the edge of my seat. Spies, intrigue, near-death experience…Then the “meat” of the story begins. The main character is the King’s Spy – he’s taking over for his mentor, creating his own network, saving abused & enslaved children, beating the bad guys, rooting out murder plots…and in the background, a blood feud rears its ugly head. (Sounds promising, right?) Family X offended Family Y generations ago when Papa X refused to let his son marry Daughter Y because she was poor and ugly. Papa Y was offended, declared war, and blood flowed freely in the streets of Haven. Now, many generations later, and for the first time since that first major battle, the two families are both in Haven at the same time, and both are looking for spouses for their children (who are all of marrying age). For the first half of the book, this potential disaster is in the background, superseded (and rightly so) by more important events. The main characters of Closer to Home brush against the idea of “marriage as the only option for women” and the depressing reality of “marrying without love.” There are multiple, thinly veiled scenarios discussed regarding the idea of “people ending up in the wrong beds” because, since they hadn’t married for love—rather for politics/gain—they had a right to find love elsewhere. (HUGE turn off for me, as a Christian.) The second half of the book is dedicated to the fact that the youngest daughter of Family Y meets the only son of Family X and the two fall madly in love. You guessed it: Romeo & Juliette. It was so predictable to anyone who is even SLIGHTLY familiar with Shakespeare’s play about the star crossed lovers. Only in this case, the Heralds of Valdamar are trying their best to keep the bloodshed to a minimum.
     I was never a fan of the classic play, but seeing it so—well obviously—stuck into the middle of one of Lackey’s stories without much alteration or creativity, I was disgusted, disappointed, and annoyed. Granted, the way things turn out, Daughter Y doesn’t die in the end, but come on, Mercedes! You can do so much better! It seems like you had hit the proverbial Writer’s Block, and, having glanced at your bookshelf, saw a copy of Romeo & Juliette and decided to just plug it in to meet your deadline! As a writer myself, I understand the temptation, but your fans will not love you for it. You should’ve stuck with the storyline that you began in the first part of the book. If you had Closer to Home would’ve been awesome!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2014

    Not original

    While I enjoyed the novel overall, it really bothers me that a lot of the plot and dialogue is a direct copy of Romeo and Juliet. Lackey did not even bother to alter many of the most famous lines from the play. The ending is a bit of a twist to the original story, but that's the only difference. There's even a vicious cousin, Talbot, who object's to "Romeo" being at the family party (while wearing masks, of course). I expected much more from Lackey.

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  • Posted November 4, 2014

    I love Mercedes Lackey and Valdemar, but I really disliked this

    I love Mercedes Lackey and Valdemar, but I really disliked this book. Someone else mentioned "shades of Romeo and Juliet." This isn't just shades, it is so blatantly echoing Romeo and Juliet that it is obnoxious. She doesn't really take Shakespeare's (and other authors') tale and make something new, she just rehashes it almost verbatim. Since I am an English teacher, I teach R&J every year. Literally there are passages in the book where she uses the same metaphors, images, etc right from Shakespeare's play, only making the language change a little to fit the world of Valdemar. This isn't using a famous work as inspiration, to me this reads as pure laziness. It might have been an interesting exercise for a writer to try and incorporate similarities, but it is not something to publish.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2014

    Good story, as far as it went.

    Ho hum, shades of Romeo and Juliette. Been done, over done. Maybe the next installment in the series will be better. Leave the bard to the bard, he does a better job of it. I will be interested to see how the rest of this series developes. Anticlimactic considering the way tihe first series ended.

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  • Posted October 31, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    Love the Mercedes Lackey series, but most especially the Valdemar books. Such a well-developed world with excellent character development; the readers care about the lands depicted in these stories and love the characters and look forward to more, more, more!

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  • Posted October 24, 2014

    Quite Good

    One of the better books in this Series. I felt some of the earlier ones were geared more to young readers, this one however was more of an adult read. Not as good as the original books in this series but still good.

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  • Posted October 18, 2014

    I'm a fan of Mrs. Lackeys writing but this isn't her best work.

    I'm a fan of Mrs. Lackeys writing but this isn't her best work. The plot follows some fairly predictable lines and the characters tend to be one-dimensional. The biggest problem is the endless lamenting of the medieval system of arranged marriages. The book is peppered with paeans to true love and internal commentaries on the evils of politicizing marriage. The points raised are valid ones but page long testaments on the subject distract from the overall plot.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    The Valdemar books as a whole are a wonderful read and this is n

    The Valdemar books as a whole are a wonderful read and this is no exception. Mags is and has been an odd man out, in odd circumstance of being a Herald. Something that being an orphaned mine worker wouldn't prepare one for. The Collegium has been devolped incredibly well by this and the last series starring Mags and in a change from formula we actually see a character not only survive a series, but continue to star in the next.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    Mr. Ed meets Huckleberry Finn

    That prettymuch sums up this crashing bore of a book.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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