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For as long as he could remember, Mags had labored, along with other children, in the gem mines-underfed, overworked, and constantly reminded of his good fortune for having a place in the world despite of his mysterious "Bad Blood." The appearance of a King's Herald and a magnificent white steed with blue eyes changes Mags's life and introduces him to the rarified existence of an apprentice Herald, complete with his Companion Dallen, the sentient horselike mount. Returning to her beloved Valdemar universe, Lackey opens her new series at a pivotal time in the history of Valdemar, when the education of Heralds is changing and dangers from other lands are felt in the court and on the training field. 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.