Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Under the Vale edited by Mercedes Lackey
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Valdemar's Heralds are an ancient order. Chosen from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages, these unusual individuals are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. Trained to be emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, and even warriors, their unique inborn talents make them indispensable to their monarch and their realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horselike Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. With their Companions, the Heralds of Valdemar ride circuit throughout the kingdom protecting the peace, and when necessary, defending their land and monarch.
Now, eighteen authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique gifts to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this well-loved fantasy realm.
Join Tanya Huff, Fiona Patton, Rosemary Edghill, Larry Dixon, Elisabeth Waters, Nancy Asire and others in seventeen original stories, including an all-new novella by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, set in in the magical lands of Valdemar, where:
A runaway orphan gets a chance for a new life in Haven... a human transformed into a magical creature struggles to reclaim his legal rights as a man... a Herald, blessed -or burdened - with a variant of the gift of Foresight that allows him to see through another person's eyes, witness an event so terrible that it's memory is slowly killing him, and finds restoration in a very unexpected way.
This is going to be a rather short review as I always seem to say the same thing when I do a review of a new Velgarth anthology. I love the world of Valdemar and it's neighboring lands so much, that it's hard to find fault when I get the pleasure to visit the world again. Once again, this collection features stories that exemplify the values and traditions that Mercedes Lackey has ingrained into her creation.
The collection starts off with "The Simple Gifts", a new novella by Mercedes Lackey. In it, we meet a young man who has been practicing the oldest profession, and has been having some luck at it. Older, wealthy women seem to prefer his company, over that of their neglectful husbands. When he has to make a hurried escape, he ends up in Valdemar where his unique talents may be put to a better use.
I'm starting to notice a trend with these anthologies. Instead of having brand new stories with new characters, the authors are continuing stories they already started in previous anthologies. Many of these stories feature characters that have been in the last few. I'm not normally a fan of doing it likes this, but so many of these characters are truly enjoyable that I'm finding myself loving the stories even more. It's like attending a family reunion. We get to have Ree and Jem back in "Heart's Peril" and "Heart's Place." Herald Jors is back in "Family Matters", still trying to deal with the pain of his loss. In "In an Instant", we get to see the moment when Queen Selenay and Prince Daren acknowledge their bond. Most of the stories are continuations of previous ones, I hope it's a trend that continues.