Saturday, February 14, 2015

By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey (Password Clue)

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Granddaughter of the sorceress Kethry, daughter of a noble house, Kerowyn has been forced to run the family keep since her mother's untimely death.  Yet now at last her brother was preparing to wed and when his bride became of the lady of the keep, Kerowyn could return to her true enjoyments - training horses and hunting.

But all Kerowyn's hopes and plans were shattered when her ancestral home was attacked, her father slain, her brother wounded, and his fiancee kidnapped.  Driven by desperation and knowledge that a sorcerer had led the attack, Kerowyn sought her grandmother Kethry's aid, a journey which would prove but the first step on the road to the fulfillment of her destiny.  For facing her family's foes would transform Kerowyn into an outsider in her own land, a warrior bound to the spell blade Need, and a mercenary forced to choose between her loyalty to her comrades in arms and the Herald of Valdemar, whom she had rescued and who in his turn had helped to awaken her to the true meaning of love and to her own unique powers of magic. 

If I had to pick a favorite Mercedes Lackey character, after Vanyel Ashkevron, it would have to be Kerowyn.  It's a hard decision to make with all the great characters she has created to dwell in Valdemar and it's surrounding countries, but Kerowyn is such dynamic character, that it's hard to not like her.  By the Sword is where we first meet her.  She starts off as a young noble woman, sharp of mind, and possessing a strong desire to be doing something with her life.

Throughout this 492 page book, her journey takes her from her famous ride, to commanding her own mercenary company,and finally into the fold of Valdemar's Heralds.  This is one of the books that takes place in the "present" timeline, though there are now quite a few books after the events in this one.  Selenay is Queen of Valdemar, the Tendrel Wars are about to rage, and magic is "still" a thing of mystery withing the confines of Valdemar's borders.  Kerowyn is not from Valdemar, and though I'm never sure it's ever implicitly stated, but I've always assumed her to be Rethwellen, though I'm not sure it really matters all that much.  Actually I do know why it matters, it's the decisions she makes; backing the King of her home kingdom into coming to Valdemar's aid, agreeing to lead her mercenary troop into battle for Valdemar in the war, and eventually being chosen by the Companion Sayvel, those decisions, even if some were influenced by Need, helps cement her to her new homeland, despite where she may have come from.

And, in part, I think that is why Valdemar is such an unique and special place.  It's a land where all are welcome, all are valued for their talents, and where all faiths are free to worship who they choose.  It's a land were race really doesn't matter, or where being schaych (gay) doesn't matter in the broad scheme of things.   It's why Valdemar is one of those places that needs to be protected.  It's a land defined by it's people, more than by it's boundaries.

Challenges: Password (By & Sword)


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

You find the most interesting reads!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I do need to get to trying her books. *sigh* Where does the time go? So glad you love these so. :)