New York Times-bestselling author Mercedes Lackey's Herald Spy series, set in the beloved fantasy world of Valdemar Herald Mags, the King of Valdemar’s Herald-Spy, has been developing a clandestine network of young informants who operate not only on the streets of the capital city of Haven, but also in the Great Halls and kitchens of the wealthy and highborn. In his own established alternate personas, Mags observes the Court and the alleys alike, quietly gathering information to keep Haven and the Kingdom safe. His wife Amily, is growing into her position as the King’s Own Herald, though she is irritated to encounter many who still consider her father, Herald Nikolas, to be the real King’s Own. Nonetheless, she finds it increasingly useful to be underestimated, for there are dark things stirring in the shadows of Haven and up on the Hill. Someone has discovered many secrets of the women of the Court and the Collegia—and is using those secrets to terrorize and bully them. Someone is targeting the religious houses of women, too, leaving behind destruction and obscene ravings. But who? Someone at the Court? A disgruntled Palace servant? One of the members of the Collegia? Someone in the patriarchal sect of the god Sethor? Could the villain be a woman? And what is this person hoping to achieve? It isn’t blackmail, for the letters demand nothing; the aim seems to be the victims’ panic and despair. But why? Mags and Amily take steps to minimize the damage while using both magic and wits to find the evildoer. But just as they appear to be on the verge of success, the letter-writer tires of terror and is now out for blood. Mags and Amily will have to track down someone who leaves few clues behind and thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly—before terror turns to murder.
Mags was a Herald of Valdemar. But he had once lived the brutal life of a child slave. When he was Chosen by his Companion Dallen, his young life was saved, and he slowly adjusted to being well fed, educated, and treasured as a trainee in the Herald's Collegium at Haven. Singled out by the King's Own Herald, Mags would thrive in his secret training as a spy. His unusually strong Gift—an ability to Mindspeak and Mindhear anyone, not just others who were Gifted—made him a perfect undercover agent for the king. Sequel to Mercedes Lackey's Closer to Home, this adventure continues Mags's journey as Valdemar's herald spy.
Vanyel has been born with near-legendary abilities that, if left untrained, may prove a menace not only to Vanyel but to others as well. So he is sent to his aunt, Savil, one of the fame Herald-Mages of Valdemar. Soon he will become the focus of frightening forces and raw magic. And by the time Savil seeks the assistance of a Shin’a’in Adept, Vanyel’s wild talent may have already grown beyond anyone’s ability to contain, placing Valdemar in desperate peril.
In this new series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, Heralds Mags and Amily must continue to protect the realm of Valdemar while raising their children and preparing them to follow in their footsteps. Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife Amily are happily married with three kids. The oldest, Justyn, has the Gift of animal Mindspeech--he can talk to animals and persuade them to act as he wishes. Justyn's dream is to follow in his father's footsteps as a Herald Spy, but has yet to be Chosen by his horse companion. Mags is more than happy to teach Justyn all he knows. He regularly trains his children, including Justyn, with tests and exercises, preparing them for the complicated and dangerous lives they will likely lead. Justyn has already held positions in the Royal Palace as a runner and in the kitchen, useful places from which he can learn to listen. As the next stage of Justyn's training, Mags proposes that Justyn joins a group of traveling players and musicians, to get experience away from home and out in the world. Justyn joins the troupe, and he starts collecting information for his father. And the patterns he finds are unsettling.... During the troupe's travels, Justyn witnesses growing rural unrest about an indigenous community of Valdemar, known as Hawkbrothers. When the troupe settles for a season at a fortified manor of a local lord, Justyn watches the unrest grow increasingly hostile. The manor lord dismisses Hawkbrothers as inhuman--and has a local militia to back up his hatred. When a child goes missing, the locals immediately blame Hawkbrothers, and Justyn finds himself in a dangerous position. He enlists the help of a local stray dog, who knows a lot about the town's goings-on, despite being a bit...odd. Justyn must find the missing child and warn the Hawkbrothers community of the trouble headed their way--before tensions turn deadly.