Saturday, October 22, 2022

Fall Reading 2022 Into the West

Fans have long awaited the complete story of Valdemar's founding. There have been hints and small bits of the story worked into other books as characters discussed the history of their kingdom, but not the full account from beginning to end. Last summer with the publication of Beyond the tale began and we read of Kordas and his attempt to take the people of the duchy of Valdemar and flee from the cruelty and depravity of the Eastern Empire. On December 6 the second installment in the series will take us along on the journey to find a new land to settle.

Into the West chronicles the efforts of Baron Kordas to weed out the troublemakers and possible imperial spies before he takes the group through the gates set up by his mages to a place far from the empire's reach. Scenes show Kordas, his wife Isla, sister-in-law Delia, and their companions as they organize supplies, learn new skills, and encounter dangers that try their resolve. Kordas must face his internal struggle not to fall into the ways of the imperial court. "I won't be like them. I can do this and not be like them," he thinks to himself.

As readers of Valdemar stories we know that they are headed into lands blasted by the Mage Wars hundreds of years ago, so we wait to see which creatures corrupted by Change Circles or left behind by those long ago mages the group will encounter. Will they travel through the Pelagirs? Will they encounter the Hawkbrothers? Will the magical gates hold up to the strain of transporting so many and all their supplies? And who will be lost along the way?

With the skill we have come to expect of Mercedes Lackey the journey through the wilderness toward a new home is a compelling story of bravery, cooperation, and the desire for a better way of life. That won't stop of us from impatiently waiting for the next book, but we can always go back and re-read other Valdemar adventures until it is available. In the meantime, I am adopting the baron's saying for those times when I need to let others handle their own problems, "Not my millpond. Not my otters."

I read an advance copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.

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