Monday, August 3, 2009

Valdemar 11: Exile's Honor (Lackey, M)

Rating: 5
Year: 2002
Genre: Fantasy
Read again? Yes

She's baaaaack.

The 11th novel, 15 to go, first of two telling the story of Herald Alberich.

We're introduced to Alberich in his home country of Karse, on the southern border of Valdemar. The two nations have been in a state of undeclared war for at least 6 centuries. It's about 1,355 years since the Founding of Valdemar; Herald Vanyel's time was around 750 A.F.; Lavan "Brightly sucking" Firestorm burned around 1077 A.F.--and both of those Heralds fought the Karsites.

Karse is controlled by a theocracy built on the worship of Vkandis, the Sun God. Alberich is a newly-promoted captain in their army. We quickly find that he's uneasy in his rank, for that rank will bring closer scrutiny, and he's got a secret that would get him killed should it become known: he can see the future.

Actually, he's got a second secret: it's obvious to readers who've been following the series that the lovely white horse Alberich got with his promotion is one of Valdemar's spirit-horse Companions.

He gets a sudden flash of that ForeSight, a nearly crippling vision of a village about to be captured by the same bandits Alberich and his men have been after for months. He finds himself in the saddle, leading a charge to take the bandits by surprise.

They wipe them out.

The village priest has Alberich arrested--it's plain that he had fore-knowledge of the bandit raid, and such abilities are evil! He's beaten and thrown into a shed, which is set afire. Not much for judicial formalities, those Karsite priests. He thinks you're guilty, you're guilty.

The Companion-in-disguise batters down one wall, gets Alberich on its back, and high-tails it into the north, to Valdemar.

Why couldn't she get "Brightly Burning" to be as good as this? Where that book was boring, "Honor" plays on the fish-out-of-water scenario in a much more interesting manner. Alberich is taught the rudiments of the Valdemaran language, is made Assistant Weaponsmaster (having a Companion makes you trustworthy), then goes to work at night spying on the criminal element. When war finally comes to Valdemar, he joins the King at the front line.

When King Sendar dies, Alberich is there to protect Selenay, the king's daughter, now Queen of Valdemar. This part of the book is powerfully written.

She's not as fussy. This was an entertaining book!

What the hell happened between "Burning" in 2000 and this one in 2002? Was she THAT upset by the impending End of the World on December 31, 1999?

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