Sunday, August 16, 2009

Valdemar 12: Exile's Valor (Lackey, M)

Rating: 5
Year: 2003
Genre: Fantasy
Read again? Yes

This is the second of two in the story of Herald Alberich, number 12 with 14 left.

Amazing! Lackey's followup to "Exile's Honor" is good, too!

Less than a year has passed since the death in battle of King Sendar, and the beginning of his daughter's reign. The Council is pushing for Queen Selenay to marry and start breeding heirs, but mostly for her to marry: the Council wants a King, not a Queen who seems just a child to that bunch of creaky old men. But they all seem to forget: No man may be King in Valdemar unless he is also a Herald, and no one becomes a Herald unless they are Chosen by one of those spirit-horses.

Selenay's dear friend, Lord Orthallen, arranges for a Prince from the neighboring country of Rethwellan, to bring his nation's less-formal condolences on the death of King Sendar. Selenay is instantly smitten with this charming, good-looking man.

But Alberich soon finds threads of intrigue in Valdemar, a plot to kill Selenay and take the Throne!

Very good story, and much the better for lacking much of Lackey's "protocol droid" fussiness. Surprisingly, there's only one nickname in the two books together, and it's only seen in this one. The Prince from Rethwellan is named Karathanelan, but everyone just calls him Karath. It's a running joke in the Valdemar books that Rethwellan names are a mouthful, and in this case, the nickname "feels" right, unlike many of the diminutives Lackey hands out for some of the other books.

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