Daw, Oct 5 2010, $25.95
Once Magpie was a slave for a sadistic mine owner, but the young teen became free when the Valdemar Companion Sentient Horse like magical being, who communicates telepathically, Chose him. Mags is ensconced in Haven training at the Herald Collegium to become a herald. Although the curriculum is hard, Mages believes he is paradise with a comfortable place to sleep and plenty of food to eat.
However, Mags does not feel a part of the group and prefers to sleep in a bedroom in the barn where his Companion is boarded. In the records, he learns the names of his parents who were foreigners. He comes under suspicion when those who foresee have a vision of the king with blood on him and the sense the person with him is a foreigner. His peers at school especially suspect Mags, but his true friends band together and make him feel as if he belongs. One day when he is in Haven, Mags sees the phony tradesman and his bodyguards who say they are from Seejay. After Mags and his buddies exposed their fake identities they pretended to leave. Mags sees the phony person again and knows they are dangerous to Hven. With his Companion injured and he being isolated, Mags must prevent the foreigner from performing the dastardly deed he plans on doing.
Once again Mercedes Lackey brings her fantasy Kingdom of Valdemar to life; a place where magic and Psi power are considered natural skills though most citizens lack either. This entry is a brilliant coming of age story in a realm with a distinguished culture especially a deep rooted belief structure and a thriving political system. Mags brings the energy and excitement to the entertaining plot as he learns he is the son of foreigners growing up as a stranger in a strange land who suddenly observes foreigners seemingly following him.