Review by Booklist Review
Kordas, Duke of Valdemar, is set upon rescuing his people from the Empire. He is convinced that bad times are coming, and he wants his people far removed from tragedy. One of his mages finds the perfect place to create a Gate to another land where the Empire cannot find them. The plan to escape the Empire has been in place for years, and finally the end is in sight. Then Kordas is unexpectedly called to the emperor's court and must assist Valdemar's progress from afar. What he finds at court is distressing, as there are more people and beings that he feels responsible for rescuing and including in the departure from the Empire. Using magic, cunning, and strength, Kordas must buy time for Valdemar and all the beings he intends to bring with him to succeed. Willing to sacrifice himself, Kordas sets his plan into action. Full of magic, humor, and adventure, Lackey's first installment of the Founding of Valdemar series will delight her many fans.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Bestseller Lackey underwhelms in the half-baked first installment of her Founding of Valdemar series, which returns to the sprawling world first visited in 1987's Arrows of the Queen. Duke Kordas of Valdemar and most of his constituents prepare to escape the reach of the hostile Empire, a scheme that started with Kordas's father. But as Kordas's mages put the finishing touches on their escape plan, the Emperor summons Kordas to the Imperial City to deliver a parcel of tribute horses. While there, he discovers an atrocity committed against the vrondi, air elementals whose mistreatment has been carefully hidden by the Emperor. Lackey's world is richly drawn and the magic system behind the inter-Empire travel is ingenious, but as Kordas recalibrates his plan to take on the Empire's wrongdoings and free the vrondi, he faces such feeble obstacles that the whole thing feels a tad too easy. The Emperor is a one-dimensional villain whose incompetence poses no real threat to Kordas's mission, and with Kordas's victory all but assured, the tension drains from the story. Lackey's fans will be pleased to return to Valdemar, but will hope for higher stakes in the series to come. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh. (June)
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