Review – Closer to the Chest

Closer to the Chest (The Herald Spy, #3)Closer to the Chest by Mercedes Lackey
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Herald Mags, the King of Valdemar’s Herald Spy, has been developing a clandestine network of young informants who operate not only on the streets of the capital city of Haven, but also in the Great Halls and kitchens of the wealthy and highborn. In his own established alternate personas, Mags observes the Court and the alleys alike, quietly gathering information to keep Haven and the Kingdom safe.
His wife Amily is growing into her position as the King’s Own Herald, though she is irritated to encounter many who still consider her father, Herald Nikolas, to be the real King’s Own. Nonetheless, she finds it increasingly useful to be underestimated, for there are dark things stirring in the shadows of Haven and up on the Hill. Someone has discovered many secrets of the women of the Court and the Collegia— and is using those secrets to terrorize and bully them. Someone is targeting the religious houses of women, too, leaving behind destruction and obscene letters.
But who? Someone at the Court? A disgruntled Palace servant? One of the members of the Collegia? Someone in the patriarchal sect of the god Sethor? Could the villain be a woman? And what is this person hoping to achieve? It isn’t blackmail, for the letters demand nothing; the aim seems to be the victims’ panic and despair. But why?
Mags and Amily take steps to minimize the damage while using both magic and wits to find the evildoer. But just as they appear to be on the verge of success, the letter writer tires of terror and is now out for blood.
Mags and Amily will have to track down someone who leaves few clues behind. They must thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly—before terror turns to murder.

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Review – A Study in Sable

A Study in Sable (Elemental Masters #11)A Study in Sable by Mercedes Lackey (Elemental Masters #11)
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Psychic Nan Killian and Medium Sarah Lyon-White—along with their clever birds, the raven Neville and the parrot Grey—have been agents of Lord Alderscroft, the Elemental Fire Master known as the Wizard of London, since leaving school. Now, Lord Alderscroft assigns them another commission: to work with the famous man living at 221 Baker Street—but not the one in flat B. They are to assist the man living in flat C. Dr. John Watson and his wife Mary, themselves Elemental Masters of Water and Air, take the occult cases John’s more famous friend disdains, and they will need every skill the girls and their birds can muster!

Nan and Sarah’s first task: to confront and eliminate the mysterious and deadly entity that nearly killed them as children: the infamous Haunt of Number 10 Berkeley Square. But the next task divides the girls for the first time since they were children. A German opera star begs Sarah for help, seeking a Medium’s aid against not just a single spirit, but a multitude. As Sarah becomes more deeply entwined with the Prima Donna, Nan continues to assist John and Mary Watson alone, only to discover that Sarah’s case is far more sinister than it seems. It threatens to destroy not only a lifelong friendship, but much, much more.

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Review – Closer to the Heart

Closer to the Heart (The Herald Spy, #2)Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey
Synopsis from the book:
Herald Mags, Valdemar’s first official Herald Spy, is well on his way to establishing a coterie of young informants, not only on the streets of Haven, but in the kitchens and Great Halls of the highborn and wealthy as well.
The newly appointed King’s Own Herald, Amily, although still unsure of her own capability in that office, is doing fine work to support the efforts of Mags, her betrothed.  She has even found a way to build an army of informants herself, a group of highly trained but impoverished young noblewomen groomed to serve the highborn ladies at Court, to be called “The Queen’s Handmaidens.”
And King Kyril has come up with the grand plan of turning Mags and Amily’s wedding into a low-key diplomatic event that will simultaneously entertain everyone on the Hill and allow him to negotiate behind the scenes with all the attending ambassadors-something which had not been possible at his son Prince Sedric’s wedding.
What could possibly go wrong?
The answer, of course, is “everything”.
For all is not well in the neighboring Kingdom of Menmellith.  The new king is a child, and a pretender to the throne has raised a rebel army.  And this army is-purportedly-being supplied with arms by Valdemar.  The Menmellith Regency Council threatens war. With the help of a ragtag band of their unlikely associates, Mags and Amily will have to determine the real culprit, amass the evidence to convince the Council, and prevent a war nobody wants-
-and, somewhere along the way, get married.

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Review – Closer to Home

Closer to Home (The Herald Spy, #1)Closer to Home by Mercedes Lackey
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King’s Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds’ Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.

Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags’ mentor, King’s Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King’s Own, a complicated and dangerous job that is made more so by this perilous time. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?

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Review – This Rough Magic

This Rough Magic (Heirs of Alexandria, #2)This Rough Magic by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Venice had been thrown into chaos by the scheming of Chernobog, who came within a hair of seizing absolute power, but was thwarted by the guardian Lion-spirit, who awoke to protect his city from the power-mad demon. But the power of the Lion does not extend beyond Venice, and Chernobog has a new ally in the King of Hungary, who has laid siege to the island of Corfu as the first step in his plan to seize control of the Adriatic from Venice. Trapped on the island is the small band of heroes who awoke the Lion and blocked Chernobog’s power grab before. They are far from the Lion’s power to help them, but as Manfred and Erik lead a guerrilla movement to fight the Hungarian invaders, Maria discovers that the ancient magical powers of the island are coming to life again, stirred by the siege. If she can make an alliance with them, she may be able to repel the invaders-but not without paying a bitter personal price. . . .

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Review: The Wizard of London

The Wizard of London (Elemental Masters, #5)The Wizard of London (Elemental Masters #5) by Mercedes Lackey
Synopsis from the back of the book*:
The letter that introduced twelve-year-old Sarah Jane Lyon-White to Isabelle Harton, who ran the Harton School in central London, seemed quite simple and straightforward. But it was what was not written in the letter that resonated to Isabelle’s own finely tuned “extra” senses: “Sarah has gifts we cannot train,” the letter whispered to her, “nor can anyone we know. Those we trust tell us that you can….”
And it was true, for the Harton School was far from ordinary.  It was Isabelle’s job to train children who possessed the odd types of magic that could not be trained by London’s powerful Elemental Masters: clairvoyants, telepaths, those with the ability to sense hidden danger, the vision to see into the past, and even that rarest of all talents: the ability to see and communicate with the dead.
But Isabelle was uneasy, for though she knew that Sarah Jane had a touch of telepathy, there seemed to be be something else about the girl – something that had not yet manifested.
And Isabelle was right to be worried, for as soon as Sarah’s full talents became evident, there was an attempt made on her life. For Sarah was that rarest of magicians: a true medium, and for some reason, a powerful Elemental Master wanted her dead.
Isabelle knew that to protect her ward she would have to seek help from the Elemental Masters of the city. That meant she would also see Lord David Alderscroft, the man she had once loved, but who had inexplicably chilled toward her and broken her heart long ago – for he was the leader of the city’s Elemental Masters, the man who was now called the Wizard of London.

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