Mercedes Lackey entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70’s she worked as an artist’s model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music.
“I’m a storyteller; that’s what I see as ‘my job.’ My stories come out of my characters; how those characters would react to the given situation. Maybe that’s why I get letters from readers as young as thirteen and as old as sixty-odd. One of the reasons I write song lyrics is because I see songs as a kind of ‘story pill’ — they reduce a story to the barest essentials or encapsulate a particular crucial moment in time. I frequently will write a lyric when I am attempting to get to the heart of a crucial scene; I find that when I have done so, the scene has become absolutely clear in my mind, and I can write exactly what I wanted to say. Another reason is because of the kind of novels I am writing: that is, fantasy, set in an other-world semi-medieval atmosphere. Music is very important to medieval peoples; bards are the chief news bringers. When I write the ‘folk music’ of these peoples, I am enriching my whole world, whether I actually use the song in the text or not.
“I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can’t ‘not’ write, and as a result I have no social life! I began writing fantasy because I love it, but I try to construct my fantasy worlds with all the care of a ‘high-tech’ science fiction writer. I apply the principle of TANSTAAFL [‘There ain’t no such thing as free lunch’, credited to Robert Heinlein) to magic, for instance; in my worlds, magic is paid for, and the cost to the magician is frequently a high one. I try to keep my world as solid and real as possible; people deal with stubborn pumps, bugs in the porridge, and love-lives that refuse to become untangled, right along with invading armies and evil magicians. And I try to make all of my characters, even the ‘evil magicians,’ something more than flat stereotypes. Even evil magicians get up in the night and look for cookies, sometimes.
THE HILLS HAVE SPIES
Valdemar: Family Spies Book #1
Release Date 6/5/18
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In this new series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, Heralds Mags and Amily must continue to protect the realm of Valdemar while raising their children and preparing them to follow in their footsteps.
Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife Amily are happily married with three kids. The oldest, Justyn, has the Gift of animal Mindspeech--he can talk to animals and persuade them to act as he wishes. Justyn's dream is to follow in his father's footsteps as a Herald Spy, but has yet to be Chosen by his horse companion.
Mags is more than happy to teach Justyn all he knows. He regularly trains his children, including Justyn, with tests and exercises, preparing them for the complicated and dangerous lives they will likely lead. Justyn has already held positions in the Royal Palace as a runner and in the kitchen, useful places from which he can learn to listen. As the next stage of Justyn's training, Mags proposes that Justyn joins a group of traveling players and musicians, to get experience away from home and out in the world. Justyn joins the troupe, and he starts collecting information for his father. And the patterns he finds are unsettling....
During the troupe's travels, Justyn witnesses growing rural unrest about an indigenous community of Valdemar, known as Hawkbrothers. When the troupe settles for a season at a fortified manor of a local lord, Justyn watches the unrest grow increasingly hostile. The manor lord dismisses Hawkbrothers as inhuman--and has a local militia to back up his hatred. When a child goes missing, the locals immediately blame Hawkbrothers, and Justyn finds himself in a dangerous position.
He enlists the help of a local stray dog, who knows a lot about the town's goings-on, despite being a bit...odd. Justyn must find the missing child and warn the Hawkbrothers community of the trouble headed their way--before tensions turn deadly.
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Scholastic Siren: Sara:This is the start of a new mini-series set in Valdemar and its surrounds. Whether you are familiar with Valdemar or not, this is a great story. Feel free to start here.
This story takes place around fifteen years after the last series. Mags and Amily have three kids, the oldest of whom--Peregrine--is the main player in this book. Perry is training in the family business: espionage. He’s quite good at it, even though he is just thirteen years old. His training gets accelerated on a father-son trip/mission for the crown. Perry learns to hold his own and that adults aren’t always perfect. The mission is interesting, the characters are well developed, and the story wraps up nicely. I’m not big on cliffhangers in YA.
I never think of Valdemar as young adult, but it is. The main characters are usually in their teens, although not always. I started reading Valdemar and Ms. Lackey when I was a teen and continue to auto-buy the hardcovers on release date. I highly recommended this one!
THE HILLS HAVE SPIES