DAW. Dec. 2021. 368p. ed. by Mercedes Lackey. ISBN 9780756414740. $18.00. FANTASY
This is the 15th anthology of short stories set in Lackey’s popular, long-running Valdemar universe—a high-fantasy world where majority-whiteness is implied. (Valdemar was first introduced in Lackey’s 1994 The Black Gryphon.) The collection includes a new Valdemar story by Lackey; the other tales are contributed by Fiona Patton, Angela Penrose, and Elizabeth Vaughan, among other established fantasy writers. Many of the Valdemar books have focused on the border conflict with neighboring Karse (sparked by conflicting views on magic, religion, freedom, and opportunity), and several stories in the present volume turn their attention to war, its aftermath, and its effects on the survivors, who mourn their losses and dream of brighter futures. Other stories are highly readable explorations of aspects of Valdemar lore that might not be big enough for a full novel (peeking into Valdemar’s everyday life and less-developed eras and places). The stories presume some knowledge of Valdemar, its magic, and the enchanted beings (including telepathic horses) that make the series such a treat for animal lovers.
VERDICT Even occasional visitors to Valdemar or readers of Lackey’s recent foundation novel Beyond will enjoy the trip to this popular world.
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