Into the West

DAW. (Founding of Valdemar, Bk. 2). Dec. 2022. 496p. ISBN 9780756417369. $28. FANTASY
Beyond, the first book of Lackey’s “Founding of Valdemar” series, took readers back to before Valdemar even existed. Where that was a political story of machinations, shenanigans, and corruption and especially escape from all of the above, this newest is the story of what happens next. The people of Valdemar are on the run from the Empire, and it’s up to the Baron to lead them to a place they can call home. As the exiles face magical and mundane threats on every side, the biggest risk is that they’ll fall prey to the temptation to slip back into the bad old ways of the corrupt empire they are fleeing. It falls to the Baron to not just lead them to freedom, but to figure out what kind of people they’ll be when they get there.
VERDICT Lackey combines an epic journey with political adventures, deadly misadventures, encounters with old friends and new enemies, along with a touch of a coming-of-age story in this marvelous read that will please long-time Valdemar fans with its tale of the creation of this beloved place and its world.
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