Though I’m a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, I’ve not read much of the anthologies that have come out with other authors playing around in the world of Velgarth. This is mostly driven by my having read all of the anthologies connected to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover world, which had a very uneven level of quality in the stories that made it through. This is the second of the Valdemar anthologies I’ve read, and I’m now firmly impressed by the quality of the stories, including the one written by a 12-year-old.
My two favorite stories in this book are “Sun in Glory”, written by Mercedes Lackey, and “Brock”, by Tanya Huff.
“Sun in Glory” fills in the events leading to the Queen’s Own Herald Talia being made a Priestess of the Sun God Vkandis (god of the people of Karse, who up until this point are enemies of Valdemar), and brings in Heralds Alberich, Kerowyn and Eldan, old favorites of mine in the character roles.
“Brock” is the story of a man that two Heralds encounter while out on circuit. Considered a Moonling (mentally challenged), Brock is a bit of an outcast in his village. He thinks he’s a Herald, and while Heralds Jors and Isabel cannot encourage this belief, in watching him interact with the villagers, they’re amazed to see what this belief allows Brock to do. It’s a very sweet story.
Eleven other tales round out the book, and I enjoyed every one. In reading Darkover anthologies, I was always on the lookout for the inevitable stinker that always seemed to make it into each book, but I’m happy to report that Valdemar seems to have escaped that particular curse.