Winds of Fate
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published By: DAW Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I’ve enjoyed reading Mercedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar series of novels since a friend of mine presented me with The Queen’s Own Trilogy years ago. The fantasy series offers up the intrigue of medieval times - castles, warriors, magic, enchanted creatures, etc. - that I enjoy reading and the descriptive writing style puts you right in the story and makes you care about the characters. I have been picking up books from the series here and there over the years. This time around, I chose Winds of Fate, the first novel in The Mage Winds Trilogy.
Winds of Fate picks up where By the Sword leaves off. King Ancar of Hardorn has stepped up his attempts to take over Valdemar, even sending in an assassin to take out the heir to the throne. But Elspeth has been training under Herald Kerowyn and has learned quite a few things about self-defense. Having thwarted the attack, she refuses to accept bodyguards to protect her. Instead, she wishes to embark on a mission. Noting that Ancar’s army is heavily fortified with mages and their special brand of sorcery, Elspeth has decided that Valdemar might best protect itself against Ancar with its own mages.
The trouble is that there hasn’t been a mage in the kingdom since the days of Vanyel, the most powerful of Herald-Mages. Since then, magic has somewhat disappeared from Valdemar. A special invisible protection has been placed around the kingdom which drives away any and every mage who threatens to enter its borders. Researching the idea of Herlad-Mages, Elspeth discovers that Vanyel was the last of the Herald-Mages and wonders why there hasn’t been any other Herald with mage powers since. After all, the past has always proven that whenever the kingdom is in need, one is brought into the fold with exactly the kind of gift needed to remedy the situation. Believing that it is possible one of the Heralds has mage gifts that have gone unrecognized, Elspeth proposes to search for a mage who would be willing to come back to Valdemar and take on apprentices. No one much likes the idea, but the Companions believe it is Elspeth’s destiny.
Armed with Kerowyn’s magical sword, Need, and accompanied by Herald Skif, Elspeth heads off in a search for Kerowyn’s mage-gifted relatives. Her search puts her in contact with the Hawkbrothers, a people currently besieged by an Adept class mage bent on the destruction of their people and intent on gaining access to the magical power nodes on their lands which would render him all powerful.
Will Elspeth find what she is looking for in the land of the Hawkbrothers or be captured by this new menace? Was Vanyel actually the last of the Herald-Mages or is there yet another whose power has yet to blossom and mature?
Elspeth has grown much since I first encountered her in The Queen’s Own Trilogy. Sure, she still has a temper, but the tantrums are gone, replaced with a biting tongue and harsh wit. Elspeth has turned into a tested Herald by Winds of Fate and a well-rounded character in her own right. This trilogy explores the further adventures of Elspeth and opens up a new chapter in her life as a Herald. New and surprising powers come to light for Elspeth in this novel.
This adventure also marks the return of the Hawkbrothers and the introduction of Darkwing, a mage who has forsaken his powers believing them to be the reason behind an incident which caused great pain and suffering among his people. We learn more about the Hawkbrothers than we have before as we are offered insight into their bonding with raptors and other such birds of prey. The bonding process is very similar to that of Heralds and their Companions.
The novel also reveals the back story of the sword known as Need. We learn something about the forging process as well as the woman who forged the sword. We also learn some of its journey prior to its coming into Kerowyn’s hands.
Filled with magical creatures, action and intrigue and exciting revelations, Winds of Fate is the perfect follow up to By the Sword and a wonderful addition to the Heralds of Valdemar series. I can’t wait to check out the second novel of the trilogy, Winds of Change.
For more Mercedes Lackey novels, check out: