No True Way, edited by Mercedes Lackey

No True WayThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“In March 1987, Mercedes Lackey, a young author from Oklahoma, published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. No one could have envisioned that this modest book about a magical land called Valdemar would be the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles.

Now the voices of other authors add their own special touches to the ancient land where Heralds “Chosen” from all walks of life by magical horse-like Companions patrol their ancient kingdom, dispensing justice, facing adversaries, and protecting their monarch and country from whatever threatens. Trained rigorously by the Herald’s Collegium, these special protectors each have extraordinary Gifts: Mindspeaking, FarSeeing, FarSpeaking, Empathy, Firestarting and ForeSeeing, and are bonded for life with their mysterious Companions. Travel with these astounding adventurers in sixteen original stories.”

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Closer to Home by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to Home(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King’s Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds’ Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.

Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags’ mentor, King’s Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King’s Own, a complicated and dangerous job that is made more so by this perilous time. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?”

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The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

The House of the Four Winds(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.”

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Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey

Blood Red(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Rosamund is an Earth Master in the Schwarzwald, the ancient Black Forest of Germany. Since the age of ten, she has lived with her teacher, the Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, a man she calls “Papa.” Her adoptive Papa rescued her after her original Earth Master teacher, an old woman who lived alone in a small cottage in the forest, was brutally murdered by werewolves. Rosa herself barely escaped, and this terrifying incident molded the course of her future.

For like her fellow Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa is not a healer. Instead, her talents lead her on the more violent path of protection and defense— “cleansing” the Earth and protecting its gentle fae creatures from those evil beings who seek to do them harm.

And so Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master and the scourge of evil creatures, with a deadly specialty in werewolves and all shape­shifters.

While visiting with a Fire Master—a friend of her mentor from the Schwarzwald Lodge— Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They suspect that there is a dark power responsible for a string of murders happening in the remote countryside of Transylvania, but they have no proof. Rosa agrees to help them, but there is a catch: one of the two men asking for aid is a hereditary werewolf.”

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Victories by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Victories(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“Spirit White and her friends Burke, Loch, and Addie have escaped from Oakhurst Academy. But their freedom has come at a terrible cost—a dear friend sacrificed her own life to save theirs. In the wake of Muirin’s death, they are also forced to deal with the terrifying truth behind the facade of Oakhurst Academy: all of the legends are true.

Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table really had existed. With the magic of Merlin, they were able to imprison their greatest foe, Mordred, before he could plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. But Mordred is now free, in charge of Oakhurst Academy, and determined to finish what he started so long ago.

Pursued by Shadow Knights, the reincarnated remnants of Mordred’s original army, Spirit’s small band undertakes a quest to recover the Four Hallows, objects of immeasurable power. Memories of a past life have begun to surface, one in which Spirit wields a legendary sword. She comes to realize that these memories are the true key to Mordred’s defeat. Can Spirit and her friends manage to recapture the magic of Camelot in time to save their fellow students and prevent the end of the world?”

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Elementary edited by Mercedes Lackey

Elementary(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“In March 1987, Mercedes Lackey, a young author from Oklahoma, published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. No one could have envisioned that this modest book would be the beginning of a fantasy career that would span decades and more than a hundred novels, with no signs of slowing yet.

And among Ms. Lackey’s many novels, few are as critically-acclaimed and beloved as those of the Elemental Masters. The novels in this series are loosely based on classic fairy tales, and take place in a fantasy version of turn-of-the-century London, where magic is real and Elemental Masters control the powers of Fire, Water, Air and Earth.

Now the voices of other authors join Mercedes Lackey to add their own special touches to this delightful alternate history, in a world where magic is always just around the corner…”

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Bastion by Mercedes Lackey

bastion

(Description nicked—mostly—from B&N.com.)

“Mags returns to the Collegium, but there are mixed feelings—his included—about him actually remaining there. No one doubts that he is and should be a Herald, but he is afraid that his mere presence is going to incite more danger right in the heart of Valdemar. The heads of the Collegia are afraid that coming back to his known haunt is going to give him less protection than if he went into hiding. Everyone decides that going elsewhere is the solution for now. So since he is going elsewhere—why not return to the place he was found in the first place and look for clues? And those who are closest to him, and might provide secondary targets, are going along. With Herald Jakyr, Bard Lita, and his friends Bear, Lena, and Amily, they head for the Bastion, the hidden spot in the hills that had once been the headquarters of a powerful band of raiders that had held him and his parents prisoner. But what they find is not what anyone expected.”

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Sacrifices by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Sacrifices(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“The students of Oakhurst Academy believe they have triumphed over the Shadow Knights. But Spirit, Burke, Muirin, Loch, and Addie know better. Under the guise of a company called Breakthrough Adventure Systems, the Shadow Knights have actually taken over the campus. The new regime is brutal, designed to turn the students into soldiers wielding both weapons and magic. Anyone who protests disappears.

Desperate, the group decides that Muirin should go undercover to spy on Breakthrough. But Muirin’s act is a little too good, and Spirit begins to fear that her friend’s loyalties might have truly changed. Surrounded by enemies and friends who suddenly seem like strangers, Spirit has to decide who can—and cannot—be trusted.”

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Firebird by Mercedes Lackey

FirebirdWhile Celtic and British mythology is a fertile hunting ground for novel ideas, occasionally another nationality crops up. For example, Mercedes Lackey’s Firebird draws on a Russian fairy tale to tell a tale of magic, adventure, and the journey to adulthood.

Ilya, one of the younger sons of a Russian tsar, spends his life wondering when he will next suffer a beating at the hands of his brutal older brothers. But one day, something happens that distracts everybody’s attention—the tsars prize cherry trees are being picked clean every night despite being guarded.

Curious, Ilya hides in the orchard and catches a glimpse of a glowing creature, a firebird. But seeing this mythical being is bad luck, and soon Ilya’s life takes a turn for the worse. When his brothers maroon him the forest to die, he sets out to find his destiny elsewhere.

Instead of safety, he finds the palace of the Katschei, a sorcerer who keeps beautiful women prisoner and turns their would-be rescuers to stone. When Ilya falls in love with one of the women and vows to rescue her, the firebird arrives to help him, although she cautions that not all is as it seems in that strange place.

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Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

Phoenix and AshesFans have endured a long three-year wait for the Elemental Masters’ return, but they need not languish in suspense any longer. Mercedes Lackey sets her Cinderella tale against the backdrop of World War I in Phoenix and Ashes.

Eleanor Robinson’s fortunes have gone from good to intolerable. When her father remarried, she found herself relegated to the status of a servant. But upon her father’s untimely death in France, the horror truly begins: Her stepmother, Alison, cuts off one of Eleanor’s little fingers and uses it to magically bind her to the house in utter servitude. Freedom still may be at hand, though, in the forms of Eleanor’s godmother (also a mage) and the little creatures that live in the fire.

Eleanor isn’t her stepmother’s only target. Reggie Fenyx, a pilot and Air Master, has come home wounded and shell-shocked. While trapped in a collapsed bunker and tormented by Earth monsters, he shut himself off from his power. He must regain it before Alison launches an attempt to marry him off to one of her daughters. She’ll use any means to achieve her ends, magical or mundane, because Dark Masters never are satisfied with anything less than destruction. Even greater dangers await both Reggie and Eleanor, unless a way is found to fight back.

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