This book has everything you'd expect in a Valdemar book: protagonist from a miserable background, miraculous rescue by a companion and immediate excellence at pretty much everything. And it's wonderful. There's not a tremendous amount of substance here, but fans will find themselves absorbed almost immediately. Lackey is nothing if not a compelling and compulsively readable writer.
With the assistance of his companion, Dallen, Mags slowly gets used to a more physically comfortable life, if not a more mentally comfortable one -- thrust into the classrooms of the newly formed Herald's Collegium, Mags has to learn about the world around him, all as he's swept up into political machinations. (DAW, Oct., 352 pp., $25.95)