"Wonderful moving story!"
All Mags—short for Magpie—has known his short life is Cole
Pieters and his mine. See, Mags' parents were hung for
their crimes when Mags was just a babe. Since he was "bad
blood", no one wanted the orphan and eventually, Mags ended
up with Cole Pieters. When he first got there, Mags was too
young to work in the mine, so he trudged in the kitchen.
Once he grew older, Mags was put to work in the mines. Not
by any stretch of the imagination is this a good life. The
children are worked almost to the point of death. Cole
Pieters is not a genial man and will get all the work out
of the orphans he can. Eventually, something happens which
changes Mags' life.
One day, a Herald comes to the Pieters' mine and he's got
two beautiful white horses with blue eyes. Turns out the
Herald has come for Mags. Herald Jakyr takes Mags and puts
him on one of the horses. Now, Mags is in for the shock of
his life. Not only has he never ridden a horse before, but
the horse—not really a horse, but a Companion named Dallen—
has Chosen Mags. Mags is to be a Herald! Not that he has
any idea what that means. Luckily for him, Dallen is able
to share his memories with Mags and "teaches" him a lot,
not only about being a Herald, but about a lot of things.
They end up at a Guard post and after a thorough scrubbing,
a Healer sees Mags. For the most part, Mags is left to his
own devices and decides he likes being clean and wearing
clean clothes. Not to mention having a full belly. Not
surprisingly, this is not their final destination. They
remain in the outpost until Mags is pronounced healthy
enough to travel by the Healer. Of course, Dallen has been
teaching Mags how to ride while there.
Once Mags is pronounced healthy enough, Herald Jakyr takes
him to Haven, where the new Collegium is located. Turns out
the Collegium has not been finished yet. This Collegium is
not only for Heralds, but also Healers and Bards. So all
the students are all crammed together until the buildings
can be completed. The head of the Heralds Collegium puts
Mags in a room in the stables—not that it bothers Mags at
all. After all, this is the first time he has a room all to
himself, and one he can lock if he wants. And best of all,
he's close to Dallen. Of course, not all Heralds are happy
with the idea of Collegium. They want to train Heralds the
Will Mags be able to fit in at the Collegium? Will there be
problems with the Heralds because of the Collegium? What
are Mags' gifts and will he be able to put them to use?
Will he find any friends?
FOUNDATION: THE COLLEGIUM CHRONICLES is a wonderful
Valdemar tale. Mercedes Lackey once again brings the world
of Valdemar and Heralds to life in this enchanting story.
As an adult, the first fantasy story I read was by Mercedes
Lackey and it was the first Valdemar story. I instantly
fell in love with Mercedes Lackey's writing, Valdemar and
the whole fantasy genre. And Mercedes Lackey has been a
favorite of mine ever since. This is a very moving,
touching tale of a young boy being taken from wretched
conditions and given a chance at a wonderful new life, one
where he finds love and the best friend he could possibly
have in Dallen, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, I
have to admit this read more like a YA book than her other
stories, not that it detracted from my enjoyment of it. All
in all, a very good read for all ages and one I highly
recommend to all fans of Valdemar.
Reviewed by Chere Gruver
Posted September 11, 2009