Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms - their peoples filled with mutual prejudice and mistrust. Only the vile deeds perpetrated on both kingdoms by Ancar of Hardorn, and the subsequent emergence of the armies of the Eastern Emprire in the wake of his defeat, have forced these two so-different lands into an uneasy alliance. For the Eastern Empire, which has long been isolated and shrouded in mystery, is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms.
Forced to combat this dire foe, not only must traditional enemies unite, but the Companions may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries... even from their beloved Heralds.
Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born 1950) is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.
Her other main world is one much like our own, but it includes clandestine populations of elves, mages, vampires, and other mythical beings. The Bedlam's Bard books describe a young man with the power to work magic through music; the SERRAted Edge books are about racecar driving elves; and the Diana Tregarde thrillers center on a Wiccan who combats evil.
She has also