With Valdemar in dire peril - threatened by the malevolent spellcraft of Anacar of Hardorn - Princess Elspeth, Hearald and heir to the throne, has come to the Vale of the Tayledras Clan to seek Mage training among the magical Hawkbrother Adepts. But instead of finding a haven, she is whirled into a maelstrom of war and sorcery as the Vale is attacked by a mysterious Dark Adept from out of the "Uncleansed Lands."
And when the Heartstone, the source of magical power for the Clan, is warped by evil sorceries and turned into a dangerous rogue, disabling the most powerful of the Hawkbrother Adepts, Elspeth - still only a half-trained Mage - and the renegade Hawbrother-Adept Darkwind must struggle to tame the rogue Heartstone before the next strike of the Dark Adept, risking the perils of the unknown in a desperate bid to save both their peoples.
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