Closer to the Chest - Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the Chest

By Mercedes Lackey

  • Release Date: 2016-10-04
  • Genre: Epic
Score: 4.5
4.5
From 67 Ratings

Description

New York Times-bestselling author Mercedes Lackey's Herald Spy series, set in the beloved fantasy world of Valdemar

Herald Mags, the King of Valdemar’s Herald-Spy, has been developing a clandestine network of young informants who operate not only on the streets of the capital city of Haven, but also in the Great Halls and kitchens of the wealthy and highborn. In his own established alternate personas, Mags observes the Court and the alleys alike, quietly gathering information to keep Haven and the Kingdom safe.
 
His wife Amily, is growing into her position as the King’s Own Herald, though she is irritated to encounter many who still consider her father, Herald Nikolas, to be the real King’s Own. Nonetheless, she finds it increasingly useful to be underestimated, for there are dark things stirring in the shadows of Haven and up on the Hill.

Someone has discovered many secrets of the women of the Court and the Collegia—and is using those secrets to terrorize and bully them. Someone is targeting the religious houses of women, too, leaving behind destruction and obscene ravings.
           
But who? Someone at the Court? A disgruntled Palace servant? One of the members of the Collegia? Someone in the patriarchal sect of the god Sethor? Could the villain be a woman? And what is this person hoping to achieve? It isn’t blackmail, for the letters demand nothing; the aim seems to be the victims’ panic and despair. But why?
 
Mags and Amily take steps to minimize the damage while using both magic and wits to find the evildoer. But just as they appear to be on the verge of success, the letter-writer tires of terror and is now out for blood.
 
Mags and Amily will have to track down someone who leaves few clues behind and thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly—before terror turns to murder.

Reviews

  • A heavy-handed disappointment

    1
    By zenfrodo
    Wow. The Valdemar series isn't known for subtlety, but mostly, they're enjoyable reads. Not this one. The moment the antagonist is introduced, you know he's evil, in a thoroughly heavy-handed, obvious way, and when the Poison Pen letters and assaults and vandalism are brought up, any reader will be screaming "It's That Guy, get on with it already!" Oh, yeah, Lackey very carefully has the male protagonists point out that the villain might be female, but no one with a quarter of brain will believe the obvious red herring. Precious little characterization, a couple references to prior characters and how well they're doing-- and Lackey muddies her timeline as usual by having Coot be impossibly grownup at this point -- there's no sense of closure and the links to the other books are unsatisfying at best and tacked-on cardboard at worst. Even worse, Lackey can't keep the details straight even within the same series, let alone the same book. Several times, Mags acts surprised that the Mind Gifts can be shut down, even though he was told exactly that just a few pages prior...and KNEW about it back in the series before this, when they talked of doing the same thing to Marchand! This "mystery" has no mystery about it, and us a boring read.
  • Lackey, Mercedes. “Closer to the Chest.” DAW, 2016-09-06T19-59-01Z

    5
    By CW2 O'B.
    The tasty third serving of the Herald Spy is a slice of Valdemar, smokey, piquant, and intoxicating. Mercedes Lackey understands the lives of the law enforcement and intelligence communities. In Closer to the Chest, the real life balance between work and love, family and operations is contrasted: street and living room, policy meetings and field judgment calls. No sweetened romance novel or overly dark noir detective story, Closer to the Chest offers us a buffet human hopes and disappointments. A buffet of life known by operators, case officers, analysts, policy wonks and politicians. Fantastically set in Haven, capitol city of Valdemar, these tales allow those serving today to read and relax of a familiar milieu, without the jarring discomfort of real work intruding. Thank you Ms. Lackey for a wonderful oeuvre, appreciated by those who serve and protect. Please continue to commit trilogy!