In Mercedes Lackey's classic coming-of-age story, the orphan Magpie pursues his quest for his parent's identity with burning urgency-while also discovering another hidden talent and being trained by the King's Own Herald as an undercover agent for Valdemar. Shy Bardic Trainee Lena has to face her famous but uncaring father, one of Valdemar's most renowned Bards. And Healing Trainee Bear must struggle against his disapproving parents, who are pressuring Bear to quit the Healers' Collegium because he lacks the magical Healing Gift.
Each of the three friends must face his or her demons and find their true strength as they seek to become the full Heralds, Bards, and Healers of Valdemar.
"Lackey makes a real page-turner out of Mags’ and the collegia’s development.... This book’s outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans."—Booklist
"Lackey’s back doing what she does best, and the result is affecting and compulsive reading."—Locus
"Series fans will enjoy the variations on a familiar theme, while enough information is presented for first-timers to discover a world of high adventure and individual courage. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
"Leaves us simultaneously satisfied—and longing for more. Not an easy feat.... Once you jump into this world, you’ll find yourself immediately involved, surrounded by new friends, and glad you made the trip."—Realms of Fantasy
"Lackey is a spellbinding storyteller who keeps your heart in your mouth as she spins her intricate webs of magical adventure."—Rave Reviews