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    Review of EXILE'S HONOR by Mercedes Lackey


    DAW Books, October 2002

    Captain Alberich of the Karse guard might not be a hero, but a vision did allow him to save a village from bandits. And that vision resulted in his being denounced and sentenced to burning. Only the timely rescue by his horse that was more than a normal horse allowed him to live--in exile in Valdemar. Karse and Valdemar are historical enemies and Alberich meets with suspicion despite his being chosen by a horse/companion. Still, he manages to make a place for himself as a weapons instructor, bodyguard, and spy. A place, but not a home. Alberich clings to his beliefs, his honor, and his certainty that his country remains Karse, despite what the priests who rule that country may decree.

    When Karse hires a mercenary army to invade Valdemar, Alberich decides that his loyalty to Valdemar is the priority, especially since few if any Karse will be enrolled in that army. The mercenary army of Tedrels were an entire nation, deprived of their homes by a losing war, and wandering the world until they had a chance to claim a new country. They see Valdemar as their nation's last hope--and Alberich and the Valdemar army know that there is no possibility of compromise. They must secure a victory--or lose everything.

    Author Mercedes Lackey (see more reviews of novels by this author) delivers an emotionally satisfying and exciting story. As a stranger in Valdemar, Alberich can view it with the wonder and suspicion that brings this strange nation of magic to life for the reader. Despite a few loose ends and plot lines that didn't lead anywhere (in this novel, at least although they may be followed up in other Valdemar stories), Lackey's strong writing compells the reader forward, grabbing the reader early and holding our attention until we put the book down, finished.


    Reviewed 12/17/02

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