Closer to the Chest

Closer to the Chest

Book - 2016
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"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 letters. 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. They must thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly—before terror turns to murder."--Goodreads.com
Publisher: New York, NY : DAW Books, Inc., [2016]
Characteristics: 376 pages ; 24 cm
Series:
ISBN: 9780756409012
Call Number: FICTION LACKEY

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danomcd
Apr 25, 2018

I am finding it a little hard to rate this book. I have enjoyed reading Mecedes Lackey since I was a child but I have recently found that her writing (especially around the Mags character has been really hit and miss). The larger issue/crisis in each of these books ends up being quite minimal and I find it hard to believe that the government would assign its top spy agent to deal with it.
However, this book is an up turn from the other two in this series. At least it stopped copying and reusing entire pages from the earlier story of when Mags was a mining orphan. I did enjoy some of the twists and turns as they identified who was the "poison pen" - but I couldn't shake the feeling when I was reading it that the author was trying to make an overly strong societal message (about sexism, male vs. female roles, the risk of institutionalized religion, and in general bullying).
I would recommend to read it but the "moral message" may get a little tiresome.

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NYSandy23
Dec 06, 2016

I always enjoy stories of Valdemar. It is a world of magic and gifts and abilities. The long arc of the stories that Mercedes Lackey has created has allowed for big, grand fantasy as well as small intimate stories. This book of Mags and Amily is one of those. Intimate in characterizations and watching characters grow into themselves, with a plot dealing with tolerance and appreciating differences. I look forward to more in this world, be they of Mags and Amily or another generation of Heralds.

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