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Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey is Volume Two of The Collegium Chronicles and follows the exploits of Magpie (Mags), former mineworker and Chosen of Companion Dallen.  The Heralds have experienced a massive influx of trainees and the Collegium has adapted to the numbers but Mags still lives in the stables with all of the Companions, by choice rather than necessity.  His feelings of isolation are somewhat mitigated by the select circle of friends that he has made but his situation becomes threatened by a vision from the Foreseers.  Mags has already struggled against his feelings of inferiority due to his underprivileged background but he spirals downward when suspicions mount against him and his perceived threat to Valdemar.  A new team-building game that has been constructed seems ideal for the expertise demonstrated by Mags and Dallen but a tragic occurrence threatens to destroy all of the progress that they have achieved and the Collegium may never be the same again.

Misty Lackey has effortlessly returned us to the wondrous realm of Valdemar with the powerful but not omniscient horselike Companions who can communicate with their Chosen but not necessarily instill common sense into them.  The fascinating connection between the duos is revisited while the delicate interaction between Bards, Heralds and Healers is explored.  The King’s Own has his own mysterious agenda which is furthered by the occurrences in this story but there are still plenty of mysteries which remain to be resolved.  It is a little difficult to determine the time period of this chapter of Valdermar history so a timeline would be nice but overall this is a very enjoyable addition to the collection.

Book Blurb for Intrigues

"Spellbinding storyteller" (Rave Reviews) Mercedes Lackey continues her epic Valdemar series.

Magpie is a thirteen-year-old orphan chosen by one of the magical Companion horses of Valdemar and taken to the capital city, Haven, to be trained as a Herald. Like all Heralds, Magpie learns that he has a hidden Gift-the Gift of telepathy.

But life at the court is not without obstacles. When Mags is "recognized" by foreign secret operatives whose purpose is unknown, Mags himself comes under suspicion. Who are Magpie's parents-who is he, really? Can Mags solve the riddle of his parentage and his connection with the mysterious spies-and prove his loyalty-before the king and court banish him as a traitor?

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2010 4.75