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Magic's Pawn

Written in 1989 and published by DAW Books, Magic's Pawn is the first in the Last-Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and part of the bigger Velgarth series.

The Plot:
Vanyel, the son of a noble lord doesn't fit in. He doesn't enjoy the wargames his brothers and cousins play, and stands aloof burying himself in music, poetry and various other "un-manlike activities" that his father disapproves of. Finally fed up, his father sends his son to the capital to stay with the boy's aunt.

Vanyel finds himself miserable here however, distancing himself from everyone. And then he meets Tylendal: A Herald-Mage trainee and the student of his aunt. Suddenly Vanyel's life isn't so bad, until a family feud undoes it all, and makes Vanyel the most powerful Herald-Mage in the history of Valdemar.

The Review:
Magic's Pawn is a beautiful story of love, loss and dealing with power given but not wanted. In it Lackey introduces one of Fantasy's first homo-sexual heroes (an honor which Lackey refuses to claim, saying Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover did first)in a story that is almost, in my opinion, perfect.

You'll laugh at Lackey's wit and cry at the amazing and tragic ending in this wonderfully structured universe so different, yet so similar to our own. In my opinion this book is a must-have in any Fantasy library.

The only critique I can find for this book is that there are times when the angst seems to drag, and the spacing out of time once in the capital can be confusing as she skips over months at times. But all in all this is a wonderful story that I strongly suggest be read by anyone who hasn't, and re-read by anyone who has.

The Grade: