The amazon.com product description:
In this chronicle of the early history of Valdemar, a thirteen-yearold orphan named Magpie escapes a life of slavery in the gem mines when he is chosen by one of the magical companion horses of Valdemar to be trained as a herald. Thrust into the center of a legend in the making, Magpie discovers talents he never knew he had-and witnesses the founding of the great Heralds' Collegium.Foundation is the most recent of the Valdemar books, Foundation is the first of a new series about the start of the Heralds' Collegium. It's a good read, if a bit of a quick read (I finished it the day I got it).
The story follows Mags, a young orphan who ends up being Chosen through the start of his time at the new Collegium. In many ways this is a typical Lackey book as the character follows the pattern set down by Talia of an intelligent child who grew up in a bad situation. On the other hand, I don't know how many books this series is going to run to. Unlike the Arrows books, Mags was not finished with his training by the end of the book. Also somewhat frustrating was that Lackey raises plot point after plot point without really resolving any of them in this book. In that sense, it is definitely a first book, and I'm waiting for the sequel to get some answers.
Also, with this book as with her last few set in Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey seems to be returning to books for a slightly younger audience. Where the Mage Winds books were definitely for adults, as were the Mage Wars trilogy, this is more like the Arrows books, which I first found in the Young Adult section of the library.
There is one thing, in the timeline at the front of the book it lists this book in the same time-slot as Magic's Price which is a mistake, and slightly disappointing. When I saw that I'd hoped for more on the characters from those books and the adaptation from Herald-Mages to Heralds. In actuality the one and only time reference in the books sets it about three generations later and no familiar characters.
In no way is that a criticism, as ALL of Mercedes Lackey's books are ones that I've enjoyed reading over and over. I do recommend Foundation, however at this point it's not going to be one of my favorites. That place is firmly held by Magic's Price, one of the few books to bring tears to my eyes every time I read it.
Review edited: March 11, 2010.
Bookspot Central: Foundation