Release Date: October 7, 2014
The amazon.com product description:
Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King's Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds' Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.This was a great, if short read, but one I found a bit unusual for the first book in a series. Usually, when I've picked up a new series in the world of Valdemar, it feels like a new series - a bit of an introduction to the world of the Heralds, an introduction to the characters, all the things a new reader of any of the Valdemar books would need in order to gather an understanding of the world Mercedes Lackey has created. Not this time. Closer To Home picks up after the ending of Bastion, the final book in the Collegium Chronicles series, and it doesn't feel like a new series at all. Instead, it's a continuation of the previous books. Now, by no means is the above paragraph a complaint!
Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags' mentor, King's Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King's Own, a complicated and dangerous job that is made more so by this perilous time. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?
I loved the book, and I'm looking forward to next year and the next book in the series. It's just that if you're thinking that this, being the first book in a new series, would be a good introduction to the world of Valdemar, you might want to try Foundation instead. That's the book that's going to introduce Mags, Bear and Lena (only mentioned in this one), Amily etc to you.
I do recommend this book and any other of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books quite highly. None of them to date has been a disappointment to me, and most I've read several times.