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Spy, Spy Again
Valdemar: Family Spies #3
by Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books; 343 pp.; $27
Published: June 2020

This is a perfect read for summer. Entertaining, full of travel, magic cleverness and danger. We are back with Herald Mags, the King's spymaster, and his family. This time the story centers on his son Tory who is best friends with Kee (short for Kyril) who's the third son of the king.

Kee and Tory have been friends all their lives and the two share amazing gifts (though neither has been chosen by one of the fey white horse Companions). Tory is a Farseer and Kee has the power to extend Tory's range a great distance. The two young men are anxious to use their abilities for the good of the kingdom. With the Kings permission they are going to the aid of Mag's cousin Bey, one of the mysterious desert assassins called the Sleepgivers. They can kill and leave no trace. Bey's highly trained daughter is missing and there has been no sign or clue as to who took her or where. So, their great adventure begins and it's off to the desert wilds to see if Tory and Kee can track her down.

Sira has been kidnapped by the nasty Karsites, who follow a very strict religion and fundamentally, have no problem killing others for any reason. They have a magical elite who will even kill any children showing magical powers. Only those in charge can have those abilities. They have the people of Karse under rigid control. There is trade with other countries, but it’s prickly, highly regulated and fraught with danger.

Sira has been taken to a very isolated prison in the middle of nowhere. But damn, she's resourceful! She has a necklace of very old Talismans that have bound spirits in them called Afrinns. And they are elemental: earth, air, water and fire and taken on a variety of forms. Sira, in need of some help (and a steady supply of water and food), releases an Afrinn one at a time. Because they are grateful, they are friendly and willing to help her. At first, she sends each released Afrinn off to terrorize the prison to lower the numbers against her and to keep them from striking her first.

Kee and Tory and Sira's brother Ahkhan are making their way from Valdemar to the land of Ruvan, where the Nation of Sleepgivers live in their mountain fastness.

The Karsites have it out for the Sleepgivers because they decided not to honor a contract to be assassins in Valdemar. And the Karsites are not to be crossed as they control horrible, ravening demons. Kee keeps getting visions of Sira and the two of them have a connection that might be developing into something deeper than just magical communicating. And throughout this journey, Kee's magical abilities seem to be growing by leaps and bounds. The captive Sira is learning more about the Afrinns as she releases them and is becoming stronger and more assured in her own abilities. But she knows, if the high priests and their demons get to her, it will be no contest.

The tensions ratchet up as the three from Valdemar get closer to Sira and they become aware of an oncoming wave of Karsites centered on the prison. The three get to Sira, prepared to help her escape, but she has gotten out of the prison on her own, just in time. And the race to reach Valdemar before the Karsites and their ravening demons descend on them is on.

Again, this was very entertaining and enjoyable, especially as it takes place in an area outside of Valdemar rarely visited. ~~ Sue Martin

For more titles in this series click here
For more titles by Mercedes Lackey click .here

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