Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What a happy allegory!

So, I finished Closer to the Chest, book 3 in Mercedes Lackey's The Herald Spy series. Which is also the 51st book I've finished in 2016, meaning I may end up either speed reading my next selection, or better yet, choose one of the slim volumes off the shelf to end 2016 with 52 books.

Anyway, we're again following Herald Mags in the mushy middle era between the "Modern" Valdemar era where most of the books are set, and some of the ones set much further back in time. (AKA The Last Herald Mage trilogy that I think almost all gay men of my age ended up reading at one point or another.)

Anyway. Mags' wife, Amily, is having issues with being King's Own, since most of the court knew her father in the role. Mags is busy dealing with his own spy ring down in the city surrounding the palace grounds. Early on, we get introduced to the new religion sweeping Haven by storm, the Temple of Sethor the Patriarch, which has some very unsavory scriptures towards women. Also, there's an outbreak of "Poisoned Pen" letters arriving in odd ways to local women who are not behaving in traditional ways. Read as not being submissive housewives, doing things like running a shop, joining a military order....

Anyway, given the ways the laws of Valdemar work, there's a whole novel in here of connecting the dots between Sethor and the vandalism, property destruction, "Poisoned Pen" letters, etc.

Eventually it all comes together, including motive for some of the shadiest goings on.

Heck, it even comes with a discussion between characters about the difference between unsavory religious practices and illegal religious practices, as well as somehow managing to translate modern cyberbullying into a semi medieval setting.

Again, it's Valdemar, so if you've read any of the series, you have a general idea of what you're in store for. This is one of the better entries in the "mushy middle".