author: Mercedes Lackey
series: The Founding of Valdemar #1
published: 15 June 2021
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads
The long-awaited founding of Valdemar comes to life in this new series from a New York Times bestselling author and beloved fantasist
This series from a New York Times bestselling author explores the long-awaited tale of an era crucial to Valdemar's history--the original founding of the nation itself by the legendary Baron Valdemar.
Beyond is the first in a new series, chronologically set after The Mage Wars trilogy, some thousand years after the mage wars changed the world. As someone who has been reading this series continuously since the very first book, published in 1987, I was thrilled to see this as it is the origin story of the Kingdom of Valdemar itself. (This is a huge series, some 54 books and counting as well as 15 and counting anthologies of short stories.) Before, the beginnings of the kingdom have only had the barest of references, so this is a welcome addition to the series.
Beyond tells the story of why the people of Valdemar fled the Eastern Empire to find a new land to settle. It is full of twists and turns, and it explains so much that will be found in later parts of the series. In its own way, it’s a cautionary tale about unchecked power and the corruption and greed it can create. It has become a matter of when, not if, the empire will fall. It’s far too late to change the course of its fall, the corruption too deeply embedded. So Baron Valdemar and his followers create a plan to escape. The meticulous organization their plan required is mind-boggling, years in the making. And it isn’t without out unforeseen problems, which just make the story that much more interesting.
There is a different feel to Beyond, and I can’t quite put my finger on what that difference was. It didn’t put me off, but there just was something different about it. But I still quite enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!
notes on reading order
If you want to dive into the Valdemar world, I suggest reading in the world’s chronological order, not the publishing order. You can read the series in two ways (hosted by Fandom), both of which are updated frequently as new (sometimes not yet published) works are released.
- The basic reading order: This lists the books in order from start to finish, and then the anthologies, which include stories from all over the timeline.
- The expanded reading order: This also lists the books in order but also inserts the stories from the anthologies in proper chronology when that has been established. This is the reading order I use.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: