Another of Lackey's fantasy yarns set in Valdemar (Storm Warning, 1994, etc.), a magical kingdom where magic-powered Heralds bond for life with horselike Companions, now facing war with neighboring Karse. This time, Lackey tells the story of Lavan Chitward, whose middle-class, social-climbing parents enroll him in a ghastly private school, oblivious of his talent for magically setting fire to things. The boy will grow up to be the notorious Herald, Lavan Firestorm. Only Valdemar experts will be able to place this installment chronologically—or want to.