From Lackey (with Bill Dixon, The Black Gryphon, 1993) a starter for yet another sword-and-sorcery trilogy set, like her Mage Winds books, in Valdemar, though only experts will know where, chronologically, this one fits in. Charliss ``the Immortal,'' Adept and Emperor of the Eastern Empire, dreams of conquering the West. However, his armies have been fought to a standstill in Hardorn, so he sends his putative successor, the Grand Duke Tremane, to remedy matters and complete the conquest. In neighboring Karse, meanwhile, the new High Priest, Solaris, has cast forth the evil demon- summoners, child-burners, and False Sons. And though for centuries the Karsites have demonized Valdemar's Herald-Mages and their horselike Companions, Solaris sends the powerful mage Ulrich and his secretary, Karal, to the Valdemaran Court. Here the long, slow process of forging a magical alliance to defeat the Eastern Empire gets underway, while violent storms sent by Tremane roll across the land. Valdemar devotees who delight in description and chat and the absence of action should feel perfectly at home. Non-fans and browsers will simply yawn and pass on.