The Valdemar books can be broken down into different series, with some standalone novels. This is a summary of the various books and how they fall into each series chronologically, in terms of the overall storyline. The books span approximately 3000 years of history. The year after each title indicates the year of the original publication of each individual book.
These are set in pre-history, some 1000 years before the founding of Valdemar. They describe the events which precipitate the Mage Storms, and heavily involve gryphons, creatures created by the Urtho, the Mage of Silence. Co-protagonists include Skandranon Rashkae, a princely but proud ebony gryphon, and Amberdrake, a spirit-healer, called a kestra'chern.
These occur some centuries before the Heralds of Valdemar books, telling the life story of Vanyel Ashkevron. By the time of the "later" books he has become legend, thus explaining some of the small inconsistencies.
Mags was once an enslaved orphan living a harsh life in the mines, until the King's Own Herald discovered his talent and trained him as a spy. Now a Herald in his own right, at the newly established Heralds' Collegium, Mags has found a supportive family, including his Companion Dallen.
Spymaster Herald Mags and King's Own Herald Amily have raised the next generation of spies. Each of their three children comes of age in their own novel.
The Tale of Lavan FirestormEdit
This is a stand-alone novel, set somewhere between the Herald Spy and the Heralds books. It describes another legendary character briefly referenced in the latter, Lavan Firestorm.
- Brightly Burning (2000)
These precede the Heralds of Valdemar books, centering on the characters Tarma and Kethry. These characters appeared first in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress series, and were revisited in subsequent short stories. Two of these short stories are woven into the Vows and Honor books as part of a longer narrative. The original Vows and Honor pair of books were linked together with By the Sword (published long before Oathblood) as a trilogy. The third volume, Oathblood, is made up entirely of short stories in place of a longer narrative. With its publication, nearly all of the Tarma and Kethry stories were available together in a single compiled volume for the first time.
All three volumes were released as an omnibus edition entitled Tarma and Kethry.
The prequels include the story of Skif, a street orphan who eventually becomes an important Herald with unique gifts, magical and otherwise. They also include the origin story of the famous Weaponsmaster Alberich, his Choosing and the Tedrel Wars.
This is a stand-alone novel which connects the Vows and Honor sub-series to the Heralds and other trilogies, introducing the character Kerowyn who features therein. Kerowyn is the granddaughter of Kethry from the Vows and Honor sub-series.
- By the Sword (1991)
These follow on from the original Heralds of Valdemar trilogy, centering on Princess Elspeth completing her transformation from "the Brat" to a fully-fledged Herald. Secondary protagonists include Skif and a new character Darkwind.
These follow on again, centering on the characters Karal and An'desha as Velgarth is threatened by a repetition of the Cataclysm described in the Mage Wars trilogy. This trilogy also focuses on the threat posed to Valdemar by the vast Eastern Empire and the development of the newly-formed Alliance between Valdemar and its surrounding nations.
The Owl trilogy takes place several years after the events of the Mage Storms, and follows the character Darian. The story focuses on the repercussions of the Mage Storms on Valdemar's northern border, and centers on new tensions between the kingdom and invading barbarians from beyond the Ice Wall Mountains.
The anthologies usually include one novella by Mercedes Lackey accompanied by a dozen or more short stories written by other fantasy and science fiction authors. The stories are set within the world of Velgarth, and many of Lackey's stories make reference to characters featured previously in other Valdemar novels and series.
Many of the stories follow one or more characters from one anthology to the next, forming a miniseries within the anthologies. The miniseries are listed here: Miniseries
- Sword of Ice and Other Tales of Valdemar (1997)
- Sun in Glory and Other Tales of Valdemar (2003)
- Crossroads and Other Tales of Valdemar (2005)
- Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar (2008)
- Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2009)
- Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar (2010)
- Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar (2011)
- No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2014)
- Crucible: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2015)
- Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2016)
- Pathways: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2017)
- Choices: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2018)
- Seasons: All-New Tales of Valdemar (2019)
- Passages (2020)
Miscellaneous works Edit
There are also a few miscellaneous works, including a novella and some short stories that have not been collected into an anthology as yet. These include:
- "Stolen Silver" in Horse Fantastic edited by Martin Harry and Rosalind M. Greenberg (1991)
- "A Dragon in Distress" in Sword and Sorceress XII edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1995)
- The Valdemar Companion, edited by John Helfers and Denise Little (contains the novella "A Herald's Journey" by Mercedes Lackey) (2001)
- "On the Other Side" in Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian, edited by Janis Ian and Mike Resnick (2003)
- "Out of the Deep" in Masters of Fantasy edited by Bill Fawcett (2004)