A collection of tales of the fantasy land and its protectors. I have to admit the only other Valdemar books I've read are 'Exile's Honor' and 'Exile's Valor', so my knowledge of this fantasy world is limited.
A very obvious 'Scooby Doo' homage as four Heralds and a mysterious creature travel to a small town in a wagon. The villagers are being bothered by 'ghosts' so our heroes have to unmask the villain behind it all. This is a very funny story and it actually contains the line: "I'd have gotten away with it too, if not for you meddling Heralds." This was good.
An Unexpected Guest
This story takes place in the land of Karse, a long time enemy of Valdemar. A woman has to help a wounded man. This was okay.
What Fire Is
Also set in Karse. This is the tale of two children who have what Karse deems 'witchpowers'. These powers would make them honoured Heralds in Valdemar, but in Karse the powers make them objects of suspicion and can lead to execution. This was exceptionally good and very sad.
A sword instructor wonders why the students of a rival instructor always win their duels. So he sets out to investigate. This was an okay story.
Two young teenagers have to do their part in a war. This is a coming of age tale with a fantasy twist and is a good read.
A Bard ends up at a small village and tries to help the shunned village madwoman. It does not go well. This was good and touched with sadness.
A very elderly Herald goes on a mission with a much younger Herald. Naturally there is friction. An okay story.
Heart, Home, and Hearth
Two outcasts hide out at a farm and are surprised when the farmer gives them sanctuary. A nice little tale.
This tale reminds me of Terry Pratchett's watch novels in his 'Discworld' series. A family have a tradition of serving in Valdemar's equivalent of the police. An okay read.
Two Heralds investigate strange goings on at Valdemar's version of Austria's Spanish Riding School. There they find very unusual magic. This was good.