Mercedes Lackey (born June 24, 1950) (also known as Misty Lackey) is a prolific American author of fantasy novels for adults. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Some disparage her books as being about 'talking horses', but she specialises in depicting a wide range of cultures and environments. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists, with many different cultures and social mores. There is a prominent theme of tolerance throughout, notably in the relative prominence of homosexual characters and the ethos of Valdemar: "There is no one, true way".
The other main world in which she writes is one very much like our own, but populated by elves, mages, vampires, and all manner of other mythical beings. Some of the interlocking series in this world are the Diana Tregarde thrillers, the "SERRAted Edge" books about racecar-driving elves, and the "Bedlam's Bard" books, characterizing a young man with the power to work incredible magics through music. Whilst the SERRAted Edge and Bedlam's Bard series are still in progress, she has declined to write further Diana Tregarde stories because of harassment from a small but determined number of fans. Lackey claims the trouble escalated to the point where she and her husband received death threats and were forced to suspend their fandom activities.
There is a Mercedes Lackey fan group on Usenet and many people would like to 'play' in her worlds, but as she keeps a tight hold on her copyrights, no published fanfiction is allowed outside of her authorized fanclub, the Queen's Own, so named after Herald Talia's position in her books.
Her earlier novels are all solo projects, but later volumes in the Valdemar saga are illustrated by her husband Larry Dixon, and in many of her latest works he is also credited as co-author.
She is a protegee of Marion Zimmer Bradley, and got her start writing short stories in Bradley's story collections.
She and Larry Dixon also work in wildlife rehabilitation, especially with birds of prey. She often refers to her various parrots as her "feathered children".
Lackey has been active in the filking community.
Some of the trilogies follow on chronologically from each other. Others are set a considerable number of years apart from the others. Overall the books span some 3000 years of history. There is a significant gap in the middle which might some day be filled.
However Lackey has recently (October 2003) announced that she is taking a break from writing Velgarth books.
Heralds of Valdemar
This set consists of the original trilogy, the very first Valdemar books published, and a prequel trilogy, the most recent.
These centre on the characters Skif (the first book) and the Weaponsmaster Alberich (second & third books), telling the stories of their not-entirely-voluntary enrolments as Heralds.
Take a Thief
The original trilogy
These centre on the character Talia, from her first encounter with the Heralds to becoming the Queen's Own Herald.
Arrows of the Queen
The Mage Winds
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.
Winds of Fate
Winds of Change
Winds of Fury
The Mage Storms
These follow on again, centering on the characters Karal and And'esha.
The Owl Mage
These take place some time later, centering on the character Darian.
The Last Herald Mage
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.
Vows & Honor
These also precede the Heralds of Valdemar books, centering on the characters Tarma and Kethry; they were originally introduced in a short story in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress series, which is included in the first book.
This is a stand-alone novel which connects the Vows & Honor series to the Heralds and other trilogies; it introduces the character Kerowyn who features therein.
By the Sword
The Mage Wars
These are set in pre-history, some 2000-3000 years earlier. They describe the events which set off The Mage Storms.
The Black Gryphon
The White Gryphon
The Silver Gryphon
This is a stand-alone novel, set somewhere between The Last Herald Mage and the Heralds books; it describes another legendary character referred to in the latter, Lavan Firestorm.
Short Story Collections
Sword of Ice
Sun in Glory and other tales of Valdemar
Elves on the Road universe
Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (1990) with Ellen Guon
Summoned to Tourney (1992) with Ellen Guon
Spirits White as Lightning (2001) with Rosemary Edghill
Beyond World's End (2001) with Rosemary Edghill
Mad Maudlin (2003) with Rosemary Edghill
Music to My Sorrow with Rosemary Edghill
Burning Water (1989)
Children of the Night (1990)
Jinx High (1991)
The Serrated Edge
Born To Run (1992) with Larry Dixon
Wheels of Fire (1992) with Mark Shepherd
When the Bough Breaks (1993) with Holly Lisle
Chrome Circle (1994) with Larry Dixon
Elvendude (1994) by Mark Shepherd
Spiritride (1997) by Mark Shepherd
Lazerwarz (1999) by Mark Shepherd
This Scepter'd Isle (2004) with Roberta Gellis
Stoned Souls with Josepha Sherman