Originally published in 1991, By the Sword expands on a song that was included in Heralds, Harpers, and Havoc. The song, “Kerowyn’s Ride,” featured a girl who rides to the rescue of her brother’s bride after her family is attacked by raiders. This story is not set in Valdemar, which is kind of a relief. I love Heralds and their political projects that somehow never seem to address the issue endemic poverty in Valdemar’s urban areas. But their focus on fairness and the way their relationships with their Companions accelerate their emotional maturity WHILE YET leaving them completely neurotic, does get a little repetitive.
The world building that went into Valdemar isn’t wasted though, because By the Sword is still set on Velgarth.