The Mage Winds Trilogy (Winds of Fate, Winds of Change, Winds of Fury)
by Mercedes Lackey
This trilogy is one that I have read many times, and so has become a comfort-read. It’s a book that I can read when I don’t want surprises. When I feel that the rest of life is doing strange things and I need some stability. Now, don’t take this to mean that there are no surprises and twists in the series. There are plenty. But I am familiar enough with them that they are not surprising any more.
This series is set in Lackey’s world of Valdemar, and I would highly recommend starting with Arrows of the Queen and finishing that trilogy before reading this one. They can be read out of order, but they are all closely related enough that doing so will cause spoilers – in some cases, major ones. (In fact, if you do start with the Arrows trilogy and get super-hooked on it, you may want to go and read the Vows & Honor set and By The Sword before starting the Mage Winds trilogy, as those are all directly related as well.)
The Mage Winds trilogy follows Heir & Herald Elspeth as she goes in search of magical assistance for Valdemar. The first book in the series is split between her point-of-view and Darkwind’s – a Hawkbrother scout and former mage who, we are allowed to guess, is going to become an integral part of Elspeth’s quest by the time the trilogy is over. To go into much more detail would ruin things, but I will say that this trilogy manages to be a part of a (much) larger world without losing the ability to stand alone, should you choose. (I recommend against it, but it is possible to read this as your introduction to the world of Valdemar.)