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Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Bardic Voices, #4)
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Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Bardic Voices #4)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,709 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A magical maniac is loose in Alanda. The victims are always women, always lowerclass, and the weapon is always a three-sided stiletto, most often found among Church regalia. But the killers are never churchmen, and they always commit suicide immediately after the bloody deed.Tal Rufen is just a simple constable. But he really cares about his job, and when one of these murd ...more
Paperback, 423 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Baen Books (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matthew Coiner
Fantasy is my favorite fiction genre. I picked up the bardic voices books because of the music theme. I enjoyed all of them, but this book stood out to me. It successfully mixed fantasy and detective genres together into a fantastic novel. I have read the book on a number of occasions and it's one of my go to books when I'm in between new novels and need some time away from my research reading. While the other books in the series focus more on action, this book is much more thoughtful. It engage ...more
From Kirkus Reviews

First hardcover appearance for Lackey's Bardic Voices series (The Eagle and the Nightingales, etc.). In the city of Haldene, constable Tal Rufen ponders a string of brutal murders. The victims are all poor street-musician girls, but Tal's clues are confusing: The perpetrators are also all dead (they always commit suicide right after carrying out a murder); in every case, the weapon is a knife with a characteristic blade, but somehow it invariably vanishes from the crime scen

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Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
A re-read. One of my Internet hangouts was having a discussion about spec fic ... somebody claimed that it was all fluff, but that Mercedes Lackey was deeper than most other authors. (I know, I know. Me too.) My recollection was that ML was concerned with matters of ethics in her fiction, but that she handled them in a fairly naive way. So I thought I'd re-read some of the books by her that I remembered liking to see if that was correct.

In general, I'd say that it is. But I also read the wrong b
Take the Bardic Voices 'verse but put a crime procedural spin on it and add magic and the local religion. That's it. Subverts expectations for the protagonists but in a good way.
A crime thriller where the protagonists bumble about ineffectually while the killers run circles around them. Eventually the killers get caught, not by any cleverness or deduction, but by pure serendipity. And it's not even the protagonists--upholders of justice that they are--who do the catching.

Ann aka Iftcan
This last book in the Bardic Voices series actually has very little to do with the Free Bards, and everything to do with several of the minor characters from previous books. This is actually more of a mystery than the fantasy/romance of the first 3 books, altho the mystery isn't very deep, since I think I figured out the murderer in like 3 or 4 pages--if it took that long. But Lackey gives her usual touch to this one, and it was still enjoyable, even if it wasn't quite what I was expecting from ...more
Magical murder mystery. The ending suited the the characters.
The last of the Bardic Voices, I loved the whole meld of priesthood and music and government and law and order that ML wrote into this work.

The characters are deep, once more, not surprising at all since it's ML, to a point that they even question their own characters! It was truly amazing to read about the personal problems that they all went through. And all throughout that a wonderful plot that just kept everything tied together.
This was not my favorite book of hers. There were a lot of lengthy passages of main characters asking themselves questions, and I'm learning I really do not like that style (kind of like Kathy Reichs' books). The overall story was interesting, and I liked the characters well enough - probably just wouldn't read it again.
A combination of a good fantasy story (with likeable, interesting characters, good vs. evil, and a fun world setting), with a good crime story (including murders, and the hunt for the killer). An enjoyable read with a rather surprising ending.
A significant improvement over the previous books, but of course it is more of an independent story set in the same world. A fun detective story set in a magical world. This one was what the series should have been about from the start.
The is a re-read. I've enjoyed all the Bardic Books. This one started slow and finished in a rush but very enjoyable.
Not my favourite of this series, it was still an interesting read.
I think it was the theme of a murder that put me off. I see Mercedes Lackey more as a writer of fantasy than a writer of fantasy-thrillers.
Michele bookloverforever
bardic mercedes lackey and the worlds she concocts. this story continues a prior story in this series...involves a hunt for a serial killer and a committed constable.
I read the bard series because it revolved around music and singing...stuff I love to do. Unfortunately, the Bard series just didn't resonate with me much. It was a descent read, though.
Kathy Davie
Lackey does enjoy her nursery rhymes...I'm curious as to how much she enjoyed those and fairy tales as a child...
A police procedural set in a fantasy world - what a geat concept. Lackey's execution is entertaining, as usual.
Gwendolyn M
A bit slow in parts, but otherwise an enjoyable mix of two of my favorite genres - mystery and fantasy.
It is very good, a fun read but I didn't enjoy it as much as the other three books in the series.
Nov 09, 2012 Ann added it
It's Mercedes Lackey. I read the entire Bardic Voices Series and truly enjoyed them.
Kathy Sebesta
Darkest of the Bardic series, it also manages to wrap all the pieces together.
Sep 23, 2008 Scraps_ina-bag rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
I like this one as much as all the rest of them, wish there were a lot more!!
Wheee fantasy mystery! There aren't enough of those. These. You get the idea.
Fantasy detective fiction. Not bad.
Nancy Laney
Bardic Voices, Book 4
Read prior to 2010
I love her books.
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &a ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Bardic Voices (5 books)
  • The Lark and the Wren (Bardic Voices, #1)
  • The Robin & The Kestrel (Bardic Voices, #2)
  • A Cast of Corbies (Bardic Choices, #1) (Bardic Voices, #2.5)
  • The Eagle & the Nightingales (Bardic Voices, #3)
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1) By the Sword (Valdemar: Kerowyn's Tale, #1) Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3) Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)

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“Certainly no one has ever died of an unrequited passion—it's usually the ones that are requited that get people in trouble.” 26 likes
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