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Bedlam's Bard

(Bedlam Bard #1-2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,208 ratings  ·  43 reviews
When Eric Banyon's flute playing accidentally frees elven noble Korendil from a magical prison, he suddenly finds himself caught up in a desperate fight against an evil elf lord who plans to conquer all of California. ...more
Paperback, Omnibus, 617 pages
Published June 30th 2006 by Baen Books (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,208 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Comprises: Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, and Summoned to Tourney.

I'm assuming that the co-author did the bulk of the writing (with Lackey adjusting for her personal "fit"). Otherwise, there's no way to account for the sheer wordiness and long stretches of interior "thinking" by the characters, especially our "hero" Eric. He, by the way, is really annoying--sniveling, self-pitying, self-righteous.

Of course, this is a story of coming-of-age (magically and humanly), really, so by the end he's margi
Deborah Ideiosepius
while this book was a compilation of two, I read it as one and will review it that way. One thing that can be said in it's favour is that there was blessedly little recapitulating things we already knew in the second half.

The concept was one I really liked, Lackey has successfully used the theme of music as vessel for magic in other bardic stories but this was the first modern day setting I had picked up. Elves, music/magic dastardly plots.... It sounded full of potential and was written in the
Feb 09, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
See the individual books in this omnibus for my reviews for them. In general, I really enjoyed finally reading the first two books of this series and I’m looking forward to revisiting the next two. I remember being able to jump into the series in the middle with no issue previously, so I’m curious to see how knowing the backstory will alter my view of things.
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book contains the first two in the Bedlam's Bard series. Being two completely separate books, originally, i will review them as such.
Knights of Ghost and Shadows was fantastic. The story line was grand and though the characters may not have all been likable they were interesting and you could really sympathize with them. It is full of ups and downs and the farther into it you go, the more wound up you get. Then there was the romance, which I'm generally not very interested in, but in this b
Marne Wilson
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the first fantasy books I ever got from Science Fiction Book Club, and as such I may well have liked it way more than I should have. I remember that I enjoyed the first volume much more than the second. I also realize that most of what I loved about it had nothing to do with the plot. I loved Lackey's descriptions of the transformative power of music, and I felt drawn to the unusual relationship between the three main characters. ...more
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I don't read a lot of modern fantasy - I'm not quite sure that its my thing. That being said, I really enjoyed this one. The authors really seemed to hit the right tone, and both the subject matter and the story drew me right in.

Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Of all the Bard Tales, so far, I found this double bill the best of them all.

The first half, Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, tells the beginning of the story of Eric Banyon, flautist, street musician, and a man who has spent most of his life running away - though he's never sure what from, or why.

This story starts at a Faire, where Eric breaks up with his present girlfriend, and then goes off into a quiet oak grove to play away his blues,. On doing this, he starts a journey that will, firstly, wak
Caitlyn Janowski
Sep 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Mercedes Lackey is one of my all time favorites. Whenever I'm down and out I read a Lackey book. I couldn't even bring myself to fully finish this one yet and it's been over a month. Unrealistic dialogue between characters and overall poor character development throughout. I just couldn't force myself to enjoy it for whatever reason; it was a chore grinding my way through the first part and halfway through the second. I'm going back to reading tales of Valdemar and leaving this shoddy book with ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An okay book, unfortunately the novelty of elves and magic in modern California wears off a bit after Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, and it does start to drag a bit in the third quarter of Summoned to Tourney.
(view spoiler)
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book was interesting ... elves living among humans but mostly hidden. I liked the main story but found the thoughts of the characters interspersed with the dialogue to be distracting and a little confusing.

This book is a compendium of the two book series in one volume. I read the first story but did not read the second.
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urbanfantasy
These two books were entertaining and reminiscent of things from my youth, sort of renn faire/SCA feel, celtic music and magic, but with actual elves and bad badguys. I reread these recently and found a lot to enjoy about them--but not the cover art, which seemed to me to have to have been done by one of their friends (it isn't the worst, but isn't the best). ...more
May 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
Full review here:


I mean, it remains good reading, even as we again get dragged into the streets with the characters, a theme that tends to happen in any of Mercedes Lackey's Urban Fantasy series.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delightful urban fantasy with modern bards and ancient elves. Highly recommended as an enjoyable read with good characters.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Good fun.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy a bit of urban fantasy and this story delivers it. I've always enjoyed Lackey's work and this is no exception, the world building and characters are simply magical. ...more
Linda A.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put these down! Different from the Valdemar bards. I particularly loved the portrayal of the Augora Renaissance Faire since I had been there at roughly the time Misty sets the scene. ...more
Susan Schnelbach
Sep 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy-urban
So far I'm having a hard time getting interested in this book. The main character is not very likable. For the first two or three chapters he spends all his time mentally whining about his current girlfriend dumping him, then he mentally whines about some past girlfriends.

He's wallowing in his misery, but since it doesn't appear that he was all that attached to his girlfriend, his wallowing doesn't really make sense. I'll still try to slog through this one, but I have to admit, it is getting ha
A. Nixon
I found this when I really just couldn't seem to get into a book and like most everything I've read by Lackey, I was transported and absorbed. So much fun!

It did lose me a little in the second book/part, especially given the climax of the ending of the first. And, also, (view spoiler)
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
"Across the Borders" is a solo album (on CD & Cassette) by Lief Sorbye inspired by the Bedlam Bards series by Mercedes Lackey & Ellen Guon. Lief is part of the band Tempest, and a former member of Golden Bough.

The only place to buy it is from the Firebird Arts and Music website.

Songs include:
Montara Bay • Busker’s Lament • Pass the Hat • Fatima’s Garden • I Won’t Drift Away • Ya Amar • Maybe Someday • For Three of Us • Underhill • Krivo Sadovsko Horo • The Nexus • Montara Bay (reprise)

(No songs
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I would have loved to give this ook a three. One of the things I really enjoyed about it was that for me, it was as if the ook had a sound track, because Ikow most of the Irish tunes that keep getting mentioned and played by the main character throughout the book.

There just wasn't much else that i enjoyed. this is the kind of fantasy book in which the author needs to keep invoking greater and more varied magical and psychic powers to get her characters to survive. It wold have been more interest
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read other reviews and others go into more detail and probably say it better. The first book was bad. It was boring and the book is in the character's head too much. The main character is whiny and confused a lot. The second book started out better but I put it down halfway through because of similar problems. Some chapters I zoomed through, which made the clunky chapters that much harder to get through. ...more
Extra 1/2 star.

Knights of Ghosts and Shadows - 2.5 stars
Summoned to Tourney - 2.5 stars

Wasn't very good but it might've been the first urban fantasy book I've read and the novelty of it made it enjoyable.

Oh and I discovered Turlough Carolan here, who is brilliant...and the song Banish Misfortune, which is fun.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Another nostalgia re-read. There's a lot of cheese here, I have to say. It's too bad that although Lackey eventually continued this series, as far as I know Susan never reappeared. (I haven't really read this series after #3 so that may be wrong.) Even though in a way she was a message as much as she was a character, she was pretty cool. ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Showed potential, but felt like the author didn't know what to do at some points and just slapped something together quick (SPOILER ALERT "Umm, which guy should she go with? ...Oh, I can't decide. Threesome!" "I don't know what to do now...time-lapse!")

Some parts really interested me, but other flaws marred the overall read.
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Not bad work. I'm not as much of a fan of Lackey's contemporary world books, but I did enjoy this one. It was a little hard to read about the earthquake in the second part, remembering what the real one in 1989 was like. ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm glad I started reading this series out of order. If I had begun with this volume, I may not have continued...But the second half was much better than the first (Not such a whiny Bard). And I know the characters improve in later adventures. ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this series, but somehow I've never managed to read the 1st book in it. This is the first book in the bedlam's bard series and it's every bit as wonderful as the one's that follow it. Awesome Plot, Interesting Characters, Elves, Magic and Music! What more could you ask for? Read it. ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
I like the urban fantasy and I love the elves! It was a bit hard though at poitns for me.
Willa Guadalupe Grant
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
As someone who started doing the Ren-Faire in 1970 I really enjoyed the feeling of this book.
Azz Lunatic
Bedlam's Bard by Mercedes Lackey (1998) ...more
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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 & M ...more

Other books in the series

Bedlam Bard (8 books)
  • Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (Bedlam's Bard, #1)
  • Summoned to Tourney (Bedlam's Bard, #2)
  • Bedlam Boyz (Bedlam's Bard, #3)
  • Beyond World's End (Bedlam's Bard, #4)
  • Spirits White as Lightning (Bedlam's Bard, #5)
  • Mad Maudlin (Bedlam's Bard, #6)
  • Music to My Sorrow (Bedlam's Bard, #7)
  • Bedlam's Edge (Bedlam's Bard, #8)

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