Friday, May 5, 2017

Four And Twenty Blackbirds - Mercedes Lackey

Four And Twenty Blackbirds - Mercedes LackeyFour and Twenty Blackbirds (Bardic Voices 4)
Mercedes Lackey
Baen Books
Copyright: 1997

The product description:

A magical murderer is loose in Alanda. The victims are always women, always lower-class, 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 murder/suicides happens on his beat he becomes obsessed. His superiors don't care—the victims will never be missed, and their murderers are already justly dead. But every instinct Tal Rufen has cries out that he has seen only one small piece of a bigger and much nastier puzzle....

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Four And Twenty Blackbirds is the fourth book set in the Bardic Voices world. The biggest issue I had with reading it at this point is that a lot of the events referenced are from the book A Cast of Corbies, which honestly I haven't read in years. In fact, I've basically forgotten the whole story for that one. The other book which is referenced frequently is the original Bardic Voices: The Lark and the Wren (Also found in the omnibus The Free Bards). Still, this book does seem to stand on it's own.

Despite the many frustrating references to previous books, this turned into one of those reads that I couldn't put down. Every spare moment I had for a couple of days I was reading. And there are plenty of "spare moments" when it's a rainy day in the campground.

Tal Rufen is an interesting character - and quite different from most of the other main characters in the world of the Free Bards. In fact, none of the main characters in this one are musicians, something I quite enjoyed. There are quite a few scenes illuminating how people at the lower end of the wealth-spectrum live in Alanda. I find those scenes in a fantasy novel, illuminating how the every-day person lives and their expectations to the future to be fascinating. Your mileage may vary.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a read that I quite enjoyed. It also counts as a bonus read in the Valdemar Reading Challenge I'm both hosting and participating in.

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