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Mad Maudlin (Bedlam Bard, Book 6) Hardcover – July 22, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In Lackey and Edghill's latest rollicking Bedlam's Bard fantasy (after 2001's Spirits White as Lightning), Eric Banyon finds some new surprises have popped up in his muddled existence as a human artist, magical Bard and former Juilliard student. They include a brother he never knew existed, a fairytale monster come to life and some really evil dudes that he doesn't even know he's crossed. Jachiel ap Gabrevys (aka Jaycie), an elfin princeling, has gone missing from Underhill, and his Protector is desperately trying to find him. Normally, his Protector would have no trouble locating the runaway, but Jaycie has hidden himself in the iron-bound city of New York and has become addicted to caffeine-which has a drug-like effect on elves. Coincidentally, Jaycie has befriended two mortal youths, Ace, who has musical talent, and Magnus Banyon, the newly discovered brother of Eric. All three runaways, plus Eric and pals (who include Greystone the gargoyle), become entangled in a mess the size of New York City itself. Except for a few annoying references to the Buffyverse, the story romps quickly from beginning to end.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The sixth tale of Eric the Bard, last seen in Spirits White as Lightning (2001), can be enjoyed independently, though some knowledge of the series enhances its pleasures. New York, post-9/11, is the setting as bard Eric Banyon discovers that he has a 17-year-old brother, who, like Eric, has run away from their pressure-cooker parents and is now homeless in Manhattan. Eric's apprentice, Hosea, is trying to find out whether the stories of a ghost that he has heard from homeless children mean that some sort of nonhuman is roaming the city. Meanwhile, a young elven prince has fled his own realm and is also homeless in Manhattan. The homeless characters and a nasty villain or two prove enough to keep Eric, Hosea, and female series regular Ria as busy as ever. Much of the action takes place among homeless youth, and those sequences are vivid and disturbing, though not enough to prevent an upbeat ending or to tie up the loose ends that guarantee another book. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Eric is once again facing a hurdle in life. This trial, perhaps, is his hardest: facing his troubled past. Let's admit it, everyone has wounds inflicted by past pain, and facing that pain down is an act of courage. Eric has to confront his parents... and learns a shocking piece of information in the bargain.
In the meantime, Hosea Songmaker and his haunted banjo Jeanette are out and about the city of New York, with Hosea doing what he can to bring the gift of music to the city's homeless children. In the shelters, he learns a set of "Secret Stories" about a murderous ghost, Bloody Mary. This urban legend turns out to be a lot more than Hosea ever guessed.
And, of course, there is a trio of troubled runaways. Ace, who ran from her father's greedy ministry and an enemy that wants her Talent to manipulate emotions under his control. Magnus, who left a home so restrictive and stifling that he almost needed permission to breath. And Jaycie, who can come up with thick rolls of money out of nowhere and spends his time scarfing down blocks of baker's chocolate and cans of Coca-Cola. (Sound familiar to anyone?) These three love each other fiercely and would do anything to stay together, and they find themselves bound up in a lot more trouble than trying to find a relatively safe place to live.
There are also poignant references to 9/11 that had me literally in tears. I gained a new perspective on my nation's tragedy, and helped me gain more thought and insight to the fallout that occurs after a disaster.
All in all, I loved this book, and I can't wait for the next.
Go buy this book.
(the Bananaslug at Baen's Bar)
(the Bananaslug. at Baen's Bar)