This is a charming novel full of quiet moments about the magic that hides in music and poetry. Central to the plot is a mysterious runic language and the bardic culture that Phelan and Beatrice find themselves immersed in. They’re both wonderfully quirky characters and between their stories and that of Nairn, the Unforgiven, readers will find themselves pulled through the book to its very satisfying conclusion.

Phelan Cle has chosen the legendary Bone Plain as the subject of his final paper before leaving the bardic school on the hill. Phelan expects it to be an easy paper, but once he starts researching it, he learns about Nairn, a wandering bard more commonly known as the Unforgiven, and suddenly, the easy paper doesn’t seem all that easy anymore. In the meantime, Phelan’s father, Jonah Cle, is also searching through time — not in books, but in archaeological digs throughout the city. Assisting Jonah is Princess Beatrice, who doesn’t enjoy her royal duties and much prefers working in the trenches. When Beatrice and her co-workers unearth a mysterious disk marked with ancient runes, it provides Phelan with the key he needs to unlock the mystery of Nairn. (ACE, Dec., 336 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs