Book Review: The Bards of Bone Plain

Phelan Cle just wanted an easy topic for his final paper that would allow him to graduate from the school on the hill so he chose the Bone Plain. The Bone Plain with its three trials, three terrors and three treasures had been thoroughly researched and written about for ages so Phelan didn’t expect any surprises yet the more Phelan digs into the story of the Wandering Bard Nairn, the more he is drawn into the mystery surrounding the Unforgiven.

Phelan is not the only one looking into the old legend, his father Jonah leads expeditions digging up the forgotten, long buried portions of the city when he’s not lost to drink. One of Jonah’s most eager assistants is none other then Princess Beatrice who, to the amusement of her father the king, should be attending to matters of court but prefers discovering lost treasures. One of those treasures is a disk covered in ancient runes which Phelan suspects could hold the key to what happened to Nairn the Unforgiven.

McKillip demonstrates her mastery of fantasy with this smoothly told, finely nuanced tale with fully realized characters. As the Bone Plain works around three sets of three, it follows that there are three main characters. Told from the perspective of the three protagonists the story may seem at bit odd at the start but stay with it as everything begins working together to unravel the runes and mysteries surrounding Nairn.

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