cover image MAD MAUDLIN


Mercedes Lackey, . . Baen, $25 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-7143-5

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. (Aug.)