Bards: The Unsung Heroes of Fantasy

You may be familiar with the term bard, especially in reference to Shakespeare. According to Google, a bard is a poet, traditionally one reciting epics and associated with a particular oral tradition. (Think Jaskier from The Witcher series.)

The Last Wish

Bards are also a playable class in Dungeons & Dragons. But they also exist in fantasy novels. Sometimes they are the protagonist, sometimes they just help move the story along, but they are always fun.


Jonathan-Thomas Meriweather, a graduate student, part-time janitor, and would-be rock guitarist, is transported to a fantastical world, populated by sentient animals, to help the tortoise wizard Clothahump defeat the evil raiders that destroyed the town of Pelligrew, in the first volume in the classic fantasy series.

Kill the Farm Boy

While on a mission to stop LOCHER and figure out the conundrum of The Chosen One, Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bard, and Grinda the Sand Witch are joined by two others who have their own evil agendas.

The Bards of Bone Plain

Phelan Cle never wanted to be a bard—that's his decidedly unmusical father's ambition for him—but now that he's about to graduate from Bardic School at Caerau, he's determined to make it easy on himself. He chooses what should be a straight-forward thesis topic: Bone Plain, where legend says all poetry originated, where Nairn the Wanderer, the Fool, the Cursed, the Unforgiven, one of the greatest bards in history, failed the mysterious Three Trials and disappeared forever. History surrounds the school and the nearby standing stones, where archaeologist Princess Beatrice digs up an unusual artifact that may hold the key to the mysteries of Bone Plain.


In a desperate attempt to revive the memory of a land banished from existence and to restore freedom to a battered world, a wandering musician and his small band of compatriots traverse a countryside bowed under the weight of its sorcerer-conquerors. The author of The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy creates a brilliant single-volume epic fantasy, rich in intrigue and subtlety. Memorable characters and cultures add depth to a gracefully plotted story.

The Warded Man

As in any other preindustrial agrarian society, the people of Tibbet's Brook tend farms, pursue crafts and trade, and raise families in the usual human fashion—until sunset, when they must take shelter in buildings protected by magical "wards." For in the darkness of night, demons stalk the countryside, ripping any unprotected human being into bloody shreds. Brett ably blends fantasy and horror in this arresting first novel, the launch of a planned series. The nightly horrors of his imagined world are disquietingly convincing, as is the way that a disheartened and dwindling human race has come to accept them passively. Three young characters, a farmer's son, a herbalist, and an apprentice bard, come of age in this demon-haunted world; their actions may eventually change the world but only at a terrible physical and spiritual cost. An imaginative and exciting tale; recommended where there is interest in epic fantasy or horror.

Curse of the Mistwraith

For more than five-hundred years, the Mistwraith has darkened the world of Athera. Where once were fields, flowers, and unicorns, there now are bareness, poverty, and desperation. The curse can be lifted only by the combined powers of two half-brothers who have been raised apart as enemies. Blond Lysaer, who grew up in the castle, is a born diplomat with a strong sense of justice and latent powers of light. Dark-haired Arithon, called the Master of Shadows, is skilled in music and magic and possesses an overwhelming empathy for all living things. When the two are thrown together in exile, an uneasy bond begins to form between them, and under the guidance of the Fellowship of Sorcerers, they work toward lifting the bane. But the Mistwraith fights back by twisting their talents and turning them against each other, plunging the kingdom into a bloody conflict. Strongly sympathetic characters and a well-conceived setting will hook readers of epic fantasy.

The Ruins of Ambrai

Torn apart in childhood by the intrigues and machinations of their elders, three Mageborn sisters take their stands against one another on opposing sides of a conflict between two powerful schools of magic.

And to further get you in the right mood, here's a playlist from the band Bardcore. They take popular current songs and rework them to sound medieval.