The Long Search For Bard V

Remember back (way back) to before you could find anything you’d ever seen or heard on the Internet? You know, when you listened to a song on the radio and had to hunt high and low to find the album in a store? Or when you found a new series of books but couldn’t the third one in the series? I first read Keith Taylor’s book Bard when I was a teenager heading on an ill-advised solo camping trip (wearing a rather uncomfortable leather jacket and carrying a tent with holes in the roof and missing pegs.) A number of things went wrong on that trip that resulted in being cold, wet, tired, and huddling in the dark to avoid a group of drunk and stoned teenagers. But from the moment I started reading Bard all of that disappeared and I was transported into a world of music, magic, and swashbuckling. Tailor’s love and depth of knowledge about his subject was remarkable and the chronicles of Felimid Mac Fal soon became some of my favourite stories. So, happy ending to my camping trip, right? Not so fast…

Flash forward a few years and I’d found and read Bard II, III, and IV. It looked like the series was over and though I wasn’t happy about it, I could live with it. But the series wasn’t over–Keith Tailor had written a fifth book! Joy and jubilation! The only problem was that I soon discovered the book was only published in the United Kingdom. Okay, fine, now I have to order from the Brits. No problem – they like Canadians. Unfortunately, the book went out of print too quickly and no one had copies. I couldn’t find any North American library with a copy and it wasn’t feasible to borrow one from across the Atlantic.

The Internet is supposed to fix all these things, isn’t it? Everything accessible all the time? An endless cornucopia of delights waiting to be purchased by anyone with a credit card and a web browser. So I start searching and, sure enough, eventually I find someone’s dog-eared copy of the book available for purchase for only $125. That’s right, they wanted one-hundred-and-twenty-five dollars and shipping. Part of me wanted to buy it anyway, but the thought of rewarding someone’s needless greed (none of the money would have gone to the author) prevented me.

Of course, an obvious solution presented itself: who needs to actually buy and ship a physical book? I mean, that’s so 2010. These days it’s all about the e-book, right? Wrong. None of Keith Taylor’s books are available in digital editions. I actually wrote Mr. Taylor himself and he kindly checked to see if he had a copy around but alas, no luck there either.

A couple of weeks ago, the literary gods finally smiled on me and a copy appeared at a very reasonable of $15 USD plus shipping. The day I came back from my vacation it was right there waiting for me in a Trans-Atlantic shipping envelope. Finally, after all these years I’m reading Bard V and learning the final fate of Felimid Mac Fal. The funny thing is, after all these years, my tastes have changed and it’s not the type of book I’d buy anymore, but there’s something wonderful about searching for a lost book and one day finding it.

Recent Comments

  • Michael Kelsey
    March 19, 2017 - 11:32 am · Reply

    This is a fascinating tale. It is basically my own, except I’m in the Midwest United States, far to the south. And not only can I find Bard V for $125, eBay has it for $315!! And I’m amused that my tastes have changed quite a bit as I’ve aged since the 80’s, but my curiosity and desire to read the conclusion is strong as well. I was searching the Internet to find a way to approach Mr. Taylor, but I guess an intrepid explorer has blazed that trail ahead of me. I hope you are still monitoring this site. This post is from 2013. Please reply to let me know you even got this message, even if you aren’t fond of my proposal, which is:

    Would you let me buy the right to borrow it? Ship it to me and I’ll read it and ship it back?

    I just looked at your site – you’re an author yourself! Please include the first book of your series as well and I’ll add that to the tab. How fun this hunt for a book has become!

      • Michael Kelsey
        April 17, 2017 - 3:53 am · Reply

        Thanks for getting back to me. I got my copy as they were clearing it out of a Library in Liverpool. They sent it over to me in Missouri! Finished it. It was a very fun tale. Lots of references back as stories were retold. It was an enjoyable read. A good book can beat modern modes of storytelling.

  • Matt G. Leger
    March 26, 2018 - 7:12 am · Reply

    Thank you very much for your wonderful news! I was under the impression that Mr. Taylor had died some while back; you have no idea how thrilled I am in being proved wrong. And he is not only reprinting the first five books in what has long been one of my favorite fantasy series, but is working on a sixth? Oh, joy! Rapture! Can’t wait to get my hands on BARD V and VI! Bless you, sir.

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