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Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff
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Sing the Four Quarters (original 1994; edition 1994)

by Tanya Huff (Author)

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1,0071717,668 (3.81)32
The Bards of Shkoder hold the country together. They, and the elemental spirits they Sing - earth, air, fire, and water - bring the news of the sea to the mountains, news of the mountains to the plains. They give their people, from peasant to king, a song in common. Annice is a rare talent, able to Sing all four quarters, but her brother, the newly enthroned King Theron, sees her request to study at the Bardic Hall as a betrayal. To his surprise, Annice accepts his conditions, renouncing her royal blood and swearing to remain childless so as not to jeopardize the line of succession. She walks away from political responsibilities, royal privilege and her family. Ten years later, Annice has become the Princess Bard and her real life is about to become the exact opposite of the overwrought ballad her fellow students at the Bardic Hall wrote about her. Now, she's on the run from the Royal Guards with the Duc of Ohrid, the father of her unborn child, both of them guilty of treason - one of them unjustly accused. To save the Duc's life, they'll have to cross the country, manage to keep from strangling each other, and defeat an enemy too damaged for even a Bard's song to reach.… (more)
Member:alynnelorenz
Title:Sing the Four Quarters
Authors:Tanya Huff (Author)
Info:DAW (1994), Edition: Reissue, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
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Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff (1994)

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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
A good fun less-fluff-than-I-expected read. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
Really liked this book, will definitely be reading the rest of the series. Interesting magic system, normalized queer relationships, drama, a dose of chaos. ( )
1 vote emeraldreverie | Nov 15, 2018 |
Really liked this book, except the free-loving swingers aspect (where the heroine has a lady lover, but the book is focused around the development of a romantic relationship between her and a man - what?) kind of threw me off. Will assuredly read the others in the series, in time. Wasn't good enough to launch me directly at the next one though. Found myself sort of waiting for it to be over at the end. ( )
  ElleyOtter | Nov 28, 2017 |
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Strong world-building - the bards in this world sing to the kigh. Kigh are best described as elemental spirits who will help the bards in return for the song. While many people and cultures value the kigh and what they can do, others regard them with fear and superstition. This leads to some interesting conflicts - and some logical plot points that are wonderfully obvious in retrospect when both you and the characters realise at the same point that you should have spotted it sooner. (I like writers who can do that to me)

The characters are well developed. I was particularly pleased when one character, whom I'd thought to be a bit one-dimensional and cliched, turned out to be nothing of the sort. I'd been viewing him through the eyes of a character who had her own prejudices. (With many writers, the protagonist would automatically be correct in their assessment, so again, I regarded this as good writing.

This book is also unusual in that there are several gay/lesbian couples and their relationship is simply part of who they are. It isn't essential to the plot. There isn't a romance (love, yes, romance no). Simply people with different sexual identities living normal lives in a culture that has no issues on this subject.

I got the first book in the series free. I'm now off to buy the second book and look forward to buying more by this author. ( )
  JudithProctor | Aug 25, 2017 |
Still one of the best fantasy writers I have ever come across. This book is a classic ( )
  arelenriel | Jun 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tanya Huffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Daniel,
whose timing couldn't have been better.

And for his mother, who shared.
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"Was it something I said?" The inkeeper laughed as the young woman continued her headlong dash out of the door, ignoring him completely.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Bards of Shkoder hold the country together. They, and the elemental spirits they Sing - earth, air, fire, and water - bring the news of the sea to the mountains, news of the mountains to the plains. They give their people, from peasant to king, a song in common. Annice is a rare talent, able to Sing all four quarters, but her brother, the newly enthroned King Theron, sees her request to study at the Bardic Hall as a betrayal. To his surprise, Annice accepts his conditions, renouncing her royal blood and swearing to remain childless so as not to jeopardize the line of succession. She walks away from political responsibilities, royal privilege and her family. Ten years later, Annice has become the Princess Bard and her real life is about to become the exact opposite of the overwrought ballad her fellow students at the Bardic Hall wrote about her. Now, she's on the run from the Royal Guards with the Duc of Ohrid, the father of her unborn child, both of them guilty of treason - one of them unjustly accused. To save the Duc's life, they'll have to cross the country, manage to keep from strangling each other, and defeat an enemy too damaged for even a Bard's song to reach.

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TO CALL THE KIGH - was the height of Bard's magic. Only those born with the gift could learn to Sing these spirits of earth, air, fire and water into doing their bidding, and even someone as gifted as the Princess Annice must spend years studying at the Bardic Hall to truly master the art. And for Annice, one of those rare talents able to Sing the elemental spirits from each of the four quarters, the call of magic was too strong to be denied, even if it meant renouncing her royal blood and privileges.

But Annice might have made a different choice if she could have foreseen that ten years after she'd transferred her life and loyalties from the royal palace to the Bardic Hall, she'd find herself fleeing from the King's Guards. For Annice was twice guilty of treason, first for imperiling the order of succession by becoming pregnant, and second for aiding the father of her unborn child, the Duc of Ohrid, to escape the palace dungeons and the sentence of death hanging over his head.

Now the fugitives' only hope lay in tracking down and bringing to justice the enemy who'd masterminded the Duc's downfall, a dangerous foe who had found a way to tie lies and truth together into a knot even the most powerful of Bardic spells could not unravel...
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