The Ballad of Sprikit the Bard (And Company), by Seán O'Boyle

20 Mar 2024

The Book

The Ballad of Sprikit the Bard (And Company)
Pages: 478
Age Group: Adult
Published on 15 Mar 2024
Publisher: Self-Published
Available on:


The Free Lands; a far off fantastical world full of noble warriors, gallant heroes and gentle souls. Sprikit The Bard is precisely none of these things. However he’s not without his own unique qualities. He enjoys the simple things in life; song, merriment and (mostly) victimless swindles.

But this little Bard carries a secret. He has a mission to do, a promise to keep, as an elite force seeks to intercept him. The journey ahead is long and dangerous with hurdles aplenty; monstrous creatures, dastardly villains, laborious hikes and most of all - Sprikit himself

.But he’s not without allies, reluctant and disdainful as they are. Help is help at the end of the day, and By the Notes does he need it. The clock is ticking. The cavalry is coming. And Sprikit The Bard doesn’t know his arse from his elbow.

Bards love to tell tales of adventures, but will Sprikit last long enough to recount his own?  

My Review

The Ballad of Sprikit the Bard (and Company) is a fun and adventurous fantasy novel written by Seán O'Boyle. In the Free Lands, Sprikit, a small Bard, is trying to keep a promise, a journey carrying a lute that an elite force wants to recover it from him, but surviving to the task will be proven to be trickier than expected; but if wild travels have a thing is the ability to create strange groups.

Comparing your book to Discworld is accepting that you are trying to fill really big shoes, but honestly, in the case of O'Boyle, has passed the test with an excellent mark; while you can see there are crazy things in the Free Lands, those are part of what makes them unique, and they are accepted by all the characters, which are another of the strengths of this author.

Not only Sprikit is a danger for everybody (but most of the time for himself), but the group that ends accompanying him is also a delicious chaos, as they slowly grow into the reader, being both amazing: the Brute who levels up wisdom, and Tallew, who might like too much fighting; my only gripe in this aspect might be on the main villain, as it lands on the cartoonish side, in contrast with the rest of the cast.

As previously mentioned, the Free Lands are a quite quirky and interesting setting, partly inspired by classic fantasy elements and D&D, but with its own lore and history, which is smoothly introduced, avoiding info-dumpings, making it a natural part of the storytelling (and there is not better storyteller for this that our own Bard).
The pacing is really adequate for this kind of story, structuring the whole book in some sort of smaller encounters/situations that tied together creates the metaphorical campaign we are reading.

If you are looking for a book that will make you feel like reading a new Discworld, definitely give a try to The Ballad of Sprikit the Bard (And Company); O'Boyle has nailed his debut, and I can't wait to see him writing more books like this one in the future!

The Author/s

Seán O'Boyle

Seán O'Boyle

Sean O'Boyle is an Irish, London-based, writer on his self-publishing journey. Since he was a young lad, he's loved creating stories; whether scribbling short fiction in his school copybooks, or creating dramatic home movies with his toys. He's even dabbled in the fine art of stand up comedy, with about half a dozen sitcom scripts rotting in the forgotten folders of his old laptops.

His love for fantasy grew during lockdown through reading the genre; epic, cozy and everything in between. And from this, his fantasy comedy adventure debut "The Ballad of Sprikit The Bard (And Company)" was born. Described as "Discworld meets Lies of Locke Lamora", he hopes readers will enjoy the characters, world and story he's been building for 3 years. Hopefully they might laugh too (or at least exhale sharply through their noses a few times).