The novel is mislabeled as book three in the series. It is actually the fourth book, following "A Cast of Corbies" and making references back to that novel. It is also incorrectly titled (Nightingale should be singular). The Gypsy Free Bard Nightingale is sent from Kingsford to Lyonarie to carry out an investigation of the problems in the kingdom. Hasperus and T'fyrr (from book one, "The Lark and the Wren") are reintroduced. The story switches back and forth between T'fyrr and Nightingale, and eventually brings them together. The love affair between them is well written without being pornographic. Nightingale assumes a dual personality that takes her into both the lower servants' kitchen and the king's private apartment at the palace. She and T'fyrr become involved in court intrigue that places their lives in danger, but they have an assortment of allies. Events reach a climax as the main villain is exposed, but the novel somehow seems to lack an afterword. T'fyrr reappears in "Four and Twenty Blackbirds," but Nightingale seems to fade away after this novel. Some reviewers have placed the following book, "Four and Twenty Blackbirds," in the Free Bard series. While it uses some of the same characters and settings, that book is really not about the Free Bards.