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Every adventure has a beginning and every truly great adventure has an ending.
In 1993 Peter S. Beagle, author of the beloved classic, The Last Unicorn, took an old song lyric of his and spun it into the Locus Award-winning fantasy The Innkeeper's Song, an enchanting tale of three powerful women, each with a secret past, a stable boy, and an innkeeper who set in motion a series of events that bring them face to face with the forces of magic and the workings of fate.
Four years later Beagle took us back to their world in the World Fantasy Award nominated story collection, Giant Bones, and in the novella 'Lal and Soukyan' continued the adventures of two of his most-loved characters. In the decade that followed, Beagle touched on their world in powerful stories like 'Quarry,' 'Chandail,' 'Barrens Dance,' and 'What Tune the Enchantress Plays.'
Now, after a hiatus of six years, he comes back to the story of Soukyan (once known as Nyateneri) in Return. Return is a major new fantasy novella in which Soukyan turns to face the evil he has fled for most of his adult life, finally confronting the powerful forces that both made him and that have tried so tirelessly to destroy him. The end of the adventure is nearly here....
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Beagle's novella, set in the world of 1991's The Innkeeper's Song, is an intimate take on the relatively common fantasy conceit of a powerful band of recluses. Following an encounter with three assassins, the wanderer Soukyan decides it is time to return to the monastery from which he had long ago escaped and take revenge on those who sent the killers. Beagle hints that Soukyan's world stretches far and wide but mostly focuses on a small area where various organizations have institutionalized murder and torture. Thoughtful, well-rounded characters make an intriguing contrast to scenes of bloody brutality. Readers familiar with The Innkeeper's Song will love this tie-in, while newcomers will both enjoy the tight focus and find plenty of incentive to seek out related works that further explore this complex, fully realized setting.
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Beagle returns to the world of his acclaimed The Innkeeper’s Song (1993) with this novel of Soukyan, the wandering fugitive from the Hunters. When their latest attack takes an unusual shape, it arouses Soukyan’s curiosity to the point of returning to the weird and sinister monastery where she was raised. Her disguise is quickly penetrated, and a gaggle of mad monks prepares to sacrifice her to the Hunter’s Tree, where Hunters grow like peapods. This is the secret of the monastery, an inexhaustible supply of assassins. Soukyan’s death is to revive the dying tree, but instead she brings it to a fiery end before fleeing. The quality of Beagle’s prose, characterization, and world building (without the aid of maps or glossaries) is as superlative as ever, and he manages to compress a full-fledged story into an amazingly small space. Masterpieces, let all take note, do not have to be lifted with both hands. --Roland Green
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Book Description Subterranean, 2010. Condition: New. Maurizio Manzieri (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M1596063092