fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPeter S. Beagle Return: An Innkeeper's World StoryReturn: An Innkeeper’s World Story by Peter S. Beagle

Return: An Innkeeper’s World Story was my first Peter S. Beagle read, but it certainly won’t be my last. I’ve just put his The Innkeeper’s Song on my TBR list.

Return is a slim novella (only 104 pages) which tells the story of Soukyan’s return to that place where he was raised and from which he’s been running for years. He’s ready to put an end to those who’ve been hunting him, but he’ll have to face them, and the strange power behind them, before he can be free.

Peter S. Beagle writes lively clear prose that’s passionate, beautiful, smart, and occasionally dryly humorous. His plot is purposeful and tight with a hint of mystery and horror. Beagle’s characters are intelligent and full of life — even those who are referred to but not seen (I can’t wait to meet Lal in The Innkeeper’s Song).

Return: An Innkeeper’s World Story is exactly my kind of story except that it’s much too short. I am eager to read more in this world, and more Peter Beagle in general!

By the way, this is the third novella that I’ve received from Subterranean Press this year that has introduced me to a new (for me) author who I’m now expecting to become one of my favorite writers. Sub Press is putting out wonderfully unique titles that are especially appealing to those of us who love excellent fantasy literature. This is not mass market printing, so it’s not sold at mass market prices, but Sub Press publishes unique high-quality literary works which often include gorgeous cover and interior art. It’s even a joy to get their newsletter in my email inbox because it usually features at least one lovely painting. You can sign up for the newsletter and take a look at their catalog at the Subterranean Press website.

Return: An Innkeeper’s World Story — (2010) Publisher: 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…


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.