Synopses & Reviews
Modern parables of love, death, and transformation are peppered with melancholy in this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy. Each short story cultivates a whimsical sense of imagination and reveals a mature, darker voice than previously experienced from this legendary author.
In one tale the Angel of Death enjoys newfound celebrity while moonlighting as an anchorman on the network news, while in another the shortsighted ruler of a gentle realm betrays himself in dreaming of a "manageable war." Further storylines include an American librarian who discovers that, much to his surprise and sadness, he is the last living Frenchman, and rivals in a supernatural battle who decide to forgo pistols at dawn, choosing instead to duel with dramatic recitations of terrible poetry.
Featuring several previously unpublished stories alongside a bevy of recently released works, this haunting compilation is appealing to both genre readers and mainstream literature lovers.
"Hugo and Nebula Award-winner Beagle showcases his narrative breadth in this eclectic new collection with nine powerful fantasy tales and a short set of poems based on the famous Unicorn Tapestries. In the title story, one benevolent sibling must somehow stop another from becoming the Angel of Death. 'The Last and Only, or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French' explores the significance of identity as a mild-mannered American librarian irrevocably transforms into the last true Frenchman, while the profoundly moving 'King Pelles the Sure' denounces the insanity of war. The most memorable selection is 'The Stickball Witch,' in which a group of Bronx boys playing stickball come face to face with the suspected witch of their neighborhood. Impressively diverse themes, styles and subject matter make this collection addictive." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Beagle] knows better than any other contemporary fantasist how to tell a tale in the appropriate tone....[W]rite on, Mr. Beagle, write on!" Booklist (starred review)
"[A] perfect little assemblage of oddities, a handful of extremely well-realized sketches with unusual, unpredictable endings....By their nature, short stories have to be economical about plotting and fleet about hooking readers in; this particular set is instantly addictive." The Onion AV Club (Best Books of 2009)
"Characters are drawn with an economy of words into believable, multilayered, and compelling people. While each tale is a beautifully crafted gem, cut and polished to perfection, the title story is the standout." Library Journal
Featuring the Locus Awardwinning novelette, By Moonlight”
The extraordinary stories in this new contemporary fantasy collection show a mature, darker side of the author of The Last Unicorn in modern parables of love, death, and transformation shadowed lightly with melancholy.
The Angel of Death enjoys newfound celebrity while moonlighting as an anchorman on the network news; King Pelles the Sure, the shortsighted ruler of a gentle realm, betrays himself in dreaming of a manageable war”; an American librarian discovers that, much to his surprise and sadness, he is also the last living Frenchman; and rivals in a supernatural battle forgo pistols at dawn, choosing instead to duel with dramatic recitations of terrible poetry.
Featuring previously unpublished stories alongside recently published classics, this is a lovely, haunting, and wholly satisfying read.
About the Author
Peter S. Beagle is the best-selling author of The Last Unicorn, which has sold a reported five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His other novels include A Fine and Private Place, The Innkeepers Song, and Tamsin. His short fiction has been collected in four volumes by Tachyon Publications, including The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche, The Line Between, We Never Talk About My Brother, and Sleight of Hand. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de lImaginaire awards as well as the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.