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Innkeeper Song [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter Beagle
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 21 1994
Searching for his lover in a shadowy, magic world, young Tikat meets three mysterious cloaked women, whose quest involves saving their mentor, a once-powerful wizard, from losing his magic to a treacherous enemy. Reprint.

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Product Description

From Amazon

In this Locus Award-winning novel, young Tikat enters a shadow world of magic and mystery as he searches for the lover whose death and resurrection he witnessed. It's a wild ride that sets him on the trail of three cloaked women who are on a mission of their own.

"A beautifully written tale of love and loss, set in a world of hard-edged magic." --The New York Times Book Review

" A wonderfully astonishing novel... a tour de force." --Washington Post Book World

From Library Journal

Three powerful women (each with her own secret past), a stable boy, a weaver's son, and an innkeeper set in motion a series of events that brings each of them face to face with the forces of magic and the workings of fate. Beagle ( The Last Unicorn , LJ 5/15/68; The Folk of the Air , Ballantine, 1987) uses many voices to tell this tale of love and death and what lies beyond both. A finely crafted piece as well as a rich, evocative fantasy, this novel should have broad appeal.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heretical take on Peter S Beagle Nov. 29 2003
I kept hearing about Peter S Beagle, so I kept trying his books. I read about half of "The Last Unicorn", and couldn't be bothered to finish it. I read "A Fine and Private Place", and it was OK - well written and unusual, but that's as far as I would go. Then I read "The Folk of the Air" and I thought: what is a writer this good, doing writing a book like that? Is it a famous author, writing a "genre" book under a pseudonym, or what?
And then I read "The Inkeeper's Song" and I fell hopelessly, shamelessly in love with it. Never mind the obligatory supernatural climax, which thankfully does not end the book. Never mind some quibbles about plot mechanics. The book is populated by compellingly vivid characters, who by the end become utterly real people, living in a real world. This is writing of a quality verging on magical, which leaves one with the lasting impression of knowing the book's characters in all their quirky, individual humanity - and caring for them!
So, ignore those who say that "The Inkeeper's Song" is not up to Beagle's best standard. It IS Beagle's best standard! Just don't read it in the "quick - what happens next?" frame of mind. Read it, and get to know Rosseth, Neyteneri, Lal (Swordcane Lal, Saylor Lal, Lal Alone, Lal After Dark) and all the others. It is worth it. Believe me it is worth it! And I don't rave easily.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A vivid, bittersweet dream ... but of what? Jan. 20 2003
Format:Library Binding
The Innkeeper's Song is a one-volume fantasy for mature readers that is by turns (or even simultaneously) lyrical and maddening. Lyrical because much of its language is, in contemporary fantasy, on par with only Patricia McKillip and Guy Gavriel Kay. Maddening because--despite the full-throttle beginning, intricately woven characters and a world made wondrous without a map or long descriptions but simply by names and prosaic brushstrokes--the promise of the beginning and middle absolutely fizzles to a all-but-incomprehensible anti-climax in which none of the characters' skills, virtues or flaws seem to matter. It's the equivalent of dreaming oneself into a world of rich and dread beauty, flying over that world so freely as to go beyond dreaming entirely ... and then being slapped awake to find oneself flailing at the air and wondering, "What might have been ..."
The tale concerns three women who arrive at an inn in the course of their quest to protect their ancient magician-friend from a renegade apprentice so that he might die in peace and not rise as a tormented ghost. The three are a warrior-nun who has escaped her convent; a legendary thief-sailor-swordsman; and a village girl whom the thief raised from a drowning death with the magician's ring. Added to these memorable figures are the earnest stable-boy; the gruff innkeeper; the nun's companion (a fox); and the stubborn boy who was betrothed to the village girl and follows her in the hope of reclaiming their lost love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An improper death and its consequences Jan. 8 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
According to the Peter S. Beagle fan-site, the author composed a song of the Innkeeper, before he wrote a book from his song---rather like Samuel Taylor Coleridge writing a fantasy novel about Xanadu, years after he had composed his poem of like name:
"...A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!"
The "Innkeeper's" world is also savage and enchanted, and haunted by a weaver wailing for his drowned lover. Not only does he wail; Tikat, the weaver's apprentice seeks after his lover when a wizard raises her from the bottom of the river and steals her away.
Although many readers may know and love Beagle's fantasy "The Last Unicorn," few of them probably know that he also writes songs. To the inn,
"There came three ladies at sundown: /one was as brown as bread is brown, /one was black, with a sailor's sway, /and one was pale as the moon by day."
I wish I could hum the tune for you.
This book reminds me of the author's "A Fine and Private Place," as both are about the dead who refuse to die, or are not allowed to stay dead because of love or other unfinished business.
"Innkeeper" is told from numerous points of view---something I don't normally like--- but Beagle consummately weaves his characters' stories together into a single time and place. His tapestry is almost complete by the time three women come to stay at an inn called 'The Gaff and Slasher.' We learn of the already-woven pattern through flashbacks and dialogue.
The innkeeper, Karsh knows that the three women are going to cause trouble:
"The white one wore an emerald ring, /the brown led a fox on a silver string, /and the black one carried a rosewood cane /with a sword inside, for I saw it plain.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Elegant Fantasy Which Transcends Genre July 22 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Beagle is one of the finest fantasy novelists currently writing, and for those who hunger for mature and literate stories his work appears far too infrequently. As in "The Last Unicorn" or "The Folk Of The Air", his writing rises far beyond the typical trappings of sword & sorcery. In "The Innkeeper's Song", Beagle starts us off with what appear to be recognizeable fantasy cliches - the old wizard, hard-bitten mercenaries, the crotchety taverner - and then stands each of them on their heads. Instead, Beagle weaves a subtle, intricate tale of deception, loyalty, and love, in which the characters having the adventure are at least as important as the adventure itself. By writing each chapter from the first-person perspective of a different character, he not only underscores differences in perception, but takes the reader deep inside each of his literary creations. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would be nothing but an annoying gimmick. But under Beagle's masterful guidance, it serves to make these characters living, breathing people. From hard, competent swordswoman Lal, to the dreamy stableboy Rosseth, to fat, cynical innkeeper Karsh, the reader comes to know them like old friends. A marvelous story which will linger in the mind long after the last page is read.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One for real-story lovers
This is my favorite book by Beagle. It creates a perfect world of its own, with real characters and some very strange and disturbing things in it. Read more
Published on March 24 2002 by RHJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Beagle is the best, and he just gets better and better.
Beagle is the best, and he just gets better and better. This is the third time I've gead this book, and I can't praise it highly enough. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2002 by Tom Mula
1.0 out of 5 stars Not all that much to say.
There really isn't. This book just plain didn't grab me. The characters didn't interest me, and most of the plot twists came out of nowhere. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2001 by Tabbyclaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird, troubling, touching, beautiful, unforgettable
Peter Beagle has a reputation as a young adult's author -- why, I'll never know. I didn't much like him as a teenager, but the older I get, the more I admire and enjoy his... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2001 by Pauline J. Alama
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird, troubling, touching, beautiful, unforgettable
Peter Beagle has a reputation as a young adult's author -- why, I'll never know. I didn't much like him as a teenager, but the older I get, the more I admire and enjoy his... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2001 by Pauline J. Alama
5.0 out of 5 stars opened book,feel in love
this is a truly wonderful story. The people are faye and misty,the story enchanting. I loved the fox,he is a fox,a wizard and something even he doesn't know he is. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2001 by Rodney D. Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique fantasy book left me wanting to read more
Any book that ends leaving me wanting to know more, to follow the characters through more adventures, to find out what happens to each of them next, immediately gets 4-5 stars from... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2000 by R. Rosenkranz
1.0 out of 5 stars What a mess...
Where to begin? The gimmick of each chapter being told by a different narrator is just that- a gimmick... Read more
Published on July 26 2000 by "dearmad"
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Beagle's Best
I'm in agreement with several other reviewers of "The Innkeeper's Song." Without a doubt, Peter S. Read more
Published on June 7 2000 by S. O'Connor
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A couple of surprises, a dark little love story, plenty of magic, and first person narrative with multiple narrators. How could this book not be fun? Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2000 by P. Ortman
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