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The Innkeeper's Song (Innkeeper's World #1)

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,652 ratings  ·  120 reviews
This New York Times Notable Book is the captivating tale of one man's quest to capture the ghost of his dead lover. His odyssey draws him into the lives of three magical women on horseback with a dangerous quest of their own. A dazzling fantasy of love and death, lust and betrayal, from the beloved author of The Last Unicorn.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Turtleback Books (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard
A plot summary of this book might go something like this: A wizard and his former students fight against another former student who has traded his life to the darkness for power. It would be accurate, but totally misleading. So what was the book really about? Stories. Singing. Love. Hate. Obligations. Responsibilities. Death. Rebirth. Redemption....

If I had to describe The Innkeeper's Song in a word, it would be this--chewy. Some books are like milkshakes. You just drink them down easily and go
...more
Aoife
Honestly: I'm not quite sure how to sum up my feelings for this books...or just say anything about it. I found it awesome. I also think many people might find it terribly dull, which I somehow also understand but I still think it's awesome.
Well what's it about? There is a boy who sets out to save his true love (turns out she doesn't want to be rescued), there are two very beautiful and very misterious women, one of which has a name that reads like someone's been sick over a scrabble-board (it ju
...more
Ана Хелс


Една магична история, изпълзяла изпод кълба непрогледна мъгла, водена от мелодия отвъд живота , водеща към дълбините на смъртта , и по-далече...

Всичко започва в едно пасторално селце, дало ненавременна жертва - половинка на огромна любов. Писъкът на болката привлича своите и чуждите, един недовършен дух изпълзява изпод дверите на тъмнината, и тръгва на пътешествие без смисъл, с неясен спътник без минало и преследвач идващ точно от отминалите дни. Странните пътешественици се увеличават, и намира
...more
Kalin
Из предговора:

А сега (...) правя крачка встрани и поглеждам самата „Песен“. Защо е важна тази книга за човека Калин, за мечтите му какво да включва „Човешката библиотека“. По какво се отличава тя от другите книги, които познавам.

Ами например:

В целия роман ще срещнете всичко на всичко двайсет герои. Въпреки това ще ги помните по-дълго от стотиците в епичните десеттомници. Седмици след като ги изпратите към следващите им пътешествия, гласовете им ще ви съпровождат във вашите.

В „Песента“ няма ни ед
...more
Rosemary
One of those amazing experiences that come along every now and again was hearing Peter Beagle read from scraps of this book before it was published. And when it was published, what a novel! Nobody has ever kept so many point of view characters dancing in such an elaborate and intricate tale, with it all ending as it should, something only a true master of the art could pull off.
Michelle Wardhaugh
This was one of those "something to think about" books. Crossroads, change, endings and beginnings. The infamous bedroom scene actually grounded the story in a way that was necessary with all of the wizards' battles and heroes' adventures. It wasn't really a story about wizards and heroes even though many of the characters fit into those catagories. Like The Book of Atrix Wolfe, there's a strong element here of common people mixing in with wonder and a conscious and unconscious search for identi ...more
Steven
Because Goodreads doesn't allow a half star, I'm placing this one at three stars, though I think it's more like 3 1/2.

I am a big Peter Beagle fan, but this book just didn't hit the mark for me. He tells it from the perspectives of at least 6 different characters, and there just wasn't enough difference in some of the voices to keep me from getting confused. Also, the one thing Beagle does best in some of his other works is create a world that draws you in. I never got that here until just about
...more
Jessica
I've loved The Last Unicorn for years, but never read another Peter S. Beagle book - till now. I enjoyed this story, but it's a very different book from The Last Unicorn, though both deal with wizards and magic and quests.

The Innkeeper's Song has at its heart the intersection of many lives and quests - a young boy who watches his lover drown in a river, only to be resurrected by a mysterious woman; that mysterious woman and her traveling companion, both past students of a powerful wizard; the s
...more
Sarah Cook
i read Giant Bones quite a few years ago and loved it. for those unfamiliar, Giant Bones is a collection of short stories. why i mention it here.. at least two of the characters in The Innkeeper's Song are in the book Giant Bones as well. Lal and Soukyan - i immediately fell in love with the old warriors in that book and started wondering if they appeared elsewhere in one of Mr. Beagle's novels. when i discovered The Innkeeper's Song, i was THRILLED to pieces. it was like being reintroduced to a ...more
Tim
I quite enjoyed the shifting perspectives of this book -- for some reason, though, I wanted every chapter from a new person's point of view. (Perhaps this was because the initial discovery of each character's distinct persona through a first-person lens was so exciting and entrancing, I just wanted that to keep going!)

Once I adjusted to that, and what all was going on plot-wise, it became a somewhat more introspective, at times almost mystical, fantasy. More creative than most, I dare say (this
...more
Chelsea
To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, so focusing on reading has been really difficult, and this is exactly the kind of book where you have to take your time and really pay attention to what you’re reading. So I’m not sure which parts of it were hard to get through because of me, and which parts were hard to get through because of the story. That said, while I have a couple of other criticisms, this is the bulk of it for me. I’m biased, obviously, because Peter S. Beagle is ...more
Tim
After reading Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn," which I thought of as a reflection on beauty in the form of a fairytale, I picked up "The Innkeeper's Song," which turns out to be more in keeping with what I think of as fantasy. I'm always amazed at the creativity and imagination of authors who do fantasy well. This book is remarkably impressive in this way. Beagle's plot unfolds chapter by chapter from the perspectives of different characters, which is a cool way of giving us insight into the c ...more
Althea Ann
Like several million people, I read 'The Last Unicorn' when it was the big thing (probably around when the movie came out; not when it was first published - I'm not THAT old) - still, it was years ago, I don't remember it that clearly, but it just didn't really strike me for whatever reason. Since then, Beagle's writing hasn't really been on my radar - but I'm going to have to change that.

I got this book after reading Beagle's short story 'Chandail' in the anthology 'Salon Fantastique,' and lovi
...more
Carol March
I've been a fan of Peter Beagle's literary fantasies since A Fine and Private Place and The Last Unicorn. The Innkeeper's Song is set firmly in the same tradition, but with a more complex and mature sensibility.

The language is simple yet beautiful, evocative and piercing in its lyricism. The characters may seem like the stock fantasy tropes, but we soon realize that this is an entirely different take on the wizard, the swordsperson, the lovesick boy, even the fox, one of the most engaging shapes
...more
Mary
A fantasy book for those that don't particularly like fantasy (like me). Beagle, also a songwriter, actually wrote the song (excerpted below) and then several years later, he wrote this book because he wanted "to find out what the hell the song was really about."

"There came three ladies at sundown:
one was brown as bread is brown,
one was black, with a sailor's sway,
and one was pale as the moon by day.

The white one wore an emerald ring,
the brown led a fox on a silver string,
and the black one carr
...more
Jacqui Talbot
When three strange women (one black, one brown, one white) arrive at a wayside inn called The Gaff and Slasher, Karsh, the innkeeper, takes them in against his better judgment. Two of the women—Lal and Nyateneri—are searching for their former mentor, a powerful magician who has summoned them to save him from destruction and worse at the hands of his most powerful pupil, Arshadin. The third, Lukassa, is a village girl whom Lal resurrected after she drowned and whose childhood love, Tikat, pursues ...more
Diane
I loved some of this author's other work, and an online review of this book seemed to strike the right chord. So I ordered a copy, and it is now one of my favorite books. But it didn't start out that way.

It was a bit difficult at first to get used to the rotating points of view, and I wondered if this book was a single, coherent story, or a collection of loosely related tales. Anyway, I got discouraged with this book and I set it down. I'm sorry to say, I set it down for months.

Then one day I p
...more
Evangeline
Well Peter S. Beagle is officially the bomb. I really liked his writing style in The Last Unicorn, but it was such a wacky book I had a hard time deciding what I thought about it. The Inkeeper's Song is a bit more straightforward (though I don't think "straightforward" is a very accurate descriptor for anything related to Peter Beagle ever) and his writing really shines. The characters are all really interesting and compelling, and the structure of the book is a lot of fun -- each chapter is tol ...more
Brian Bergstrom
Aug 09, 2011 Brian Bergstrom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beagle fans
If you're thinking about reading this book, lemme tell you something. It's amazing. Peter S. Beagle has created the simplest world with very little, yet it amazes me how thought provoking this fantasy is. It's the story of 3 women and the mischief they cause an innkeeper. Yes, it has wizards and magic and all that cliche fantasy stuff, but Beagle has something very few authors have in this genre. Wit and humor. His style of writing is so unique. It's told through POVs. Now if you're thinking Mar ...more
Michael Conrad
I was brought to this book by a song. The German progressive metal band Blind Guardian, which is one of my favorites, wrote a song called Road of No Release and I could not stop listening to it. I looked up the lyrics, which is habit for me when it comes to music, and saw that almost every verse was a telling of a character. So I had HAD to see what story they were from and found this book and knew it was a must read.

I'm glad I did read this and would recommend it but only to those who like both
...more
Emlen
Man, I forgot how much I miss reading genre fantasy novels; between about 15 and 23 years ago I was devouring books like this by the truckload, largely without regard for quality; and now I think I may be getting drawn in again, to the extent that I have the free time.

I picked up this book in particular, of course, because I loved The Last Unicorn, which I first read long ago. There are a lot of similarities -- the charming, hopeless young loves, the strange amnesiac woman, the joking wizard --
...more
J.L. Aarne
The writing is wonderful, as he's a great writer, but I have mixed feelings about this book as a whole. It feels a lot like it's a sequel to something. The way the characters are presented suggests that there is a story or book out there that came before and would introduce you to the characters. As it is, I was left feeling like I came into it in the middle of the story and didn't ever feel like I really knew the characters or that they were fully developed. I think the author must have done th ...more
Adobe
The consequences of three strange women stopping at an inn are recounted, in alternating chapters, by Lal, a sailor and swordswoman searching for her old mentor; by Lukassa, inadvertently raised from the dead by Lal; by Nyateneri, a woman being chased by assassins; by Tikat, chasing his lover Lukassa; by Rosseth, the worshipful stable boy; by the Fox, Nyateneri's mysterious shape-changing companion; by Karsh, the bitterly singing innkeeper himself; and by the other curious inhabitants of Karsh's ...more
Rebecca
This was another reread, but that didn't make it any less amazing.

After the Last Unicorn screening, and getting to meet Peter Beagle, I was craving his writing, and I hadn't read this book since I first bought it (as a hardcover, as soon as it was published), so I picked it back up and dove in.

I love this book. Not surprising; I have yet to find anything by Peter Beagle that I don't. But this book is a bit different from his usual fare. It's slow and dreamy and lyrical and a bit more serious, an
...more
Avatonqp
4.5 stars

Mr Peter S. Beagle writes in a unique way that makes you want to live inside his book.(I'm looking forward to read more of his books) He has that rare talent, transforming words into living worlds...

The story unfolds through narration (POV) of several characters in a poetic but simple way. I loved every single chapter-line, except the Fox one. It's not my cup of tea.

After reading about 200 pages, i was so confident that Innkeeper's Song was going to be another addition to my 6-stars she
...more
Morwen
Ahhh, was für ein Buch! Wenn ich könnte, würde ich jetzt einen tiefen Sufzer des Behagens ausstoßen, wie wenn man gerade einen Becher Wein abgesetzt hat, tiefrot mit geheimnisvollen Reflexen nach Blut und Tod und Liebe, mit Gerüchen nach fernen Ländern, heißen Sommernd, staubigen Strassen und gemütlichen Gasthäusern an einsamen Starssenkreuzungen, mit einer Vielzahl an Geschmäcken, erdig, fruchtig schmeichelnd aber auch etwas metallisch-schneidend, aber bei aller Komplexität trotzdem rund und wi ...more
Magali
I think I remember reading somewhere that this is Peter Beagle's favorite book that he's written. I don't know if I agree, but he is certainly in his element here, juggling nearly a dozen narrators and voices and plot threads and weaving them into a tapestry so magical that I suspect it could fly.

I saw elements of many of his other works here (most notably, Lukassa feels like a strange homage to Amalthea), but this story belongs only to itself. And is predictably full of the same agonizingly bea
...more
Kaloyan Zahariev
Не знам защо, но започнах да чета книгата с идеята, че ще се разочаровам от нея. Бийгъл ми е напълно непознат като автор, а зад издаването на романа не стои мощно издателство, а група ентусиасти. Започнах я... и я оставих за доста дълго време на първите няколко страници. После обаче се върнах към нея гонен от ужасния си навик да не оставян недочетена книга... и се изумих по един прекрасен начин.
Книгата е някак особено по един наистина хубав начин, въпреки че самата история е почти обикновена. В
...more
Helen
I think I prefer Beagle's urban fantasy and short stories more than the straight other world fantasy, but then again, I prefer fantasy that exists here and not somewhere else anyway, so that may be just my preference. I will say that this, like The Last Unicorn, is not the really annoying kind of fantasy, where there are all thees and thous and the author tries just a little too hard to be the next Tolkien. And I respect that.

This novel is told from five or six different points of view, some of
...more
Mel
This book was quite lovely, it starts with a folk song about three women visiting an inn and how they change everything and then the novel tells what actually happens in the song. It reminded me a lot of the traditional fairy tale type stories of Dunsany and Morris, except with women characters and group sex! (Honestly I hadn't been expecting the group sex - particularly from a book proudly stating "from the author of the Last Unicorn" - but it was done quite well and I think the part of the nov ...more
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Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of ...more
More about Peter S. Beagle...

Other Books in the Series

Innkeeper's World (2 books)
  • Giant Bones
The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1) Tamsin A Fine and Private Place Two Hearts (The Last Unicorn, #1.5) The Unicorn Sonata

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“Her face was a stranger’s face, which was as it should be. Love each other from the day we are born to the day we die, we are still strangers every minute, and nobody should forget that, even though we have to. ” 14 likes
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