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 loving it. I was delighted to learn there was more set in the same world.
One of the main characters in this is the woman in 'Chandail' and it was wonderful to learn a bit more of her background and history.
As a novel, on its own - there is absolutely nothing wrong with this book at all. I have no criticism. It does what the best fantasy does: creates a story of real people, real emotions, believable conflict and drama - while tying it in to myth and mythology, using symbolism and classic tropes to tell something entirely new. I'm impressed - and will be seeking out more of Beagle's work.
Three women ride into town... the dark warrior Lal, the nut-brown Nyateneri, cloaked in religious robes, and the pale and resurrected Lukassa. They are pursued by a lover, and they are pursued by assassins. In turn, they pursue a lost friend; and a powerful wizard. The inn where they take rooms will never be the same... and especially, life will never be the same for the innkeeper's boy, Rosseth.