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Giant Bones
Peter S. Beagle
New American Library Books, 272 pages

Giant Bones
Peter S. Beagle
Born in New York in 1939, Peter S. Beagle graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1959. His works include the novels A Fine and Private Place, The Last Unicorn and The Folk of the Air, as well as non-fiction books and the screenplay for the animated film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. The Last Unicorn became an animated film in 1982. He lives in Davis, California.

Peter S. Beagle Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: A Dance For Emilia
SF Site Review: Tamsin
SF Site Review: Giant Bones
The Last Unicorn Review

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Donna McMahon

A few months ago my sweetie gave me some early Peter S. Beagle stories to read and I found them underwhelming. Hence, he found it hard to convince me to read Giant Bones, a new collection of short stories set in the world of Beagle's novel The Inkeeper's Song. Well, I'm glad he did.

Beagle has honed his prose to a glow, and I can only describe his recent stories as exquisite. In particular, I was fascinated by "The Last Song of Sirit Byar" (the tale of an aging musician and the young girl who follows him on the road) and "Lal and Soukyan" (two old warriors journeying to atone for an act of cruelty performed decades before).

Beagle's world is an imaginary medieval one, but his kings and warriors and wizards are vividly real and compellingly human. These people stink, they hurt, they bleed, and they struggle to face their own mortality with courage. Although he employs many elements which have become cliches in Fantasy, Beagle knows how to touch on powerful human truths which give his stories astonishingly poignancy.

Some readers might find the pace of Beagle's stories slow at first, but I found they rewarded my patience. And the pen & ink illustrations by Tony DiTerlizza were a delightful added touch.

Copyright © 2002 Donna McMahon

Donna McMahon discovered science fiction in high school and fandom in 1977, and never recovered. Dance of Knives, her first novel, was published by Tor in May, 2001, and her book reviews won an Aurora Award the same month. She likes to review books first as a reader (Was this a Good Read? Did I get my money's worth?) and second as a writer (What makes this book succeed/fail as a genre novel?). You can visit her website at

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