Peter S. Beagle
Published: Sep 10, 1986
They were playing at time and magic, but time is tricky and magic is dangerous! When Farrell returned to Avicenna after years away, he found his oldest friend Ben living with an unattractive older woman named Sia. Ben and Farrell’s girlfriend, Julie, were also mixed up with the League for Archaic Pleasures—a group that playacted the events and manners of medieval chivalry, sometimes too seriously. Nothing was quite as it seemed. Sia’s ancient house developed rooms that impossibly appeared and disappeared. Apparently helpless, Sia still had enormous powers that no human could defy when she chose to exert her will. And some members of the League were not playacting—they were the medieval characters they portrayed. Even mild-mannered Ben was sometimes possessed by a Ninth Century viking, driven to madness by the modern world he could not understand. Attending a League revel with Julie, Farrell was amused by the claim of fifteen-year-old Aiffe that she was a witch. But later he saw her, attempting to summon a demon, conjure out of air the form of Nicholas Bonner, who had been sent to limbo five centuries before! With Bonner’s skills added to Aiffe’s talents, the pair soon made chaos of the League’s annual mock war. But Bonner’s real goal was the defeat of Sia, with whom he seemed to have a mysterious connection. Gradually, Farrell realized that Bonner represented a growing evil such as the Twentieth Century had never known. Only Sia’s powers stood against it. But Sia had retreated into a room that could not exist, hiding in illusion. Here in his first fantasy novel since The Last Unicorn was published in 1968, Peter Beagle again proves his mastery in a tale of magic, illusion, and delusion, mixed with a cast of human characters only he could create.