(Unofficially) Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn
Original cover

The Last Unicorn
by Peter S. Beagle
Published by just about everyone, including Ballantine Del Rey, Souvenir Press, Viking, and Penguin/Roc
Never out of print

The Last Unicorn
Leather bound edition
from Easton Press

The Last Unicorn
Czech edition

The Last Unicorn
Book of the Month
Club Selection, 1992

As Peter Beagle wrote in his introduction to The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle: "The Last Unicorn is the book that people know who don't know anything else I've ever written; it will probably haunt the rest of my career..."

The Last UnicornThat prediction, written in 1978, is as true today as it was then. "The Last Unicorn" is Beagle's best-known and most beloved work, and has been consistently in print since it was released in 1968. It was made into a successful animated film in 1982, and both the book and movie continue to delight new fans each year.

A unicorn, alone in her forest, overhears a remark by some hunters one day, stating that she is the last of her kind. She shrugs it off to the folly of humans, who think that just because they don't see something, it doesn't exist. But then a traveller from far-off lands, an eccentric butterfly, brings her news of the unicorns' plight, and repeats the assertion that she is truly the last.

She sets out from her forest, her home, and searches for her missing brethren. Along the way, she is joined by Schmendrick, a magician who can perform no magic, and Molly Grue, a woman who spent her younger years searching for a unicorn, only to have her girlish fantasy appear long after she had stopped looking for it. The three of them set out on the long and forbidding road, seeking the unicorns.

The Last UnicornThis is without a doubt my, and most other people's, favorite Beagle novel. The characters are engaging and realistic, and the mesmerizing storyline will haunt your thoughts long after you have finished reading. I just finished re-reading it, in fact, and not only are the characters still engaging and colorful, but the storyline is more gripping and touching with each revisitation.

There had been some rumors that Tony DiTerliziTony DiTerlizzi (artist for Giant Bones) and Beagle were putting together a proposal for a new illustrated version of The Last Unicorn. That project seems to be dead in the water at the moment; according to DiTerlizzi: "Peter and I couldn't see a way, at the time, to get ROC to do an illustrated Unicorn, though I have mentioned it to some other publishers who may be interested..."

Check out The SF/F Book-A-Minute Version - very amusing!

A stage adaptation of The Last Unicorn was produced at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Washington in 1988.

Stories on Stage

Aaron Shepard has written a short play adapted from The Last Unicorn entitled "Captain Culley" which is available in his collection "Stories on Stage." These plays are intended to be performed by middle and junior-high school students in readers' theatre programs. The book can be found through most book sellers.


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