Author Peter S. Beagle’s fantasy classic The Last Unicorn will celebrate its 55th anniversary in 2023. The novel has sold more than 6 million copies in 25 languages and has been in constant publication since its original release in 1968. A poignant tale of love, loss, and wonder, it follows the story of a unicorn who lives in a lilac wood and discovers that she may or may not be the last of her kind.
The adventure that follows is one that is hopeful, bittersweet, bleak, and beautiful by turns, a fairytale that doesn’t believe in happy endings (because nothing ever ends), set in a world where magic is real but humans have largely lost the ability to see it or believe in it. A tale with strange and jagged edges, full of striking, imagery and complex thematic contradictions that reject easily digestible platitudes.
In celebration of this remarkable anniversary, Ace Books has announced two upcoming publications—-one, an updated edition of The Last Unicorn, which will arrive in the Summer of 2022. The new edition will include Beagle’s preferred text, with stunning new cover art by Jim Tierney and an introduction by New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss. The print release will be accompanied by a re-recorded audio edition from Penguin Random House Audio and, for the first time, the story will also be available as an e-book.
Though the new edition of The Last Unicorn will officially arrive on July 26, 2022, we can exclusively reveal its (gorgeous!) new cover below.
But this isn’t the only new bit of news about this classic novel.
Spring 2023 will see the release of The Way Home, a collection of novellas set in the world of The Last Unicorn which will continue the stories of Molly Grue, Schmendrick the Magician and the unicorn herself through the eyes of a young girl named Sooz. It includes two novellas: The previously published Two Hearts and its brand new sequel, which will be called Sooz.
“The Last Unicorn was always mean to be a fairytale, but Sooz is something altogether else,” Beagle said in a statement. A lyrical story of childhood left behind, the story is dedicated to the love of Beagle’s life, who passed away before it could be published.
I’ve written in a bunch of places around this site about how formative The Last Unicorn was for me both as a reader as a fantasy fan (plus the animated movie is honestly incredible), so the thought of reading more stories in this universe is thrilling. Two Hearts was originally published in 2006, but it’s likely that many readers remain woefully unaware of its existence and/or the fact that it connects directly to The Last Unicorn. Here’s to fixing that as soon as possible.
Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.