"The Story of Kao Yu” is a new fantasy short story by the legendary Peter S. Beagle which tells of an aging judge traveling through rural China and of a criminal he encounters. Of the story, Beagle says it “comes out of a lifelong fascination with Asian legendry — Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Indonesian — all drawn from cultures where storytelling, in one form of another, remains a living art. As a young writer I loved everything from Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee mysteries to Lafcadio Hearn's translations of Japanese fairytales and many lesser-known fantasies. Like my story ‘The Tale of Junko and Sayuri,’ ‘The Story of Kao Yu’ is a respectful imitation of an ancient style, and never pretends to be anything else. But I wrote it with great care and love, and I'm still proud of it.“
Lost in the wide and barren North, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge far too narrow for the expansive egos of either. With the King of the Northmen and the High Priestess of Thond in pursuit, can Shevedieh, the greatest thief in Styria, persuade either one of these proud heroes to step aside?