In The Physiognomy we learn much about the Well-Built City, and in Memoranda the landscape of Drachton Below’s newer mnemonic construction dominates. In The Beyond, Cley (and his dog, Wood) explore the land surrounding the ruined Well-Built City, the immense wilderness known as The Beyond.
The story is told by a civilized demon, Misrix, who yearns to be accepted into human society. In drug dreams, he taps into the voice of The Beyond and tells us Cley’s story.
Nature is powerful, and has a consciousness. It pushes everyone around and ultimately has its own way. Once again, the conservation of energy (both physical and spiritual, emphasis on the soul, or spiritual) predominates and creates reversals of unexpected beauty.
Two characters die in this book, but only one really hurts. It is the one character that will touch the heart of reader most. Most of us have suffered this same loss.
Toward the end of the book small vignettes take over the narrative. One one hand they are powerful in and of themselves. On the other hand I can’t help but think Ford was in a hurry to finish the book and began writing in a less explanatory fashion. The narrative eventually does pick up again, and the vignettes add to the story tremendously. However I would have preferred that he didn’t change the style of the storytelling quite so much.
Be that as it may, The Beyond is a satisfying end to a remarkable trilogy of journeys. And yes, it is a love story, when all is said and done.