The Unicorn, The Mystery

By Janet Mason

Award-winning Mason speculates about the "unsolved mystery" behind the story of "The Hunt of the Unicorn."

“In The Unicorn, The Mystery, we meet a unicorn who tells us the story of the seven tapestries, called “The Hunt of the Unicorn” from the 1500s on display in “the unicorn room” in The Cloister in Manhattan, now part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tapestries tell the story of what is still called an “unsolved mystery.” The story is set in an abbey in France not far from the barn in the countryside where the tapestries were discovered. Pursued by a band of hunters, the unicorn is led along by observing birds, smelling and eating the abbey flowers and fruits (including imbibing in fermented pomegranates), pursuing chaste maidens (there is one in the tapestry) and at times speaks to other animals such as the majestic stag.

A magical, medieval world through the eyes of a unicorn and the heretical young monk who is enthralled by her is in The Unicorn, The Mystery by Janet Mason. Hunters are out to capture and perhaps kill the unicorn. The monk’s devotion may turn out to be the unicorn’s rescue or downfall. Like a beautiful tapestry, the novel weaves together theological debate and unforgettable characters, including queer nuns and their secret cat companion. Mason blends myth and history to conjure up a spellbinding vision.” – Kittredge Cherry, Publisher,, Author of “Jesus in Love: A Novel”

“In her latest novel, The Unicorn, the Mystery, Janet Mason weaves a fascinating tale told from the alternating perspectives of a unicorn and a monk. With the gorgeous and magical Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters in New York as a conduit, Janet Mason unfolds her story with lyricism, poetry, philosophy, and a profound spiritual consciousness.” – Maria Fama, Poet and Educator, author of The Good for the Good, Other Nations: an animal journal, and other books.

“The Unicorn, The Mystery has all the big ideas — passion, redemption, guilt, loneliness, empathy, pride, destiny, humility, lust, and love — told in simple, down-to-earth language. The unicorn’s story will resonate with me for a long time.” – Louis Greenstein, author, The Song of Life

Janet Mason, an award-winning creative writer, is the author of THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders (Adelaide Books; 2018). Her book Tea Leaves, a memoir of mothers and daughters (Bella Books; 2012) was chosen by the American Library Association for its 2013 Over the Rainbow List. Tea Leaves also received a Goldie Award. Mason is also a teacher, a Unitarian Universalist lay minister, and blogger.

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