Anyone who has enjoyed the books of CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien should read this book. It is an account of the group of friends who gathered around these two for many years in Oxford. They gathered weekly in a pub and in Lewis' rooms in Magdalen College to drink beer (a lot of beer - I am surprised they didn't all die of liver cirrhosis) and read to each other poems, stories and books that they were writing. Without the Inklings we might never have had the "Lord of the Rings", although we would probably have had the Chronicles of Narnia.
I found it a fascinating read and have only one or two quibbles. For example, Carpenter does not mention the Evacuees that Lewis and his brother hosted for several years during the Second World War and who provided at least one of the sparks that led on to the writing of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Then on pp 216/7 Carpenter describes the meeting of the Socratic Club in 1948 when Elizabeth Anscombe severely and effectively criticised one chapter of Lewis' latest book of Christian apologetics "Miracles". Carpenter says that Lewis was deeply disturbed and wrote no further books of Christian apologetics for ten years. This is somewhat misleading; Lewis revised the offending chapter in the light of Anscombe's critique and the book was republished (and is still in print).