Night's Master by Tanith Lee
Night’s Master is the sort of book that not everyone will like, but for what it is, it’s brilliant. The styling is exquisite, the characterization direct and to-the-point in a way I’ve rarely seen before, getting right to a character’s essence without any muddying around. The plot concerned me at times while reading, but eventually proved itself beyond my expectations. I rarely say this, but this is a novel that stays with you.
As I said above, I did have my doubts coming into it. I had no prior knowledge of Tanith Lee or her Tales from the Flat Earth series. The opening moments of the text are concerned with a figure named Azhrarn, who is essentially presented as the devil, the literal Lord of Darkness. Any red-blooded fantasy fan will at this point be forgiven for assuming that the scene must be the moment at which the evil prince lays the seeds for ... Read More
Tanith Lee(1947- )
Tanith Lee has written more than 50 novels and nearly 200 short stories in the genres of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery/thriller. Learn what Tanith Lee is currently working on at her website.
Tales from the Flat Earth — (1978-1987) Publisher: Supreme among the mighty demons was Azhrarn. It was he whose pranks made nightmares on Earth, who brought desire and danger to those it amused him to visit, and who could grant wonders and create horrors unspeakable.
Night's Master by Tanith Lee
Night's Master by Tanith Lee
Long ago, the earth was flat. Humans lived on its surface while the benevolent gods who created them lived in the heavens. Regretting that they had made man, the gods ignored their creation and held themselves aloof while the sorcerous demons that lived in the glowing gem-encrusted city under the earth were permitted to use humans as they wished. Being at the whim of cruel and impulsive demons made these times terrifying for humans. Eventually hate and evil began to prevail, and earth was near death, but the gods showed no inclination to save humanity. Azhrarn, Prince of Demons and Night’s Master, was the proudest and most powerful demon of all. When he discovered a beautiful orphaned human child and brought him to live in the underworld, the destiny of the earth was changed forever.
Tanith Lee’s Night’s Master, the first of her FLAT EARTH series, is a c... Read More
Death’s Master by Tanith Lee
On Tanith Lee’s Flat Earth, humans live in the space between apathetic gods and vain and meddlesome demons. In the first FLAT EARTH book, Night’s Master, we met Azhrarn, prince of demons and ruler of the night who found and loved a human orphan. I loved that book for its exotic setting and gorgeous fairytale quality, but Death’s Master, the second FLAT EARTH book, is even more enchanting. While the first book was a series of connected tales, Death’s Master is a traditional novel. This time we meet a second Lord of Darkness, Uhlume, Lord Death, when he makes a deal with Narasen, a human warrior queen.
Narasen, the Leopard Queen of Merh, doesn’t like men. When she rebuffs a powerful magician, he curses her, causing plague, famine and barrenness to settle in Merh. An oracle announces... Read More
Delusion’s Master by Tanith Lee
In Delusion’s Master, the third of Tanith Lee’s FLAT EARTH novels, we’re introduced to another Prince of Darkness: Chuz, the Prince of Madness, who is handsome when seen from one side and hideous when seen from the other. Chuz watches humans and uses the opportunities they give him to practice his craft:
There were several doors by which Madness might enter any house; one was rage, one jealousy, one fear.
We first meet Chuz when a jealous queen tries to get rid of the baby she believes has caused the king to stop loving her. When she accidentally kills the child and her husband puts her aside, Chuz shows up to comfort her by helping her descend into madness. When he offers to grant her a wish, she asks that Chuz make her husband, the king, as mad as she is. That’s why the king decides to build a tower to heaven where he will wage war on the gods. E... Read More
Silver Metal Lover — (1981-2005) Publisher: Sixteen-year-old Jane realizes that the love of her life, Silver, is a robot who only looks human, but those who created him know that the artificial humans have become a race of gods whose very existence threatens human history and they seek to destroy every last one — including Silver.
The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee
Can I share a secret? I really loved The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee. Title silly enough for you? Well, trying reading the blurb on the back. Yes, it really is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Jane falling in love with a robot (albeit an extremely human-looking and -acting robot). A robot love story.
Only, calling The Silver Metal Lover a robot love story is a bit like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. Technically it is a hole in the ground, but the phrase doesn't capture the essence of what the Grand Canyon is. And while there is indeed a love story involving a robot, The Silver Metal Lover was to me a glorious coming-of-age story rather than a romance.
The protagonist, Jane, is remarkably sympathetic for a m... Read More
The Secret Books of Venus — (1998-2003) Publisher: In the hedonistic atmosphere of an 18th-century Venice carnival, gaiety turns deadly when Furian Furiano happens upon a mask of Apollo floating in the murky waters of the canals. The mask hides a sinister art, and Furian finds himself trapped in a bizarre tangle of love and evil as he stumbles upon a macabre society of murderers. The beautiful but elusive Eurydiche holds the key to these murders, and as she leads him further into a labyrinth of black magic and ancient alchemy, Furian begins to realise that secrets from his own past are mysteriously linked to this sinister and seductive woman. In this brilliantly imagined world of terror, Furian must find a way to stem the obsession driving him toward his hidden destiny.
Faces Under Water by Tanith Lee
I found the first book of Tanith Lee’s THE SECRET BOOKS OF VENUS series, Faces Under Water, in a used bookstore recently. To call Lee a prolific writer is to understate things somewhat. I had never heard of this series, set in an alternate Venice and based on the four elements. They were published by Overlook Press in the late 1990s and early twenty-first century.
Faces Under Water is short but dense, and I would say that it provides everything Lee is known for. This means I really liked parts of it and was very irked with others. At times I felt like I was reading a template or a pattern, not a book. (“Here’s where I dump in some gorgeous description. Here’s where I truncate a sentence to change the pacing. Here’s where I use artful, poetic repetition, and here’s where my characters engage in witty and elliptical dialogue.”)
Furian Furiano ... Read More
The Claidi Journals — (1998-2002) Young adult. There is an omnibus edition for the first three novels. Publisher: All her life, Claidi has endured hardship in the House, where she must obey a spoiled princess. Then a golden stranger arrives, living proof of a world beyond the House walls. Claidi risks all to free the charming prisoner and accompanies him across the Waste toward his faraway home. It is a difficult yet marvelous journey, and all the while Claidi is at the side of a man she could come to love. That is, until they reach his home… and the Wolf Tower.
The Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee
The Wolf Tower (also published as The Law of the Wolf Tower) is the first of a quartet of books concerning the young woman Claidi’s series of adventures in a fantasy realm, as told and recorded by her in her journal. Her story begins in the House where she works as a slave to the spoilt Lady Jade Leaf, which Claidi recounts in the book that she's stolen from her mistress's stationary chest. She's not entirely sure what made her do such a dangerous thing, especially since there's nothing particularly interesting to write about her life — she slaves after Jade Leaf night and day, living in fear of beatings and punishments and attending the endless rituals of the rigid House.
But then something does happen: a hot air balloon is shot down over the Garden and the House guards drag back an extraordinary young man named Nemian. Claidi is at once transfixed by him, and when she is... Read More
Wolf Star by Tanith Lee
Wolf Star (also published as Wolf Star Rising) is the second of four books known as the Claidi Journals, stories told in the format of a diary by the young escaped-slave Claidi and her travels throughout a fantasy world in search of her origins and a home of her own. In the first installment, Wolf Tower, which you really must read if you want to understand what's going on in this story, Claidi escaped the confines of the House with the handsome Nemian, only to find that his intentions for her were less than honourable. Taking her to his dismal city and the matriarch Ironel, Claidi found that the inexorable Law of the Wolf Tower made her the new distributor of the cruel and unnecessary rules that governed the land.
Destroying the mechanisms that put the Law in place, Claidi made her escape with t... Read More
Wolf Queen by Tanith Lee
Wolf Queen (or Queen of Wolves in some publications) is the third of four books in the Claidi quartet, a series of books that are told in diary-form by the young heroine Claidi and her travels throughout a fantasy land. In the previous installments, Wolf Tower and Wolf Star, she has escaped slavery, destroyed a corrupt system, found her true love, been kept prisoner in a moving castle and escaped once more in a controllable star. Throughout all of these amazing adventures, Claidi has kept a record in her book, and untangled much of the mystery surrounding her birth and destiny.
Now all she wants to do is be reunited with her beloved Argul, and has used the floating star/tower Yinyay to track down the Hulta people, of wh... Read More
Wolf Wing by Tanith Lee
Wolf Wing is the fourth and final book in the Claidi Journals, a quartet of books that follow a young heroine's journey from slavery to freedom — and her untangling of the many mysteries and conspiracies around her — all in diary form. After many adventures in the first three books, Claidi is finally reunited with her beloved Argul, and together they plan their marriage and the return to Claidi's previous home, the House, in order to release the slaves.
But once again, nothing is what it seems. On returning to the House Claidi and her new husband find that the slaves do not need their help — on the night of Claidi's escape, the slaves overthrew their former masters and now live in relative peace and harmony. The spoilt Jade Leaf, who once threatened Claidi with a vicious whipping, is now servant to those she once bullied mercilessly. But ... Read More
East of Midnight by Tanith Lee
It Died Eight Times My Love. After that, Love Stays Dead...
Tanith Lee once again proves herself a master of young adult fantasy with this wonderful (but apparently little known) story of the battle of the sexes. Set in a gloriously created world where women ride horned lions and rule over mankind, East of Midnight is a book that is easy to read, yet raises a range of questions on the differences between man and woman and the way in which we interact with each other.
At the beginning of the story, Lee herself writes where her inspiration came from: "Old legends have it, before men were kings, women ruled large areas of the world. They were as powerful and ruthless as any of the man-ruled states which came after. Indeed, the harshness of men towards women in many early societies was, they said, due to the cruelty the fema... Read More
The Castle of Dark by Tanith Lee
It is continually frustrating to read a rich, suspenseful, beautifully crafted book and then find that hardly anybody else knows about it — such is apparently the case with Tanith Lee's The Castle of Dark. Containing an imprisoned damsel, a spooky castle, a magical harp and a mysterious secret, this is a wonderful book that has the same tone and atmosphere of an old dark fairytale.
The chapters switch back and forth between two characters: Lilune is a strange young woman living with two hags in an abandoned and dark castle. With hair down to the ground and without any need to consume food, Lilune is intensely lonely and curious about the outside world. Lir is a young harper, chosen for his calling in his youth by an unnamed traveler who instructs him on the crafting of a beautiful harp that makes the most beautiful music.
When Lir is calle... Read More
White as Snow by Tanith Lee
A maiden is kidnapped. Her mother searches for her, disguised as an old beggar woman. A deadly fruit is eaten. The maiden dies, but not necessarily for good...
Depending on how you flesh out the rest of the tale, this could either be the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, or the fairy tale "Snow White." Tanith Lee weaves the two together in White as Snow until it's hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. The myth and the fairy tale fit together well in Lee's hands; the book follows both storylines and made me realize just how much symbolism the two stories have in common in the first place. It is a testament to Lee's skill that after reading the book, I began to seriously wonder whether the fairy tale truly is a corrupted version of the myth, distorted over the centuries. Whether... Read More
Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (eds.)
Ruby Slippers, Golden Tearsis the third in the series of fairy tale anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. It’s a very good collection; in quality it’s probably equal to its immediate predecessor, Black Thorn, White Rose, though I didn’t personally like it as much for reasons I’ll elaborate below.
My favorite of the stories is Ellen Steiber’s stunning novella “The Fox Wife.” Set in nineteenth-century Japan, it concerns a domineering husband and his young wife who shows signs of becoming a kitsune, a fox shapeshifter.
Other favorites include “The Beast,” by Tanith Lee, and the poem “The White Road,” by Read More
Black Heart, Ivory Bones edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Black Heart, Ivory Bones is the sixth and final entry in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s series of fairy tale anthologies. Of the six, I’ve read four, and each has its own particular flavor, its own unique mood. While all of the books contain a mix of light and darkness, in this volume there seems to be more of a balance: “all that’s best of dark and bright,” if you will. The mood that Black Heart, Ivory Bones evoked in me was a wistfulness, maybe, or a pensiveness. When I first read the series, Black Thorn, White Rose was my favorite, but I’ve come to a deeper enjoyment of this volume as I’ve grown older. At this point I’d have to say the two are now tied in my mind.
My favorite stories in this collection are:
“Rapunzel... Read More
The Green Man edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
In fairy tales, whenever someone journeys into the forest, you just know something strange is about to occur and that the protagonist’s life is going to be changed forever. The same is true of the stories and poems featured in The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. With this collection, editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling kicked off a series of young adult anthologies, each devoted to a particular theme. Here, the theme is wild nature, and most of the stories feature teenage characters who encounter the wilderness and undergo a coming-of-age experience there.
Of course, I have my favorites. Delia Sherman contributes a tale of the Faery Queen of Central Park, and the insecure girl who faces her in a battle of wits. ... Read More
Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance is the best anthology I’ve ever read. These stories will be enjoyed by any SFF reader, but they’ll be ten times more fun if you’ve read Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, because they are all written in honor of that fantastic work. Each tale is written in the style of Vance, which is quite amusing in itself, and each takes place on the Dying Earth, that far-future wasteland in which natural selection means survival of the cleverest, nastiest, sneakiest, and most self-serving.
Songs of the Dying Earth was written by “many high-echelon, top-drawer writers” (as Mr. Vance says in the preface):... Read More
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Read More
Wings of Fire edited by Jonathan Strahan & Marianne S. Jablon
I don't like dragons.
This is probably not the first sentence you'd expect to find in a review of Wings of Fire, an anthology devoted exclusively to dragon stories, but I thought it best to get it out of the way right from the start.
There's nothing inherently wrong with dragons. They're just terribly overused, one of those tired genre mainstays that people who typically don't read a lot of fantasy will expect in a fantasy novel because they were practically unavoidable for a long time. To this day, I confess to having to suppress a mental groan whenever I encounter them.
For a long time, I actively avoided reading any fantasy novel with the word dragon in the title. Granted, I made several exceptions to this rule in the past, most notably The King's Dragon by Read More
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery is an excellent new anthology of original short fantasy fiction, featuring an impressive mixture of established genre masters and newer, highly talented authors. The book’s introduction, by editors Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan, does an excellent job defining the sword & sorcery sub-genre and placing it in its historical context. This is an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the genre and doesn’t have a copy of John Clute and John Grant’s The Encyclopedia of Fantasy handy, but the main... Read More
Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
As the title suggests, Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders have gathered seventeen new and original sword & sorcery tales in this anthology. The stories are written by a variety of successful authors, bringing to play a broad range of styles and themes. I’m a huge fan of sword & sorcery (it’s what got me into fantasy). So I was extremely eager to get my hands on this book.
I did find Swords and Dark Magic to be heavier on the “sorcery” than the “sword,” more so than is my preference. (Like the greatest S&S hero, Conan the Cimmerian, I subscribe to the belief that when the gods breathed life into mankind, we were gi... Read More
Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying Earth, Songs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.
Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to Read More
Songs of Love and Death by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (editors)
George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have collected a nice batch of all-new stories from an all-star cast in Songs of Love and Death. The theme is “star-crossed lovers,” and as you might guess from the title, each tale is a love story, and many are death stories, too. Some are sad, some are sexy, and one or two are slightly sappy. Overall, I enjoyed the collection. Here’s what you’ll find in Songs of Love and Death:
“Love Hurts” by Jim Butcher may be the story Harry Dresden’s fans have been waiting for because it looks like Harry and Murphy will finally get together... or will they?
In “The Marrying Maid,” historical romance author Jo Beverley provides a Regency romanc... Read More
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:
A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be... Read More
Birthgrave — (1975-1978) Publisher: The Birthgrave is Tanith Lee’s first published novel — the first book of a trilogy of stunning imagination — and remains one of her most memorable best. This fine edition includes a new introduction by the author. A mysterious woman awakens in the heart of a dormant volcano and comes forth into a brutal ancient world transformed by genocidal pestilence, war, fierce beauty, and cultural devastation. She has no memory of herself, and she could be anyone — mortal woman, demoness lover, last living heir to a long-gone race, or a goddess of destruction. Compelled by the terrifying Karrakaz to search for the mysterious Jade that is the answer to her secret self, she embarks on a journey of timeless wonder. Come within this realm of brilliant cruel beauty and seductive immortal ruins, of savage war and grand conquest, of falling stars and silver gods, of longing and desire.
Novels Of Vis — (1976-1988) Publisher: A novel of an unknown planet and of the conflict of empires and peoples on that world. It is the story of a priestess raped and slain, of a baby born of a king and hidden among strangers, and of how that child, grown to manhood, sought his true heritage. It is a novel of alien gods and lost goddesses, of warriors and wanderers, and of vengeance long delayed. It is an epic in every sense of the word.
Four-BEE — (1976-1977) Publisher: In a world dedicated to pleasure, one young rebel sets out on a forbidden quest. Published for the first time in a single volume, Tanith Lee’s duet of novels set in a hedonistic Utopia are as riveting and revolutionary as they were when they first appeared two decades ago. It’s a perfect existence, a world in which no pleasure is off-limits, no risk is too dangerous, and no responsibilities can cramp your style. Not if you’re Jang: a caste of libertine teenagers in the city of Four BEE. But when you’re expected to make trouble — when you can kill yourself on a whim and return in another body, when you’re encouraged to change genders at will and experience whatever you desire — you’ve got no reason to rebel… until making love and raising hell, daring death and running wild just leave you cold and empty. Ravenous for true adventures of the mind and body, desperate to find some meaning, one restless spirit finally bucks the system — and by shattering the rules, strikes at the very heart of a soulless society…
The Blood Stone — (1980) Publisher: Out of the dusk he comes striding, the stranger, the man in black, inevitable as death itself: Parl Dro — Ghost Slayer. Some have bought his services for gold, and some have blessed him for his work. But not everyone welcomes an exorcist who will remorselessly deprive them of their beloved dead. Dro began his vocation at an early age. And now he will not be turned aside, no matter how you may threaten, curse or weep. He is seeking too the greatest stronghold of the deadalive: Ghyste Mortua, the ghost town in the mountains, and he means to destroy it. If he will face that, what use the pleas of the desperate sisters, Cilny and Ciddey, what use the rage of Myal, with his genius for music and his imperfect talent for crime? Only one thing, it seems, motivates Parl Dro. His determination to kill the dead.
Secret Books of Paradys — (1986-1993) This omnibus edition contain all of the Paradys books. Publisher: Paradys — the city — was a place of decadence and decay, of luxury and lasciviousness, and, after the revolution, a graveyard peopled by the insane and the dead… and by those who preyed on both. The strange and the tormented dwell in Paradys — prowling its dark streets and twisted alleyways, passing the endless hours in the city’s elegant mansions and smoke-tarnished inns, wandering in moldering graveyards and the stark surrounding countryside. For the land here is bound by a timeless, soul-chilling magic, and that power has cast its spell over all who have ever lived in this foreboding and dangerous place. All who came to Paradys were forever touched by its dread magic. The City was not one place but three, bound together by a labyrinth of ice yet separated, perhaps by time, perhaps by some long-forgotten enchantment, into Paradise, Paradis and Paradys — each cursed in an entirely different way.
Tanaquil — (1989-1997) Publisher: The only daughter of a powerful sorceress, Tanaquil seems to have no magical talent of her own. Then she discovers a pile of bones in the desert near her mother’s palace. Carefully assembled by Tanaquil, the bones form the skeleton of a unicorn, which comes back to life.
The Blood Opera Sequence — (1992-1994) Publisher: Rachaela Day leads a grey, uneventful life in the London suburbs. She works in a bookshop for a pittance which barely pays the bills. But all that begins to change from the day she receives a mysterious letter from the Scarabae family. All she knows about them is that Adamus Scarabae deserted her mother before Rachaels’s birth. Recalling her mother’s warnings, she wants nothing to do with them, and finds their persistence ever more intrusive. What do thet want? But on losing her ill-paid job and her flat Rachaela finally agrees to their offer and goes to live with them in The House — a mysterious cliff-top mansion miles from anywhere.
Lionwolf — (2004-2007) Publisher: The setting of this story is a world of eternal winter, where once thrived hot climates and exotic luxury. Saphay, daughter of a sub-king in the more civilized West, is sent off to marry a leader of the barbaric Jafn, not realizing that her own father has arranged for her betrayal.
Piratica — (2004-2007) Young adult. Publisher: Artemesia is the daughter of a pirate queen, and she’s sick of practicing deportment at the Angels Academy for Young Maidens. Escaping from the school, she hunts up her mother’s crew and breezily commands them out to sea in a leaky boat. Unfortunately, Art’s memories of her early life may not be accurate — her seasick crew are actors, and Art’s infamous mother was the darling of the stage in a pirate drama. But fiery, pistol-proof Art soon shapes her men into the cleverest pirate crew afloat. And when they meet the dread ship Enemy and her beautiful, treacherous captain, Goldie Girl, Art is certain that her memories are real. The Seven Seas aren’t large enough for two pirate queens: Art will have the battle of her life to win her mother’s title — and the race for the most fabulous treasure in pirate lore. This gaudy, outrageous tale sparkles with swordplay, skullduggery, and salty language — not to mention over-the-top comedy!
The Dragon Hoard — (1971) Young Adult. Publisher: The princess handed fearless a black book, bound in gold, entitled: The Hoard Dragon. Not to be read by the fainthearted. Fearless read it aloud to Prince Jasleth. “The dragon is as high as a house, with scales no sword can pierce, and a mouth so huge it can swallow an army in one gulp — and once did to prove it. It has nine hundred and fifty-four teeth, each three inches long and as sharp as a needle. It never sleeps, and it hasn’t been fed in a hundred years…” “Let’s go home,” said Jasleth.
Princess Hynchatti: And Some Other Surprises — (1972) Publisher: Twelve original fairy tales about princes and princesses in which the wizards, fairy godmothers, dragons, and the like don’t always have the expected effect.
Volkhavaar — (1977) Publisher: Volkhavaar is a novel of witchcraft and wonders on a world far removed from those we know. Here the gods contend for power — the Dark forces against the Light — and here an entire city and its land is plunged into the shadow of an evil beyond anything conceivable. It is the story of Shaina the slave girl and of Volk the outcast who enslaved himself to cosmic forces to gain total power — and of how they were finally to meet and clash — with an entire world as their prize.
Lycanthia (The Children of Wolves) — (1981) Publisher: To a distant corner of France comes Christian Dorse to claim his inheritance and to prepare himself to surrender to premature death. But Christian is near to the forest where the de Lagenays live, a mother and son that both servants and village people mysteriously avoid mentioning.
Cyrion — (1982) Publisher: He came to the “Honey Garden” looking for Cyrion. He was in grave danger, convinced only one man alive could help him. A man he had heard about in song and story. A man practically everyone knew something about. A man he had never met. Some said he was the stolen son of a western king, raised by nomads in the desert. A freelance swordsman, a sorcerer, a master of disguise, some said he attracted bizarre, uncanny events as some persons attract misfortune. He with hair like the sky at earnest sunrise, his fair complexion, his whiplash reactions and quicksilver elegance was like a being from another world. A legend. A myth. but was her real? And was he for hire?
Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer — (1982) Publisher: How would it be if Snow White were the real villain & the wicked queen just a sadly maligned innocent? What if awakening the Sleeping Beauty should be the mistake of a lifetime–of several lifetimes? What if the famous folk tales were retold with an eye to more horrific possibilities? Only Tanith Lee could do justice to it. In RED AS BLOOD, she displays her soaring imagination at its most fantastically mischievous. Not for nothing was the title story named as a Nebula nominee. Not for nothing was the author of THE BIRTHGRAVE & THE STORM LORD called by New York’s Village Voice, “Goddess-Empress of the Hot Read.” Here are the world-famous tales of such as the Brothers Grimm as they might have been retold by the Sisters Grimmer! Fairy tales for children? Not on your life!
Days of Grass — (1985) Publisher: The free humans lived underground, secretive, like rats. Above, the world was a fearsome place for them — the open sky a terror, the night so black, and the striding machines from space so laser-flame deadly. Esther dared the open; she saw the sky; she saw the Enemy. And she was taken — captive — to the vast alien empty city. Surrounded by marvels of science not born on earth, Esther did not know what they wanted of her. There was mystery in the city, dread in the heavens, and magic in the handsome alien man who came to her. Tanith Lee, winner of World Fantasy Awards, crown princess of high fantasy, has turned her talents to science fiction in DAYS OF GRASS — with the same color and art and suspense that mark all her wonder works from THE BIRTHGRAVE to DELUSION’S MASTER.
A Heroine of the World — (1989) Publisher: The fortune teller spoke the words, showed Ara the cards that predicted how she would become the focal point of great events… But now, a defenceless captive of enemy invaders, Ara could only wait and hope to discover her true destiny. Yet in a world ruled by war, what chance did she have to attain her heart’s desire? Far from home, and alone among strangers, only the will of the goddess Vulmardra could protect and guide her. But the path the lady had started her on would lead Ara into the very heart of conflict. And though she might gain or lose great wealth, become pawn or key player in the power games of princes, there was only one for whom she would risk everything… He was a soldier that some named traitor and others liberator — and for him whe would strive to become a Heroine of the World.
Louisa the Poisoner — (1992) Publisher: Raised in a swamp by a mad witch, poor Louisa grew up with one goal in mind: to marry a wealthy man, then inherit his lands and money by whatever means it takes. And Louisa may well succeed, for she is a stunning beauty with the manners of an angel. At last she sets off to make her fortune… and with the help of her vial of undetectable poison, she soon finds her first victim. A dazzlingly dark fantasy, as only Tanith Lee could write it!
Heart-Beast — (1992) Publisher: Wanted for murder, Daniel Vehmund travels the world, lured by a brilliant diamond and damned by a curse that transforms him into a beast.
Elephantasm — (1993) Publisher: Left homeless in the wake of a series of family tragedies, sixteen-year-old Annie Ember is shipped off to serve as a scullery maid on the exotic Smolte estate, where she is introduced to a dark, decadent, and perverse world.
Eva Fairdeath — (1994) Publisher: Set in a future polluted world where everyone is tinged with madness, Eva sees no role for herself except to be some man’s slave. Then one day a stranger arrives with a gun, he is a seller of death, but for Eva he provides hope of escape from her degradation.
Vivia — (1995) Publisher: In medieval Eastern Europe, Vivia is claimed by a dark lord who weds her, seduces her, and makes her a vampire. Then Vivia’s mentor abandons her and she is found by Zulgaris, a handsome prince. He marries her but he cannot cure her hunger for blood. Is she doomed? And what will her pregnancy mean?
When the Lights Go Out — (1995) Publisher: An unhappy teenager runs away from home to the seaside when she finds out that her mother is having an affair. Finding friends amongst a group of junkies and beggars and living in a rotting hotel, Hesta spends the summer there, but when winter arrives, she wonders what lies ahead for her.
Mortal Suns — (2003) Publisher: Epic in scope and thrilling in detail, Mortal Suns is set in the corridors of power in the mythical kingdom of Akhemony, which calls up the world of Ancient Greece. Acclaimed author Tanith Lee transports her readers to an ominous yet seductive alternate universe, as fully realized as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon, where fate organizes the forces of nature to bring ruin to those who dare to control it. Horrible screams pierce the night air as the Daystar, Queen Hesta of Akhemony, wrestles with the delivery of the King’s child. Heir to the throne of Oceaxis, she is beautifully formed except for one heartbreaking deformity — she is born without feet. Consigned immediately to the domain of death, the lame infant is dispatched to Thon, the underworld temple, and baptized Cemira — “snake” — the name she will bear throughout a lifetime of darkness. It is only at the behest of Urdombis, the Sun Consort, that Cemira is wrested from the temple of death, renamed Callistra, and restored to her rightful place in the kingdom. Recounting a deadly battle for power, pitting the forces of man against the supernatural, her story is one that will captivate, shock, and terrify.
Indigara: Or, Jet and Otis Conquer the World — (2007) Publisher: Jet and her robot dog, Otis, have been taken with Jet’s two sisters — one of whom has a role in the latest Super-Movie — to their planet’s film capital, Ollywood. Jet and Otis are soon catapulted into the unplumbed underworld that lurks below the studios and lots. Here lies the beautiful and sinister otherwhere of Indigara, which has spontaneously generated from the sets, costumes, models, and actual celluloid of rejected pilot fantasy and SF movies that never got made into series. Even while girl and dog try to survive the dangers and terrors below, their Indigaran mirror images have replaced them, and are running amok in the real world above….
Hunting the Shadows — (2009) Publisher: Volume two of the magical short story collection by Nebula and World Fantasy Award winner Tanith Lee, author of The Silver Metal Lover and The Birthgrave. “Gothic poetess, comic young-adult author, robust adventure-fantasy novelist: Tanith Lee has more writing personas than Sybil. But in her short fiction, all these aspects come gloriously together. Such stories as ‘Antonius Bequeathed’ or ‘The Persecution Machine,’ with their death-defying mixture of prose poetry, genre trope reversals and ominous wit, could be written by no one else.” – WEIRD TALES magazine Stories include: “The Woman in Scarlet,” “One For Sorrow,” “Unlocking the Golden Cage,” “Antonius Bequeathed,” “Doll Skulls,” “Queens in Crimson,” “Flower Water,” “The Persecution Machine,” “All the Birds of Hell,” “Vermilia.”
Sounds and Furies: World Horror Convention Special Edition — (2010) Publisher: Norilana Books is proud to present timeless works of dark beauty and imagination by the award-winning beloved British author Tanith Lee, via the new imprint TaLeKa, dedicated to showcasing the literary works of Tanith Lee and the art of John Kaiine. Tanith Lee is the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories, plus 4 radio plays (broadcast by the BBC) and 2 scripts for the TV cult UK SF series Blake’s 7. Her work, which has been translated into over 17 languages, ranges through fantasy, SF, gothic, YA and children’s books, contemporary, historical and detective novels, and horror. This year she was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master of Horror 2009. Major awards include the August Derleth Award for Death’s Master, the second book in the Flat Earth series. Sounds and Furies collects seven singular, gorgeous tales of lingering atmospheric horror from the masterful pen of Tanith Lee. These seven faces of darkness cast a wide shadow and burrow deep within… The collection includes six short stories and a full-length novella The Isle Is Full of Noises.
Greyglass — (2011) Publisher: The house… always growing, adding to itself, blooming, decaying, becoming reborn… But Susan doesn’t live in the house of Catherine, her grandmother. Instead, she grows up in a one parent family, with her mother, the glamorous and determined Anne. And Catherine, old forbidding and unkind, is only a nuisance. When Catherine dies, no one mourns. Why is it then that whenever some new problem swamps Susan’s far from calm existence, she is driven to revisit the house? As when her mother takes up with the worrying Wizz. Or years later, at the end of a deeply-felt and broken love-affair of Susan’s own. The house is always changing. As if at last it must achieve some irresistible transformation. Frankly, there is something uncanny about the house. Isn’t there.
To Indigo — (2011) Publisher: Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t even look at them. The life of Roy Phipps can be summed up in a paragraph: He’s fifty, leads an uneventful, well-organised existence in the house inherited from his parents, earns a modest income writing formulaic detective novels, and remembers, sometimes, his encounters with women. Roy’s only aberration is the other novel he has been secretively also writing for years, the sprawling and florid story of the mad poet Vilmos, a study of murder, angst and alchemic magic. Then one evening Roy meets Vilmos, face to face. Of course, handsome Vilmos’s double, Joseph Traskul, is only a coincidental look-alike. But in those fatal minutes a terrible bond is formed. For Traskul is, at the very least, insane — charismatic, predatory, lawless — a sort of human demon — whose almost supernatural powers, once provoked, will prove unstoppable . As the fiery shadows close in on him, Roy soon understands that he is now fighting for his own sanity. And probably for his life.
Killing Violets: Gods’ Dogs — (2012) Publisher: 1934… Starving to death somewhere in Europe, Anna meets Raoul.She is ready to sell herself for a meal, but he has other plans. He takes her to England, to a summer of torrential rain, and the dubious mansion of his arrogant and unsavoury relatives, the Basultes. It seems Anna is also to ‘enjoy’ the godly Basulte life. But the mounds of stodgy food, the genuflecting servants, the mindless cruelty of class, (the endless rain), affront her. Besides, she is becoming aware of the family, Raoul included, is playing with her a macabre and silly game. Anna is a survivor — she has had to be — practiced at acting out the impossible. Both the aristocratic malignities, and the Hogarthian orgies of the servants, can be accommodated, if they must. For did they but know, Anna has a past as savage and explicit as anything seen in the Basulte house.
Ivoria — (2012) Publisher: Nick Lewis certainly has no liking for his TV historian brother, Laurence. Aside from anything else Nick blames him for the death of their mother, the beautiful actress Claudia Martin. And so, is it possible the off-handedly childish trick played by Nick on Laurence really does cast some kind of curse? Bizarre and unpleasant things begin to happen, without a doubt. And Nick himself is hardly immune. As the pattern of his secure yet eccentric life starts to come undone, he finds himself without remedies. Where has Laurence vanished to? What is the creepy Mr Pond’s part in it all? And who is the apparently sinister Kitty Price? Can repressed hatred cause such disruption, danger, even death? Or has the object caused it, as Nick pretended it could: that little ivory counter from a stolen drawer… This is probably not a supernatural story. It might be less unsettling if it was.
Cruel Pink — (2013) Publisher: menie lives alone. Her vocation is that of a serial killer. She can read the omens and always knows exactly who is her legitimate prey. In a ruined and collapsing world, perhaps her method is the best one. Rod, though, has a dreary life, working at an unrewarding job. Without friends, but encumbered by relations, there is something uneasy hanging over him. Is it the wardrobe? How unlike Klova, young, beautiful and living on benign handouts, in a sort of Science Fantasy existence of sprints and liquid-silver… Until she meets the challenging Coal. And then there is the other one… or are there two? They also begin to assert their influence — but where do they fit? Past Historical, Presents Parallel and Everyday — Future Imperfect. Here, at the outskirts of this City they all call London, what the Hell is going on?
John Joseph Adams, in recent years the editor of a raft of excellent anthologies on different science fiction, fantasy and horror themes, has now become the editor of Fantasy Magazine. The March 2011 issue is the first published under his red pencil, so to speak, and its mix of new and reprint fantasy material is promising. All content is free on the web, though ebook subscriptions and editions are available for sale.
“The Sandal-Bride,” by Genevieve Valentine, is about Sara, a woman who needs to travel from one land to another to join her husband, a shoemaker who has gone before her. She chooses to join the spice merchant who narrates the tale, offering a sapphire necklace as a “dowry... Read More
Nightmare Magazine has been very good from its first issue, but the May 2013 issue, the eighth, is extraordinary.
The magazine opens with “Centipede Heartbeat” by Caspian Gray. Lisa believes that centipedes have invaded the home she shares with Joette, her lover. Worse, she believes that the centipedes have actually invaded Joette: “Each time Lisa rested her head against Joette’s breats, she heard the centipedes. In between heartbeats there was the tiny sound of hundreds of chitinous footsteps against bone, of miniature mandibles tearing at organs.” It’s a horrible situation, especially because Joette refuses to admit what is happening — or is Lisa insane? At any rate, Lisa feels she has to cure Joette of her infestation. Her behavior is logical, from her perspective, though Lisa’s perspective seems warped. But is it? The exterminator she has had in to consult says the place is crawling with the insects, but it d... Read More