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Death's Master

(Tales from the Flat Earth #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,081 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"The soul is a magician. Only living flesh hampers it."

-- from Death's Master

Death's Master, winner of the August Derleth Award for Fantasy, is the second book of the stunning arabesque high fantasy series Tales from the Flat Earth, which, in the manner of the One Thousand and One Nights, portrays an ancient world in mythic grandeur via connected tales.

Long time ago when

Paperback, 348 pages
Published February 6th 1979 by DAW (first published 1979)
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,081 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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I'm a huge fan of vintage novels and fantasy is no exception. The trick is to find fantasy novels that are vintage that weren't penned by misogynistic dude-bros. Luckily, I have ladies such as Tanith Lee, Mercedes Lackey, and Andre Norton to choose from. Where would us female sci-fantasy readers be without that speculative cadre?

I recently read the first book in the Tales of the Flat Earth series, NIGHT'S MASTER, with my friend Elena, and w
Kat  Hooper
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

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
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy
Night's Master was a loosely-tied collection whose central point is the demon lord Azhrarn as he meddles and ruins puny mortal lives according to whim and faerie menace. Here he is a background puppeteer, still manipulating events with almost artistic motivations, as well as a faint malice towards his not-cousin Uhlume, Lord of Death.

But this story is about a set of humans or mostly-humans and the long movements of their mutually-destructive actions, in a world that is profoundly unsympathetic.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In which we meet Uhlume, Death's Master, another Lord of Darkness, kin to Azhrarn, Night's Master, and in which Uhlume and Azhrarn contest with each other.

Not directly, of course; but through two children of extraordinary birth: Simmu and Zhirem, both of whom are (indirectly) created by one Lord but end up (indirectly) serving the other as their destinies intertwine and separate and violently oppose one another.

Although, like Night's Master, this is more-or-less a collection of shorter tales, un
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-fantastika
Death's Master is finally an ebook. It's an epic fantasy told in the high style full of eroticism and horror, as well as beauty. Part runaway Wildean fantasia, part Arabian Nights, here's what I said about the Flat Earth series as a whole:

The eroticism in the text [is} exploratory but tempered by a peculiar kind of innocence, helped in no small part by the jewel-like precision of the prose. There [are] horrors in the stories, but there [is] also tenderness. It is [Tanith] Lee's special talent to
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of the Flat Earth books I read, and it's still my favorite. What I mostly remember is the gorgeous Whelan cover and the awesome if necrophiliac warrior queen. Shut up, she was too awesome.
D.D. Price
The second book in Tanith Lee’s Flat Earth series is again very interesting like the previous one but it is also a very different one in the manner the story is told. Whereas the previous book Night’s Master was split into multiple parts with somewhat loosely connected stories that all served the purpose of creating a unifying tapestry this one more or less follows a few core characters over the course of the entire novel. There are two characters who are priests, Simmu and Zherim, who both bein ...more
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Upon re-reading, this book was just as darkly wondrous and captivating as the first time I read it, several years ago. Tanith Lee's originality and brilliance will never cease to amaze me.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
had these books for 30+ years, read many times, still as good as before
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Strongly believe that Book 1 was better than Book 2.

Tanith Lee said that each Book has a different demon. In Book 1, I totally felt that all the tales at situated in the Flat Earth and every tales revolves around Azhrarn, more or less. And there's no real protagonist or main character in Book 1. Azhrarn is the central figure that all the tales revolve around. But he's not the main character, as there's really no main character. Each tale has its own main character but the book as book as a whol
Douglas Milewski
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Death's Master (1979) by Tanith Lee challenges my ability to review books. How do I even summarize this work? By all rights, this book shouldn't work, but it does, which makes it absolutely fascinating to me. Thinking through everything that I've read, I can't say that I've ever read anything like this book. It's not for everyone. This work can throw you just as easily as it can capture you. It requires something of you, the reader, if only the dedication to reach the end.

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It took me ages to finish this and as such I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the first one. It started off well, but whereas the first volume was a collection of short stories with different character, this was more of a novel, following the same two main characters but done in a very disjointed style. Because it was broken down into small sections the pacing felt very odd and a lot of the events seemed to have no greater significance. I think I probably would have given it four stars if I rea ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, novels
Death's Master, the second in her "Flat Earth" is as good as the first, This book focuses on Uhlume, another prince of the Underearth who is Lord of Death. Lee creates and unforgettable world in this series that doesn't feel derivative of any other fantasy world, and with lush, luminous prose. In fact, I think I love this book, which is structured more like a novel, even more. Lee's prose is gorgeous and though the novel deals with such heavy themes as illusion and immortality there's plenty of ...more
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: who knows, man. who knows.
Shelves: fantastic, genre
I thought this book was awesome, but I don't think I know anyone I could recommend it to without embarrassment. Weirdo sex scenes ahoy! Other than the sex, though, it's a completely serious novel with all the trappings of respectable modern literature: power-mad sorcerers, fuckfighting unicorns, and water chariots pulled by swarms of tiny fish.
Allen Garvin
Beautiful, complicated story of another demon of flat earth, and the machinations between death's master and night's master, full of sorcery, weird plot twists, sunken cities, a city of immortality, human and immortal beauty and cruelty... difficult to describe, but haunting.
Joyce Lavene
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE Tanith Lee's writing. I've followed her for years. This books is easily as good as the first in the series, Night's Master. She is the queen of dark fantasy! It's a short read with many graphic and elaborate descriptions that enthralled me.
James West
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this one first after discovering it in a flea market bin when I was 14. Oh that explains a lot! I read it several times before I was out of high school and again in college.

Dark, delicious book.
Keith Davis
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A complex dark fantasy about the mutable nature of sexuality and the ennui that comes with immortality.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tanith-lee
Book 2 of the Flat Earth series, after Night's Master.
Book 2

Night's Master is book 1 of this serie
Loved it....weird fantastic journey...many cool characters
Mickey Schulz
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
More Tales of the Flat Earth.

I like this series because the Gods are at once inhuman, and fallible, consumed with their own rivalries and plots that may take aeons to come to fruition.
Kerr Cuhulain
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-fiction
A very good read. Very interesting story line.
The Cat
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
*weeps for days*
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-gothic
Goth-girl dark-mood reading of the highest caliber!
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant fairy tale with subtle sensuality and eroticism. This book was like one novel, rather than several stories, but covering two generations. Explorations are made into the underworld, betrayal and it's effects, the torpidity of immortality, and the culture and magic of the territory and magic of the sea (which Lee had only made hints of in "Night's Master").

Even with all that, I was thinking that there might be something more epic in all this. No one seems to strive against odds
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-sword, fantasy
Tanith Lee weaves a great mythos, and this story, slightly more narrative than the first volume, continues the epic world building of the Flat Earth. I particularly enjoy how Lee plays with gender and the effects it has on how people are perceived. I don't always agree, but it's interesting to find an older book with non-binary characters.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit overlong, perhaps, but still beautifully written.
Not her best work. It's hard for this book to compete with Night's Master. It's still decent if you're planning on reading all the Flat Earth novels. Lee is an excellent world builder.
Ана Хелс
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Приключенията в света на Плоската земя, отпреди боговете да се разбудят и създадат живота, такъв какъвто знаем, че е вече загинал преди хилядолетия, продължават с високо признатата и награждавана история за дните и нощите на великия Господар на смъртта или самата Смърт преди качулката и косата. Прекрасният демон Юлум, с белите си коси и черната си кожа, събира душите на напускащите тленността, и ги отвежда в земите отвъд, но понякога и в земите отдолу, в зависимост от сделката, сключена от прите ...more
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai

Other books in the series

Tales from the Flat Earth (5 books)
  • Night's Master  (Tales from the Flat Earth #1)
  • Delusion's Master (Flat Earth, #3)
  • Delirium's Mistress (Flat Earth, #4)
  • Night's Sorceries (Flat Earth, #5)
“The soul is a magician. Only living flesh hampers it.” 23 likes
“Men could not have too much. Ecstasy and vulnerability belonged in the same dish. The fear the cup would be snatched away was what gave the wine its savor and as Zhirem’s cup was sure, so was his joylessness… to die is a fear, but to live is a fear, also.” 1 likes
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