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Death's Master

(Tales from the Flat Earth #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,181 ratings  ·  75 reviews
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 the Earth was Flat, beautiful indifferent Gods lived in the airy Upperearth re

Paperback, DAW Collectors #324, 348 pages
Published February 6th 1979 by DAW (first published February 1979)
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Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ 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, an
RJ from the LBC
Devotees of Tanith Lee's Tales from the Flat Earth series luxuriate in her vibrant, exotic prose and her thematically dark stories which are said to be founded on Arabian and Babylonian lore, not to mention a fair dose of Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories albeit with much less humor. This second book in the series is a step up from the first book with a stronger storyline and more accessible characters, which eventually earned it the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel, the first time ever award ...more
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
Pam Baddeley
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
At first this second volume of the series seemed more coherent and an improvement on book 2. It revolves around the children of two mothers: one woman who is a queen and has to bear a child to save her land and people in order to lift a curse, and one who attempts to save her son from the enemies who will threaten his life by making him immune to all threats. Nothing ends happily for either the mothers or their sons. The two boys eventually end up as close friends while they endure a strict and ...more
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
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.
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
James Kibirige
Excellent book it's a shame that it doesn't hold it together towards the end. This is the third book by Tanith Lee that I have read and second from the tales of flat earth series. This novel can best be described as an epic, sweeping story that will keep you busy for many hours. I was hooked by this book, the interconnecting stories of love, sex, mystery and high fantasy are breathtaking. This is an incredible feat of myth making here, the stories are dark, mature and full of intrigue. Unfortuna ...more
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.
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.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Death has a body in Flat Earth, but we meet him throught actions of others. Although every man knows him, he seems detached and impotent, almost.

Flat Earth is full of magic, superstition, wonder, and cruelty, and our protagonists try to take charge of their lives, which are often under powers greater than their own.

This lush story reminded me of Vance, and the atmosphere is sensual, and mysterious. It reads almost like a fairy tale, and the author woves a rich tapestry. It is a bit repetitive,
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.

This book follows a bio
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: fiction, novels, fantasy
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: genre, fantastic
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.
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.
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.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tanith-lee
Book 2 of the Flat Earth series, after Night's Master.
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.
Book 2

Night's Master is book 1 of this serie
Kerr Cuhulain
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-fiction
A very good read. Very interesting story line.
Loved it....weird fantastic journey...many cool characters
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!
Hans Otterson
More ambitious in scope and for that reason less precise, less perfect, than Night's Master, this continuation of the stories of the world of the Flat Earth nevertheless is a solidly "good" example of its genre.

It may be misleading to say its scope is more "ambitious" than its predecessor, as that implies a grandiosity present here that isn't in the first volume--which isn't the case. Rather, Night's Master is the more sweeping, Death's Master the more granular. It's as if one of the three sect
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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)

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