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Delusion's Master

(Tales from the Flat Earth #3)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  866 ratings  ·  42 reviews
When the world was flat and the gods had not yet restructured the universe, the cities and hopes of mankind hung upon the whims of the immortal lords of all diabolical powers.

For these, such as Azhrarn, Night's Master, and Uhlume, Death's Master, the world was a flesh-and-blood playground for all their strangest desires. But among those demonic lords, the strangest was the
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 1st 1984 by DAW (first published 1981)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

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I don't have many "auto-buy authors," but Tanith Lee is one of them, although ever since her untimely passing, I've been trying to limit myself since she only has a finite body of work and she is a writer of such caliber that few can parallel her writing ability, and her words really ought to be savored. Over the last couple months, my friend Elena and I have been working our way through her Flat Earth series, a mythological fantasy clea
Pam Baddeley
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Book 3 in the Flat Earth series is a shorter story and is set some time after the events of the second.
The character of the title is demon number three, Chuz. Prince Chuz is the master of madness and so he visits the put-aside wife of the king of Sheve, who accidentally killed her baby while trying to abandon it in a nomadic encampment, as her mental illness led her to believe that the child was responsible for her husband's lack of interest. In reality, her husband is shallow and has a high se
Kat  Hooper
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

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
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love is everywhere, and the death of love. And time, which is built of the histories of death and love.
D.D. Price
The last line of this book asks the question “what is love?” It is a poignant line that brings the series up to that point full circle and sets up for where the next book in the series begins. What is love is a question that has been asked for eons but the answer always remains elusive. It is this question that is central to the tragedy that is the Flat Earth series and that has played a substantial role in the development of the character Azahrarn ever since he saved the world from Hate at the ...more
James Kibirige
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There is something exotically old world about Tanith Lee's story-telling that makes my battered paperback feel like a huge leather bound illustrated tome faintly scented with spices and dust.

My copy of this always falls open along its abused spine to pg 156/157 - so frequently have I returned to the story of the creation of The Cat. The image it spawned when I read it many (many) years ago of the most beautiful of all of literature's Dark Lords passing his hand down the creature's back and bring
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, fiction, fantasy
Delusion's Master, the third in her "Flat Earth" series is centered upon Chuz, another prince of the Underearth who is Lord of illusion and madness. Azhrarn, "Night's Master" is also prominent in the book. Lee creates and unforgettable world in this series that doesn't feel derivative of any other fantasy world, and with lush, luminous prose. Not only is Lee's prose gorgeous but there's enough imagination to fill several ordinary books. No filler, no padding here, this is even shorter than Night ...more
Karas Jim
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Huge praise to Tanith Lee, for delivering the magnificent universe of Flat Earth.

This third book is centered upon madness, and quite fittingly, the reader is frequently lost and transported throughout the world of Flat Earth, following parallel events which unfold with maddening frenzy.
Lee boldly writes a fascinating take of the story of the Tower of Babylon, among others, and proves that she can successfully incorporate pseudo-history within high fantasy.
This book is a gem, like all others of
Nov 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Easily my favorite of the original three books this time around. When Lee died, I vowed to reread the Flat Earth Novels as an adult and am making my way through them with pleasure and pain, the former for the delicious prose, the latter from the knowledge of it's too early truncation. These novels are brilliantly reinvented myths, psychedelic retellings of ancient stories from ancient lands that may or may not ever have existed. The references to and radical redefinition of Biblical stories and ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tanith-lee
Book 3 of the Flat Earth series. This book is slightly different from Night's Master & Death's Master in that it contains a plot development which gives the series direction whereas the 1st 2 simply created mythology. ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tanith Lee is my favorite author. Nothing sounds quite as right to me as her writing voice does: with its blend of elegance, intelligence, gentle irony, and Sheer Deliciousness. She seduces and educates and entertains, and sometimes, she does it all in one scene.

She's at her best with Tales from the Flat Earth, and I think this particular installment may be my favorite.

It isn't absolutely essential to read the first two books that came before Delusion's Master (which would be Night's Master and
Douglas Milewski
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Catching lightning in a bottle twice is a remarkable achievement. Catching it three times? Even Tanith Lee couldn't quite pull that off with Delusion's Master, the third book in her Flat Earth series (1981). The book is merely an excellent follow-up to a remarkable beginning.

The book is delightful in many respects, and certainly readable, but something was lacking for me. Delusion never quite reached the charm or challenge of the other two masters, which took quite a bit of oomph from this book.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the fourth book in this series, Delirium's Mistress, many years ago. It was my first and only venture into Flat Earth for about 15 years and I loved it. It was dark and dreamy. The world was cruel yet beautiful. A few years ago I reread it. I realized that yes it was just as good as I remembered if not better from my more aged perspective. So after reading a few other Tanith Lee books not in this series I decided that I needed to finally start from the first book. And lucky me the books w ...more
Aldo Ojeda
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Returning to Tales from the Flat Earth series by Tanith Lee feels like returning to the house of my youth. I am deeply in love with the landscapes, characters and mythology of this arabesque world. Here we are presented to the intriging Chuz, Prince Madness, although Azhrarn is the real protagonist (and of course, you can't have a more charming and charismatic character). And in these pages we finally find someone who can challenge the Prince of Demons.

This, the third book of the series, may be
A continuation in Lee's eerie Tales of Flat Earth series, she introduces new characters with old. Her ability to characterize and similarly humanize the most evil of creatures shows in her descriptive abilities. Personally, I feel this is Lee's strongest feature. Her description leaves little to imagination, and is written in beautiful, poetic prose. I can't judge any of the characters based on human morality, or I can but I choose not to most of the time, since they are so far from humans even ...more
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love most of the stories, or the concepts like those mockeries to human faith, in this book, though I remember, when I first read it and Delirium in translation, how I hated the facts that Azhrarn were losing interest in humans.
Zak Strassberg
May 17, 2014 added it
Shelves: 2014
What a magical book. I wish I could think like Tanith Lee writes.
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Some beautiful passages, but very bleak and hard to read at times. If you like lovely language and despair rolled up together, this will hit the spot.
Virgil S.
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very beautifully written novel.
Duncan Rice
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully written gothic.
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
my least favourite of the series but still 4 stars
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I have tried to like this author because my husband does, I just can't. Her worlds and words are beautiful, but so bleak. I can't bear it.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, sf-fantasy, 2020
Chuz is the Demon of Madness and his work on Flat Earth is bountiful. But can he make even his cousin Azhrarn mad?

Wonderful prose as always, this is a story in 3 parts, and besides mental health (such as there is on Flat Earth) concerns things as hipocrisy, power, mob psychology... It always amazes me how much themes Lee manages to cram and subvert into her (mainly) short books. She is indeed brcoming one of my favorite authors.
Not her best work. Decent in the series. It seemed like it was a lot more about Night's Master from the first book instead of Delusion's Master which is book is named for, odd. Mainly the characters didn't really grab me.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shorter than the second book, bu its plot is also somewhat more confusing. Again, wonderfully written; plot (though certainly not negligible) is really secondary to style in these novels. Normally I don't appreciate that, but Lee is just that good a stylist that I'm willing to go along.
Elizabeth O.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not as well tied together as the first two flat Earth books. An enchanting read which provides more background and history of Flat Earth,
Jesse Baggs
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not as compelling as the first three books, maybe because it doesn’t focus on any interesting characters or deities.
Kelly McDonough
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF, 3/4 of the way.
David Layton
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
The third of the Flat Earth novels follows the pattern of the previous two. Written in the manner of telling legends of the olden times, the story is about a quasi-Arabic world ruled by Demons. Humans are the playthings of the demons. This book tells the story of a battle between two of the demons, Chuz, the Master of Madness, and Azhrarn, the Master of Night. Because the main characters are to one degree or another supernatural and the human characters all one-dimensional, the story is less com ...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)
  • Death's Master (Flat Earth, #2)
  • Delirium's Mistress (Flat Earth, #4)
  • Night's Sorceries (Flat Earth, #5)

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