Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Night's Master (Tales from the Flat Earth #1)” as Want to Read:
Night's Master  (Tales from the Flat Earth #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Night's Master

(Tales from the Flat Earth #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,192 ratings  ·  229 reviews
NIGHT'S MASTER is the first 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 realm above, curious passionate demons lived in the
Mass Market Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 1st 1978 by DAW (first published January 1st 1978)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,192 ratings  ·  229 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Night's Master (Tales from the Flat Earth #1)
Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

Most of the highly anticipated YA fantasy novels coming out this year have been a bust for me, and I keep getting the occasional rude comment that says something like, "You're too picky/mean/etc." Well, to that, I say, "Maybe I actually know what good fantasy novels look like because I've actually read some marvels with achingly good prose that has so much pathos it just about makes you cry?" Because if that's what you're looking for, Ta
Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
What in the actual fuck did I just read?

Queer characters who are grooming pedophiles, women who get raped and become villains themselves only to be further punished by the narrative. I just... what
Kat  Hooper
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 stars
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

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 hat
RJ from the LBC
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fantasy author Tanith Lee takes inspiration from The Arabian Nights and Tales of the Dying Earth to tell a series of interconnected tales of the demon Azhrarn and the mortals with whose lives he meddles. Lee uses a similar storytelling style to that of Ursula K. Le Guin in A Wizard of Earthsea to give the narrative a mythical flavor. Unfortunately none of the story content is more than mildly interesting and much of it, including some truly bizarre sexual content, may be revolting to modern read ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One night, Azhrarn Prince of Demons, one of the Lords of Darkness, took on him, for amusement, the shape of a great black eagle. East and west he flew, beating with his vast wings, north and south, to the four edges of the world, for in those days the earth was flat and floated on the ocean of chaos.

Another one of those I'm not even going to pretend to be objective about. This has been one of my favorite books (and favorite series) ever since I first read them in the distant days of 1990 (when
4.0 stars. A beautifully written, original fantasy story that reads like mythology. The main character, Azhrarn, is the Prince of Demons. Azhrarn is extremely powerful and spends his time amusing himself, mostly by tormenting humans and creating mischief. As the story progresses through a series of interlinked tales, we see Azhrarn transform from malevolent trickster to Christ-like savior and then back again. A very good book and certainly an excellent choice if you are looking for sonething a l ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe closer to 3.5 stars, but what the heck.

Did you ever read Vance's Dying Earth stories and think "you know what this needs? More penetration!"

Seriously, though, this book was kind of hard for me to rate. First of all, it is basically a bunch of short stories, and I am rarely impressed with short story collections. To each his own and all, but I am more of a novel kind of guy. I will say, however, that if you like fairy tales (especially darker ones) then you will probably find yourself righ
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mimi by: Sword and Laser pick for May 2018
4.5 star

Magnificently strange and otherworldly. Feels like a weird dream from which I don't want to wake.
Pam Baddeley
This is the first in a series and having struggled through this one I'm not sure I want to continue although I have the others.

The book is not really a novel but more a series of interconnected short stories with the same setting: Flat Earth at a time when the gods exist but are remote self obsessed beings with no interest in humanity or the Earth, and demons also exist, who live in the Underearth and take an all too unpleasant interest. The chief "character", if you can call him such, is Azharn
Allison Hurd
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tanith Lee is a veritable master of the macabre. Her stories are stunningly lush, fever dreams of someone who loves the dark, but remembers that maybe others will not. This is a book of mythology whose focus is not that of the gods or mortal heroes, but of demons. Finally, when the protagonists do the terrible things our gods so often are said to have done, you understand why.

CONTENT WARNING: (view spoiler)

Things to
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
"What demons love they slay in the end, and the gifts of demons are snares."

This collection of connected fable like tales all involve, to a greater or lesser extent, Azhrarn, Prince of Demons, and his trifling with, troublemaking for, and general bedeviling of humanity. Themes of love, revenge, vanity and greed run through the stories, generally reinforcing the message that Demons can't be trusted, no matter how beautiful they may make themselves appear. Also, crossing a demon generally does not
Lady Luna. ✨
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-books
At first this book seemed very strange to me. At the end I was hooked ! What a great book, the author has a beautiful imagination and is great at telling stories, this isn't a lengthy very descriptive novel but it is fantastic the way the author writes is like a poem. Loved it will keep reading these strange books and will be reading the authors other works :)
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I've re-read this book several times and I feel so few people know about it - so why not recommend it. Warning: this will be a very subjective review, because it's one of my favorite books - if not THE favorite book.
I happened to come across it only a year or two ago, as I heard of Tanith Lee and wanted to try her writing. I was not disappointed.
The book is made of stories, which are interconnected. The prose is the first thing you will fall in love with - it's rich, fluent, so very vibrant that
1-Click Addict Support Group
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have always been a huge fan of fantasy, and this author has been on my to-be-read list for ages. I've seen her name enough to realize her books should be a staple for fantasy lovers, and now I understand why. I was swept away while reading, into a land of mythical proportions. Each tale is its own separate entity, but they are woven together with fine threads interconnecting them in slight but important ways.

The language used was masterful, descriptions written in almost over-the-top, fancifu
Night's Master's story is told in the form of three sets of interleaved short stories, each of those three mostly unconnected with each other aside from the setting and the titular character, Azhrarn. The writing style is dreamlike, and the stories read like fairy tales.

But don't expect virginal heroines marrying their heroes after defeating the wicked queen, a la Disney. The fairy tales called back to are more like the old oral stories or our own urban legends, full of sex (often coercive or n
I really didn't like this much (1.5 stars rounded down), so I'm going to forgo my usual format and just say give a few sentences so I can move on.

In general I don't much care for short stories, and this book is essentially a collection of loosely related short stories. That might have been OK, but there is a lot of awful (or sometimes just weird) sex stuff.

I don't have a problem with sex in books, but it's not something I actively seek out either. Nothing in this book is very graphically depict
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-sf
I loved it. A beautiful narrative.
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was the first Tanith Lee I ever read. I used to have the SFBC omnibus editions (which I got by accident--forgot to send the reply card back in time--and decided to keep) and read the first three books of the set. I liked them a bit, but had a hard time getting into the mythical style of narration. The Flat Earth books are collections of interconnected myths, legends, or fairy tales if you will, where magic is wondrous and not subject to laws, even fantastical ones. If a demon wants to grow ...more
Karin Gastreich
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Once in a very great while, we encounter a perfect book. Tanith Lee's NIGHT'S MASTER is just such a work. I won't say "I wish I could give it ten stars" because in truth, Lee's collection of interwoven short stories rises well above the conventional star system. Flat Earth is a place where imagination is completely set free. Engaging, passionate, sensual, and cruel; with surprising and fulfilling moments of true heroism. Told with prose that reads like poetry. I could keep raving about it, but r ...more
Dave Packard
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, sword
Pretty disappointed in this one. Very depressing short stories all set in the same universe, basically a mythology without a purpose is how it appeared to me. Not going to continue the series, and I probably won’t pick up another Tanith Lee book.
A book club read of something I read 20+ years ago. I don't often do re-reads but as this one was very short at less than 250 pages I thought I would check it out with adult eyes.

The structure of this book, and the sequels, is just a series of short stories all set in the same world with constant gods and themes. For that reason it reads a lot like The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 1. Central to all the stories in this volume is Azhrarn, Lord of the Demons and the Darkness and the
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readers insisting upon a strong central plot and defined set of characters will find little to enjoy here. Lee draws from fairy tale and mythology for a drifting, dreamlike experience where each "book" (Light Underground, Tricksters, and The World's Lure) is independent aside from theme, and each of which is subdivided further, into "parts" and chapters. The time table is that of demons, especially the demon lord Azhrarn, and an ephemeral mortal existence can easily fit into a single chapter. So ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good book but is it unusual fantasy, not for everyone’s liking. It is very poetic and is more like fairy tales in style than modern novel. The book is very reminiscent of The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, uncensored version or the original tales gathered by anthropologists and not cleared up for kids: this means there are allusions about sex, there is a homosexual experience and a rape. While these parts together are not more than 1% of the book’s length, they grossed out ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and terrible. Those are the first words that come to my mind after closing Night’s Master, the 1978 fantasy classic from Tanith Lee. Structured as a series of short story cycles sharing a common universe (the Flat Earth), and a central character (Azhrarn, a sort of equivalent of the Lucifer from our culture), this book is a mastercraft example of fantasy told in the language of myth. It reminds us how human lives are drawn to tragedy, no matter how fleeting moments can create the illus ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fantasy
4.5 stars maybe?
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prior to discovering this book I'd never read anything by Tanith Lee, though I'd heard her name a number of times. When I read about her recent passing on Facebook, I decided it was time to finally see what she was all about.

There were a number of things that made me select Night's Master as my first jump into Lee's writing: the book's World Fantasy Award nomination; the length (only about 250 pages? Sign me up!); and the Goodreads description indicating the book was written in the manner of the
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
First in the Tales of the Flat Earth series, this book is often compared to the 1001 Arabian Nights. While a collection of exotic stories, each linked to its predecessor, the stories are not nested and don't have a particularly Arabian flavor. I was reminded more of classical mythology and Grimm's fairy tales than the Middle East. This is a minor quibble, however, as the stories are enchanting and lush.

"Lush" has always been the best word to describe Tanith Lee's melancholic and erotically-tinge
Raymond St.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book; but annoying. I admire the challenge Lee takes on: creating a main character who is the personification of evil; and then persuading the reader to emphasize with him.
Sure, it is no trick to make a cool and roguish villain. We all know how easily the bad boys steal scenes. They always get the sunglasses, the spot-light and the best lines. But how many writers since Milton have made a sympathetic Satan?

Lee succeeds; but at the cost that I resent my own sympathy. I'd still like
Violetta Vane
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gender-stuff
This is one of the best fantasy books ever, and a book I've reread countless times. The amazing thing about Tanith Lee's language is how rich it is, and paradoxically, how spare. There's not a single wasted word. The sexuality in this book is groundbreaking, especially in the way it's integrated within the story and the mythos. This is a profoundly queer story in which sexuality and gender cannot be taken for granted (although gender really gets messed with more in the later Flat Earth books). I ...more
Gary Fisher

Some of these tales remind me of Navajo stories of Coyote the Trickster. However, as I recall most or all of the Coyote tales taught some sort of lesson. Except for the final story about Hate the stories in this book seem to be just capricious and mean.

Probably my least favorite Sword & Laser book so far.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Sword and Laser: S&L Podcast - #325 - Mythology Ideology 23 123 Jun 16, 2018 03:25PM  
The Sword and Laser: NM: General discussion thread 39 184 May 30, 2018 12:08AM  
The Sword and Laser: NM: Symbology or reality? 15 129 May 29, 2018 05:05PM  
The Sword and Laser: #323 - Demon Mythology 15 120 May 13, 2018 01:11PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Slan (Slan, #1)
  • Zeroes (Zer0es, #1)
  • In the Company of Others
  • Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr
  • Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)
  • Vessel
  • The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)
  • Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse #1)
  • California Bones (Daniel Blackland, #1)
  • Seven Blades in Black (The Grave of Empires, #1)
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts
  • Lovecraft Country
  • Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1)
  • The Light Brigade
  • Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1)
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse, #1)
  • Kill 6 Billion Demons, Vol. 2
  • Kill Six Billion Demons, Vol. 3
See similar books…
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)
  • Death's Master (Flat Earth, #2)
  • Delusion's Master (Flat Earth, #3)
  • Delirium's Mistress (Flat Earth, #4)
  • Night's Sorceries (Flat Earth, #5)

News & Interviews

Contemporary young adult literature has often led the way in depicting the real-life issues facing teens from all backgrounds. To delve into ho...
41 likes · 3 comments
“Go nowhere on a horse that fades, for your dreams will betray you.” 22 likes
“and their days make no story for they were good and joyful and without event” 11 likes
More quotes…