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Death's Master Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1982

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, June 1, 1982
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tanith Lee is one of the leading fantasy authors working today. She has written over 50 novels and short story collections, among them the bestselling Flat Earth Series. She has won the World Fantasy Award numerous times as well as the August Derleth Award.

Susan Duerden, an Audie Award-winning audiobook narrator, has won multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards for her work. Susan's career spans film, television, voice-over, and animation. She has played critically acclaimed, award-winning theatrical roles internationally, including in London's West End and Off-Broadway. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: DAW (June 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879977418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879977412
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,049,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By KD on January 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the second book I ever read by Tanith Lee, the first was the Silver Metal Lover. I stumbled across it in used book store, read it in a couple of hours and then ran out to find the rest of the series. I love Lee's fantasy novels and this series is probably her best.
The story takes place over an extended period of time and tells the tales of several different characters and how they relate to dying, death and immortality. The common thread is the Lord of Death and how humanity perceives him. There is also the side story of how he interacts with the Lord of Night and the demons. The entire series has a mythic quality, like these were the tales of some long lost culture.
The books in this series are: Night's Master, Death's Master, Delusion's Master, Delirium's Mistress, & Night's Sorceries.
You could read the first 3 books out of sequence and not have any spoilers. Don't read Delirium's Mistress until you have finished the first 3. The last book is a collection of short stories and can be read at any time, but it is assumed that you are familiar with the mythos of the flat earth.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tanith Lee addresses some disturbing questions in this book. One is, what would you do with immortality if you have it? The other, what would you do if you were invulnerable?
The androgynous Simmu, (he actually could change body forms too), the son of a lesbian queen and, for lack of a better word-- a corpse, was adapted by demons after he was left to die in his mother's tomb. He later meets Zhirem, a boy made invulnerable at the cost of his mother's beauty. The novel addresses their tortured love story in the context of the Demon Lord's mischievious plans to entertain himself, and the Death Master's fight to preserve his supremacy over humans.
Character development was excellent in the case of Simmu and Zhirem. You could read into why they ended up doing what they did, but you could never guess what they were about to do before it happens. Simmu gains immortality and becomes the King of Simmurad (City of the Immortal). Zhirem, the invulnerable, becomes th! e greatest sorcerer in the world, but was directionless until he was taken up by the Death's Master to take on and destroy Simmurad.
The other characters in the story are no less fascinating. Simmu's mother, Narasen was inflicted with a curse by a spurned sorcerer (would-be lover), but her cleverness saved her. Unfortunately, she was felled by treachery in her moment of weakness. Having struck a deal with the Death's Master, she was bound to serve him as the undead. Lylas, the witch, was the Death's Master's handmaiden. Her schemes drive the story forward. Kassafeh, Simmu's wife and the daughter of a sky elemental, was the key to Simmu's immortality. However she finds herself trapped in her immortality. Ironically, she breaks out by betraying Simmu, thus becoming the key to the destruction of Simmurad.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I honestly could not tell you how many times I have read this book (or the entire series, in fact). While I liked all of the books in the series, Death's Master is the one that has stayed most clearly in my memory. The stories of Zhirem, Kassafeh and Simmu have stayed with me for many years.

For those of you not familiar with Tanith Lee, she writes lush prose and in this series focuses on creating a cycle of stories which interconnect. Although it would be easy to go over the top, she somehow manages to always stay on the good side of going too far. Although any of the books in the Flat Earth series can be read as stand alone novels, I believe that you will be more quickly immersed in her world if you begin with Night's Master (the first in the series).

I first read it as a pre-teen (snuck home from a garage sale). However, it is not for nothing that these books are called "adult fantasy". Caution recommended for younger readers.
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Format: Paperback
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 that the land will be healed when Narasen, who is barren, bears a child. After the people of Merh have sent all the men they can muster to Narasen, she seeks escape by asking the witch Lylas, Death's Handmaiden, to arrange a deal with Death.

Uhlume, the Lord of Death, gives Narasen a child, but the price she must pay is heavy: after giving birth, she must remain under the Earth with Uhlume for 1000 years. The rest of the story follows Simmu, Narasen's hermaphrodite child; his friend Zhirem, whose mother also made a deal with Death; Lylas, who assigns nine virgins to guard the waters of immortality; the demon Azhrarn, who can't help but meddle in human affairs; and other characters that've unfortunately come to the attention of demons.

It's hard to truly like any of these characters, which, I suspect, is the main reason that the FLAT EARTH books are not universally loved. Tanith Lee's characters are all well-developed, but they don't give back.
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