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Death's Master [Hardcover]

Tanith Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2010 Tales from the Flat Earth
"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 the Earth was Flat, beautiful indifferent Gods lived in the airy Upperearth realm above, curious passionate demons lived in the exotic Underearth realm below, and mortals were relegated to exist in the middle.

Uhlume, Lord of Death, second of the Lords of Darkness, King of Shadow and Pallor, makes an unusual bargain which sets in motion an intricate sequence of events that entangle men and gods, queens and kings, sorcerers and witches, and lowly wanderers. When the secret to immortality falls into human hands, dark magic and wickedness are unleashed, testing the bounds of mortal love and sanity, and questioning the nature and purpose of life itself.

Come within this ancient world of brilliant darkness and beauty, of glittering palaces and wondrous elegant beings, of cruel passions and undying love.

Rediscover the exotic wonder that is the Flat Earth.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Death's Master Jan. 22 2002
By KD
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Master of Death faces off with the Demon Lord July 17 1998
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing else compares Feb. 1 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read this volume several times. Each time I read it, it moves me beyond what mortal life can do. Through the first half of the book, I feel light and carefree as if it strips my sorrows. After the end, I drip into the bleakest, blackest melancholy, despair unlike any other. After a period, My despondence lifts and I feel free. I am cleansed of all human pressures and woes. I highly value the tome for it's pure unadulterated emotions.
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death's Master ultimately clutched me by the heart and reeled me into spirals of emotions, reviving deep regions within which I almost doubted I had. The characters are so magnificently described that you actually able to feel at one with them, experiencing their joys and weeping when tragic irony had its will (the misfortunes of beloved Zhirek and Simmu...).
This is definately one of Tanith Lee's most brilliant ventures yet.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death's Master Jan. 22 2002
By KD - Published on Amazon.com
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.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master of Death faces off with the Demon Lord July 17 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
The other questions addressed include, why do people chose to do good, to the point of becoming saints? Is it because they are afraid of being evil? What is evil? ! And so on...
The story is of course, a LOT more complicat! ed than that. After all, it is about how unusual people dealt with unusual circumstances. I totally loved it. It's a great example of Tanith Lee's work, it's brilliant and if I had more space, I will keep on babbling on about how wonderful this book is.
If you've never read Tanith Lee's stuff, this could be a great intoduction for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the Flat Earth books. April 1 2007
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
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.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This volume is unexpressibly beautiful work of somber art. Oct. 6 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death's Master ultimately clutched me by the heart and reeled me into spirals of emotions, reviving deep regions within which I almost doubted I had. The characters are so magnificently described that you actually able to feel at one with them, experiencing their joys and weeping when tragic irony had its will (the misfortunes of beloved Zhirek and Simmu...).
This is definately one of Tanith Lee's most brilliant ventures yet.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing else compares Feb. 1 2000
By Mordred_4_4@yahoo.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read this volume several times. Each time I read it, it moves me beyond what mortal life can do. Through the first half of the book, I feel light and carefree as if it strips my sorrows. After the end, I drip into the bleakest, blackest melancholy, despair unlike any other. After a period, My despondence lifts and I feel free. I am cleansed of all human pressures and woes. I highly value the tome for it's pure unadulterated emotions.
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