THE DOLL'S HOUSE is the arc that Gaiman himself says is where he realised what he wanted to do with the characters and where he wanted to go with the SANDMAN story. This edition begins with two stories that both stand apart from the rest of the series, but that also both have significant influence on THE DOLL'S HOUSE storyline and beyond. The first, "The Sound of Her Wings" introduces Dream's big sister in a profound and moving tale about the value of spending a day with Death as she goes about her business sending people to their next life. The next tale introduces Nada, Dream's doomed mortal love, who will play a significant part in a later arc, SEASONS OF MISTS. Then, THE DOLL'S HOUSE begins, a tale involving escaped dreams and nightmares, a human vortex and her granmother who had spent the bulk of her life asleep (see the previous PRELUDES AND NOCTURNS), and Dream's quest to prevent the dissolution of his kingdom. What makes Gaiman's writing so unique is that not only does he reject the comic book obligatory of big fist-fights to SAVE THE WORLD (and all that), but that Dream is not even the central character in these stories. Instead, Rose Walker is. It is she, not Dream, who is threatened and who goes on the emotional roller-coaster and it is to find out what happens to her that the reader keeps reading. In fact, Dream - the "hero" of this title - at what point nearly kills her to save his kingdom! Magnificent writing, magical artistry, this story is an absolute must. Buy it. Buy several. It makes a great gift.