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The Poison Master Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; 2nd edition (Jan. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553584987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553584981
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 195 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,030,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Gutsy Alivet Dee sets out to save her sister from alien slavery but ends up rescuing much more in this fantastic, whirlwind tale. A descendent of 16th-century mathematician and alchemist John Dee, Alivet resides on a planet known as Latent Emanation, a foggy fen where humans live under the rule of the cruel Lords of Night. When the Lords select Alivet's twin, Inki, to serve as their slave, Alivet, a budding apothecary and alchemist who longs to discover the origin of her people, vows to pay Inki's "unbonding" fee. Before she can save enough money, a bizarre accident puts her life in jeopardy and leads her to form a tenuous alliance with the Poison Master, a secretive man possessing red eyes, an intimate knowledge of deadly toxins and a desire to find the substance that will annihilate the Lords. During her quest, Alivet visits two richly imagined planets: Hathes, a bitterly cold place where assassination is commonplace; and Nethes, a hot planet where Alivet first learns of Earth. The book's various cultures and characters are fascinating, but what makes this story unusual is its historical breadth and its consideration of the spiritual and supernatural. Part alien adventure and part existential exploration, this top-notch tale establishes Williams (Empire of Bones) as an author to watch.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

On the planet Latent Emanation, alchemist Alivet saves every penny she earns for her sister's unbonding fee. Unfortunately, her plan to save her sister from the Night Lords crumbles when a client dies as a result of one of her formulations. Thereafter, on the run from the Night Lords' human minions, the Unpriests, she is offered a chance for survival by the mysterious figure she had noticed following her around the city--Ghairen, a poison master from Hathes. He needs her alchemical skills to find the drug to destroy the Night Lords. She agrees to help, but then, as a virtual prisoner in Ghairen's home, told conflicting stories by everyone she meets, she becomes unsure of whom to trust. She remains certain, however, that destroying the Night Lords will free her sister, and she determines that that is what she will do, whatever the truth of the tales she has been told. The alchemical and kabbalistic underpinnings of Williams' fantasy world give it an edge over similar rescue sagas. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In "The Poison Master" Liz Williams, author of two "social-science fiction" novels ("The Ghost Sister," "Empire of Bones"), now turns her cynical attention to borderline fantasy. Dedicated to Jane Austen, William Burroughs, and Jack Vance (you hardly need to have the Vance connection spelled out for you), the author cleverly weaves together speculations about a historical figure, Elizabethan alchemist-astrologer John Dee, and the fictional Alivet Dee, a distant ancestor, who works as an alchemist on a planet called "Latent Emanation."
Plot mechanations soon throw her into the arms of the mysterious, witty poison-master Ghairen from yet another planet, Hathes, and soon Alivet is drawn up in a plot to free her world of the mysterious Lords of Night and their collaborators, the "Unpriests"--and more than incidentally to free her twin sister Inki.
She's attracted to Ghairen, but can she trust him? Williams spins out the answers cleverly, gorgeously, giddily. The byplay between Alivet and Ghairen is to treasure. Her descriptive passages are lush. Her prose dances and sparkles and the characters (unsurprisingly considering the debt to Austen) seem believable and all too human.
Williams just keeps getting better and better.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Described in the biographical paragraph in the back of the book as the daughter of a stage musician and gothic novelist, it sounds like Liz Williams could be a character in one of her own books.
I recommend this book particularly for those who enjoy the Baroque and who have a strong ability to visual the scenes described. The alchemical imagery meshes well with the culture that has arisen from the combination of Elizabethan era dessenters and alien culture. There's also a great sense of the theatrical in the descriptions of the Anubes-- enigmatic natives of the planet where the humans find themselves, and the great palaces where certain indentured humans labor to provide their alien masters with subtle pleasures.
Also there is a darkly humorous take on the traditional gothic novel in the relationship between the lead characters and the situation the heroine discovers herself in for the last part of the novel. While serious in intent, the author is quite playful in execution of parts of this novel.
All in all a definite reading pleasure.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Centuries ago on the orb Latent Emanation, the alien Lords of the Night made the planet their own with 1,000 humans as their servant slaves. In the present, the Lords rule with an iron grip abetted by the human Unpriests who willingly serve their masters while the rest of humanity swells as second class citizens, knowing that anytime they can be enbonded, forced to directly serve their masters.
Alchemist and apothecary Alivet Dee is saving her money to get her sister Inki unbonded but her goal seems futile when one of her clients dies and she is wanted for murder. On the run she meets Fifth Grade poisoner Ari Mahedi Ghairen of the planet Hathes who needs her help in destroying the Lords of the Night. She travels with him to his own world where they devise a poison that might free her world of her enemies. However, first she must discover if Ari is the friend he appears or the enemy that will kill her as predicted to her by one whom knows him very well.
Liz Williams has created a very innovating, cutting edge science fiction thriller that starts off at supersonic speed and turns into faster than light until the plot attains a satisfying if startling climax. The hero is an enigma who readers never really get to understand but the heroine endears herself to the audience from the start with her plans to reclaim her sister from indentured servitude. THE POISON MASTER is science fiction at its thought provoking very best.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Poison Master is the story of an alchemist, Dee. She lives on a faraway planet with weird creatures and strange beliefs. Dee is trying to save money to rescue her sister from the hands of the Lords when one of her clients suddenly dies after taking some of Dee's drug concoctions. Dee does the only thing she can - she runs ... straight into the arms of a stranger from another planet, Ari, who says he can save her. But, there is something a little odd about Ari, the Poison Master.
Despite it all, Dee agrees to help him destroy the Lords and travels to Ari's planet, when his household help tells Dee that Ari is actually planning to poison her after they achieve their goal. The question is, whom should Dee believe, since she really knows neither party very well.
Liz Williams demonstrates sophisticated story telling skills. The dialogue runs smoothly and the story is captivating. In addition, she has some imagination! One of the reasons it took me so long to get into this book was due to all the strange references and situations/creatures that Dee runs into to. There is a small parallel story, running back to Earth's 16th century which adds interest, and though it was probably not really necessary, it completes the story.
Four stars for imagination, writing and characters. I would have liked a smoother storyline transition and more characters to give a fully fledged fantasy.
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