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Night’s Master: Tales from the Flat Earth, Book One | [Tanith Lee]

Night’s Master: Tales from the Flat Earth, Book One

Long 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. Azhrarn, Lord of the Demons and the Darkness, was the one who ruled the night, and many mortal lives were changed because of his cruel whimsy. And yet, Azhrarn held inside his demon heart a profound mystery which would change the very fabric of the Flat Earth forever.
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Publisher's Summary

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 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. Azhrarn, Lord of the Demons and the Darkness, was the one who ruled the night, and many mortal lives were changed because of his cruel whimsy. And yet, Azhrarn held inside his demon heart a profound mystery which would change the very fabric of the Flat Earth forever.

Come within this ancient world of brilliant darkness and beauty, of glittering palaces and wondrous elegant beings, of cruel passions and undying love. Discover the exotic wonder that is the Flat Earth.

©1978 Tanith Lee (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (40 )
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  •  
    Kat Hooper St. Johns, FL, United States 04-10-12
    Kat Hooper St. Johns, FL, United States 04-10-12

    Kat at FanLit

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A gothic fairytale"
    Any additional comments?

    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 hate and evil began to prevail, and earth was near death, but the gods showed no inclination to save humanity. Azhrarn, Prince of Demons and Night’s Master, was the proudest and most powerful demon of all. When he discovered a beautiful orphaned human child and brought him to live in the underworld, the destiny of the earth was changed forever.

    Tanith Lee’s Night’s Master, the first of her FLAT EARTH series, is a collection of connected stories set in Lee’s unique world. The first story recounts Azhrarn’s discovery and love for the human child he finds. Each of the following tales is related, perhaps by a character, an object, or a theme. Together, the stories weave a vast dark mythology covering thousands of years. With vivid imagery and elegant prose, they show demons meddling in human affairs, humbling men who exalt themselves, and using magic to harness the powers of music, love, and joy as well as grief, hate, and death.

    Night’s Master is dark, yet richly luxuriant and full of passion. The writing is gorgeous. There’s not much more that a lover of excellent fantasy could ask for, though some readers may wish for a more obvious hero to love. You won’t find one here. Instead, you’ll feel the decline of civilization and the degeneration into hopelessness as a capricious demon wields magic against powerless men. But because the demons admire beauty, there’s also a gothic splendor that permeates the novel. In many ways the setting and characters of FLAT EARTH are reminiscent of Jack Vance’s DYING EARTH stories, which isn’t surprising considering that Vance was one of Tanith Lee’s major influences.

    Night’s Master has just been produced in audio by Audible Frontiers. The narrator, Susan Duerden, did a great job with the dialogue — she has a lovely resonant voice which is a good fit for this dark fairytale. Unfortunately, her reading occasionally takes on a noticeable sing-song quality during the narrative. I hope this will not be as conspicuous in the second FLAT EARTH novel, Death’s Master.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Wills Laramie, WY USA 04-23-12
    B. Wills Laramie, WY USA 04-23-12 Member Since 2000

    malfan

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    "an excellent reading of a fantasy classic"

    I had enjoyed Tanith Lee's masterful twisted mythologies when I read them in the past, but Susan Duerden's voices really brought the characters to life. I particularly liked the lesser demons, and appreciated her ability to make clear which character was speaking.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cammerel ALACHUA, FL, United States 04-10-12
    Cammerel ALACHUA, FL, United States 04-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "As intended"
    What made the experience of listening to Night’s Master the most enjoyable?

    I've always loved this book. I mean, it's written like a series of short fables that weave together perfectly. It's meant to leave you longing and curious, because that's what fables do. Anyone expecting this story to outline every single detail like a badly written four book series made famous by desperate mothers is going to be disappointed.
    This is a poet's tale, a lover's story. It's meant for dreamers and people that read between the lines and enjoy the spaces more.
    It's perfect.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite is Zorayas, by far. Her story is one of the most troubling and intriguing. She's made powerful by image and malice, yet it was her birthright. But really every single character in this is lovable and enjoyable.


    What does Susan Duerden bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She's a good reader. I've listened to lots of audio books and come across many awful readers. And while she does make you slightly sleepy, the story should be enough to enchant you into staying awake. I listen to it right after I wake up, and have had no problems staying aware.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    It's a fable, it's a myth, it's a tale. It's also a very unique gem.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't have eternity to write my praise for this book. Otherwise, I would gladly spend it. But I think Tanith Lee does that herself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Bushell Melbourne, Australia 12-22-13
    Tammy Bushell Melbourne, Australia 12-22-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Narration ruined it."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different narrator.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tanith Lee again?

    Yes, providing it was a different narrator. I read Law of the Wolf Tower years ago and loved it, but unfortunately I can't find any more of that series in the Audible library.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Duerden?

    ANYONE! The tone of Susan's voice is so nervous, minor, and anticipatory, and made me feel constantly on-edge, when I would have preferred it to be more relaxed and conversational. I am really disappointed that I couldn't get past the narration to listen to the story, and no offence to Susan, but I think the choice of her as the narrator did no favours to Tanith in selling the Audible version of the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Park Ridge, Australia 04-09-12
    Gary Park Ridge, Australia 04-09-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Whilst I love a dark story that ventures into realms seldom explored by novelists, this isn't narrative that maintained my attention. Broken into mini-narratives that read like fables, the reader is frustrated by the lack of flow and cohesion.


    What could Tanith Lee have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    A reader needs to be engaged by a narrative that draws them into the characters psyche and coerces them to read the next chapter anticipating how the protagonist will be thwarted, loved, endangered or become the victor. Tanith took too long between chapters to draw her threads together and failed to develop her characters.


    Which character – as performed by Susan Duerden – was your favorite?

    The concept of a Demon Lord who plagues the world with his mischief is not new, but begs to be told and re-told. Oh to hear more about his origins, motives and relationships.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Ypsilanti, MI, United States 07-10-12
    A. Ypsilanti, MI, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent book, repetitive narration"
    How could the performance have been better?

    This book's narrator tends to sap the story of its power with her repetitive, very contrived sounding style of performance. She reads each sentence in the exact same sequence of intonation, over and over again. If I was musical I could literally chart the notes for you - the same 5 or 6, again and again, sentence after sentence. Very tiring to listen to. I suppose some may find this sing-song and comforting, or compelling in some way; but for me, it just blankets the book's rich words with a monochrome, monotonous feel.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read this book twice before on paper, and it's one of Tanith Lee's best. I highly recommend the entire Flat Earth series from her. Definitely read it in actual book form if you can, though, to better hear the varied voices of each character: the audiobook performance may drown these out for you.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. 07-10-12
    A. 07-10-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Excellent book, repetitive narration"
    How could the performance have been better?

    This book's narrator tends to sap the story of its power with her repetitive, very contrived sounding style of performance. She reads each sentence in the exact same sequence of intonation, over and over again. If I was musical I could literally chart the notes for you - the same 5 or 6, again and again, sentence after sentence. Very tiring to listen to. I suppose some may find this sing-song and comforting, or compelling in some way; but for me, it just blankets the book's rich words with a monochrome, monotonous feel.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read this book twice before on paper, and it's one of Tanith Lee's best. I highly recommend the entire Flat Earth series from her. Definitely read it in actual book form if you can, though, to better hear the varied voices of each character: the audiobook performance may drown these out for you.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Radford Arlington, VA, United States 03-31-12
    Radford Arlington, VA, United States 03-31-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not sure why others gave this high marks"

    This is a collection of short stories linked together by the main character Azhrarn. There was one story I found particularly enjoyable and it was the longest in the book about a girl who was the daughter of a King but her father was killed by other kingdoms. I kind of wish that would have been the overall story instead but alas I guess that is why the title is Tales from the Flat Earth, with the emphasis on Tales.

    The writing is okay but I just couldn't get over the fact that it felt disjointed. While she does blend in different mythologies and tales from other cultures, it failed to grasp this listner. Most, not all, of the stories felt superficial and lacking in details (to which the author eases herself out by writing in that the details are not known.) It felt lazy in my opinion.

    I couldn't stand the Narrator. The main reason for this was her rhythmatic way of reading. She does an ok job with the voices but the overall tone is boring and made me want to go to sleep.

    IMHO, I believe this book would be targeted towards early teens. It's simple enough to follow and enough to let them enjoy the fantasy.

    I personally won't be continuing the series.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Susan
    Nottingham, United Kingdom
    4/12/13
    Overall
    "This is almost impossible to get hold of as a book"

    I read the second book in the series when I was 17 and became obcessed with getting hold of the rest of them. Until I found them on Audible 12 years later I had no luck!



    But this book is a treat if you like dark adult fantasy. The themes are put forward with a sensitive abivulance to the subject of morality and the sensuality of the writing is brought out more than I had thought possible by Susan Deurden's reading of it. The audiobook is hypnotic and drops you into a fully realised fantasy world inhabited by apathetic gods, alien demons and the mortals who are their pawns.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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