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Fantasy Masterworks

Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams (Fantasy Masterworks) by C. L. Moore - Risingshadow

Granted, many elements are obvious fantasy, but they are so threaded with accurate detail and re-imagined fact that it is easy to become seduced by the story's illusions. Hromic On the face of it, it is almost impossible to classify it as a book of fantasy. So much of it is rooted so squarely, and so beautifully, in small-town mid-America, that it could simply be a book of Literature with a capital L. It might well be the ultimate book to hand to someone who dismisses all speculative fiction as a child of a lesser literary god.

It is possible to have a science fiction book be lyrical, philosophical, intricate, possessed of both enough depth to drown in and enough wit to do so while smiling. This is such a book. Hromic These books, now reissued, succeed by quite simply taking a land which never really existed and treating it in such a matter-of-fact way that the reader is practically tricked into accepting the most outlandish magicks and there are plenty of outlandish magicks in these books at face value, and without blinking an eyelid.

It feels like you're reading actual historical fiction. Oriental towers and odalisques. Medieval castles and haunted woods. These are but some of the fictional realms of Clark Ashton Smith, worlds of dark wonder and necromancy; familiar paths that imperceptibly veer into other realities where horror and often death await. He is modestly happy, living in Vienna, fairly lonely but otherwise in fine shape. He meets Paul and India Tate, a slightly older couple who sweep him into their life.

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Joe is fascinated by the two of them: their conversation, their imagination, and, inevitably, India's sexiness. All is well for awhile, until Paul leaves on a trip, and India and Joe spend enough time together to realize their mutual attraction. Before long, events take the expected turn until Paul discovers the affair and he dies of a heart attack. But then Joe and India find themselves tormented by Paul's malicious ghost. Of a larcenous turn, the two confederates match their differing if mutual skills to thievery and mercenary employment, usually with serio-comedic results.

Written with verve and wit, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser became one of the most original and enduring teams to grace fantasy fiction. Charged by the sinister old enchanter Doctor Meliboe with delivering a message to a secret band of conspirators, he finds himself in trouble. The power behind the throne, the architect of the elaborate myth of Gloriana that promotes and maintains this Golden Age, is her trusted Chancellor, Lord Montfallcon, who endured great personal sacrifice to survive the intrigues and purges of, and finally triumph over, Hern's corrupted court.

Though Beauty is able to sidestep tragedy, she soon finds herself embarked on an adventure of vast consequences. For it becomes clear that the enchanted places of this fantastic world—a place not unlike our own—are in danger and must be saved before it is too late. In spare, vivid, hauntingly poetic prose, this long-out-of-print classic tells the tale of a young prince who dares to brave the deep and mysterious forest to find the land of Faerie—and from that magical realm bring back the Elf-Princess as his bride. Elric of Melnibone is the haunted, treacherous and doomed albino sorcerer-prince.

An introspective weakling in thrall to his black-bladed, soul-eating sword, Stormbringer, he is yet a hero whose bloody adventures and wanderings through brooding, desolate lands leads inexorably to his decisive intervention in the war between the forces of Law and Chaos. From the moment when they first met, in the commission of the same, audacious theft, Fafhrd, the giant barbarian warrior from the Cold Waste, and the Gray Mouser, master thief, novice wizard and expert swordsman, felt no ordinary affinity.

Forged over the gleam of sharpened steel as, back to back, they faced their foes, theirs was a friendship that would take them from adventure to misadventure across all of Nehwon, from the caves of the inner earth to the waves of the outer sea. But it was in the dark alleys and noisome back streets of the great fog-shrouded city of Lankhmar that they became legends. Morgon, Prince of Hed, wants only to rule and work the land of his birth as best he can, but he is faced by a very different challenge from that of his ancestors. The stars have marked him out and he must wander strange, foreign lands full of untamed magic, and confront riddling wraiths and mysterious harpists at the behest of the all-knowing High One.

But his is a perilous quest, involving grave danger, to himself, his promised bride, his land and his people. This volume contains The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind, the complete Riddle-Master trilogy, which is among the most respected and popular fantasies of recent years. And so one day Si steps out of his twentieth-century, New York apartment and finds himself back in January But has he really been back in time?

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The portfolio of tintype photographs and sketches that he brings back convince the government. But all Si wants is to return…. Mistress of Mistresses was the first published novel in E. And magic, of course, is a reality. Mezentius had ruled the Three Kingdoms with a firm hand, but his legitimate heir is a weakling, frightened of the power of his half-brother, Duke Barganax, and of that of the terrifying Horius Parry, Vicar of Rerek.

But then Parry decides that Lessingham must die. Her problem is in fact symbolic of the hypocrisy of her entire court. While her life is meant to mirror that of her nation — an image of purity, virtue, enlightenment and prosperity — the truth is that her peaceful empire is kept secure by her wicked chancellor Monfallcon and his corrupt network of spies and murderers, the most sinister of whom is Captain Quire, who is commissioned to seduce Gloriana and thus bring down Albion and the entire empire. When young Alvar Alvarson is evicted from his farm for non-payment of taxes, he sets out to make his own way in the world.


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Charged by the sinister old enchanter Doctor Meliboe with delivering a message to a secret band of conspirators, he finds himself caught up in a plot against the ruling military caste. Colourful characters and swashbuckling adventures abound as Alvar makes his way from adolescence to manhood. After their legendary adventures in the northern wastes and beyond, Fafhrd, the giant barbarian warrior, and the Gray Mouser, master thief, novice wizard and expert swordsman, are back home in Lankhmar again, and looking for an easy time.

But Lankhmar is under attack from a strange horde of invaders, including a two-headed dragon and an army of miniature wanderers…Once those threats are seen off, a quest to the farthest reaches of Nehwon is in prospect. And then, in the last book of their adventures, Fafhrd goes sailing through the clouds, and the Mouser takes to the seas, before we finally bid a fond, if sad, farewell to Lankhmar.

Available from: The Book Depository — Amazon. Gradually Joe falls in love with India, but Paul finds out — before he suddenly drops dread. And now Joe has two deaths on his conscience and another voice calling from beyond the grave…. From the vampire-haunted alleyways of mediaeval Averoigne to the shining spires of dying Zothique, Clark Ashton Smith weaves his literary sorcery, transporting us to forgotten realms of necromancies and nightmares, lost worlds and other dimensions. Smith virtually stopped writing stories in , for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, but he left behind a unique legacy of fantasy fiction which is as imaginative and decadent today as when it was first published in the pulp magazines more than half a century ago.

The Elder Isles, located in what is now the Bay of Biscay off the the coast of Old Gaul, are made up of ten contending kingdoms, all vying with each other for control. At the centre of much of the intrigue is Casmir, the ruthless and ambitious king of Lyonnesse. His beautiful but otherworldly daughter, Suldrun, is part of his plans.

He intends to cement an alliance or two by marrying her well. But Suldrun is as determined as he and defies him.

Casmir coldly confines her to the overgrown garden that she loves to frequent, and it is here that meets her love and her tragedy unfolds. Political intrigue, magic, war, adventure and romance are interwoven in a rich and sweeping tale set in a brilliantly realized fabled land. Peace is a spellbinding, brilliant tour de force of the imagination. The melancholy memoir of Alden Dennis Weer, an embittered old man living out his last days in a small midwestern town, the novel reveals a miraculous dimension as the narrative unfolds. But this is a changed world, and medieval Europe is dominated by the threat from the Byzantine Empire.

Sforza, the Vampire Duke, marshals his forces for his long-planned attack on Florence, and Byzantium is on the march. A mercenary, the exiled heir to the Byzantine throne, a young woman physician forced to flee Florence, and a Welsh wizard, the nephew of Owain Gly Dwr, seem to have no common goals but together they wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and make him Richard III.

Prince Corum is the last of the Vadhagh, his family and people brutally slain by the Mabden. Vowing to wreak vengeance on the killers, Corum sets out on his terrible quest only to fall in love with a beautiful Mabden woman, and to confront the fury of the Lords of Chaos. His epic struggle against them and his ultimate victory is only bought at a considerable price. Jirel of Joiry, the first of the great female warriors, the beautiful commander of the strongest fortress in the kingdom, would face any danger to defend her beloved country. She wielded her bright sword against mighty armies, the sinister magic of evil sorcerers and fearsome castles guarded by the dead, even daring to descend into Hell itself…Northwest Smith, the scarred and weathered outlaw, the legendary hero of the spaceways, forced to confront the terrible mysteries, the terrifying, mythic monsters of the universe…Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith are C.

The sword Tyrfing has been broken to prevent it striking at the roots of Yggdrasil, the great tree that binds earth, heaven and hell together…but now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves, who are heavily involved in their war against the trolls, and only Scafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade the mighty ice-giant, Bolverk, to make the sword Thor broke whole again. But things are never easy, and along the way Scafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who took his place in the world of men.

A superb dark fantasy of the highest, and most Norse, order The Broken Sword is a fantasy masterpiece. From the beasts of the pit to the endless terror of the void.

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A manuscript is found: filled with small, precise writing and smelling of pit-water, it tells the story of an old recluse and his strange home — and its even stranger, jade-green double, seen by the recluse on an otherworldly plain where gigantic gods and monsters roam. Soon his more earthly home is no less terrible than this bizarre vision, as swine-like creatures boil from a cavern beneath the ground and besiege it. But a still greater horror will face the recluse — more inexorable, merciless and awful than any creature that can be fought or killed.

When Brian Duffy, an ageing soldier of fortune, is recruited in Venice by a strange old man to work as a bouncer in Vienna at an inn where the fabulous Herzwesten beer is brewed, everything seems straightforward. But his journey is far from it. Pursued and attacked from all sides, guarded and guided by creatures of myth, Duffy is no sooner in Vienna than the city is besieged by the turkish armies if Suleiman. The Elder Isles — an ancient land where chivalry and the realm of fairie exist side by side. A land of mystery, strange beauty, high adventure and arcane magic.

Kings are at war, opposing magicians devise ever more cunning stratagems.

Fantasy Masterworks

It is a land where princesses and changelings both can become embroiled in political rivalries and the quest for the grail. The Gollancz Black Books have proved to be an immensely successful formula for getting well loved stories into the hands of people who also love well made books. The earth has grown old, her landscapes mellow, her people lost in abrooding dream.


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For instance, the second and third volume of Jack Vance's wonderful Lyonesse trilogy will be published next month the list doesn't mention it yet but Amazon does in a single page volume.