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Night’s Master

Tales from the Flat Earth, Book One
Narrated by: Susan Duerden
Series: Tales From the Flat Earth, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 12-04-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kat Hooper
  • 10-04-12

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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • B. Wills
  • 23-04-12

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cammerel
  • 10-04-12

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bet
  • 21-12-14

While not for everyone....

Any additional comments?

Tanith Lee is to fantasy what Siouxsie Sioux is to punk. A darker beauty.

My first experience of Tanith Lee was finding a copy of Red As Blood back in the early 80's at Forbidden Planet in NYC. I remember sitting on the floor and scouring the shelves for a special book...money was tight and I wanted to pick just the right book and that was it! It began a life long love of this amazing writer...

Tanith's work is dark and sensual. It has a grace and beauty that is purely imaginative. Her writing is like poetry...strong on imagery and ideas. She creates moods and dreams.

I was happy to revisit this world and I thought Susan Duerden's narration was good for this particular series, but I understand why others didn't quite get it - I think they are more familiar and comfortable with modern narration, but this it more like classical myth story telling, so I do believe strongly she is what this piece requires for the proper tone. This series has the feel of old myths and legends and the point of view from the darker side has a fascinating appeal.

Tanith Lee's books are hard to find in the USA, so I hope this helps bring her to a wider audience...she writes so beautifully.

Really looking forward to the rest of the series and anything else by her that Audible adds in the future.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Soverybored
  • 16-08-17

this narrator's cadence kills me

love this book, adore Tanith Lee. was excited about this audiobook, but narrator is infuriating. the cadence of her spoken word is predictable, so I found myself distracted by the way she speaks, vs paying attention to the story. thankfully, audible accepts audiobook returns.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie
  • 06-01-17

Love the author- but the narrator - YIKES!

I'm a fan of Tanith Lee's works. However, this narrator does not so much bring the story to life as she puts the listener to sleep. Each sentence has the same rhythm over and over and over and over and over and over and over......You get the point.

I gave the story three stars- based on Lee's other works, but I have no idea whether it was good or bad.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • azhriaz
  • 18-05-15

One of my favorite books of all time

So glad to have this classic available in this media. Tanith Lee is a master at painting vast landscapes with carefully selected words. A must read for any dark fantasy enthusiast.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A.
  • 10-07-12

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Tammy Bushell
  • 22-12-13

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.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JLC72
  • 06-09-19

Had to return because of narrator

I love Tanith Lee, and this is a great book, but I could not deal with the horrible, sing-song narration. The narrator is fine when reading character dialog, but when not she uses the exact same tone pattern on every line of text regardless of whether it fits that line of text or not. It completely pulled me out of the story every time.