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The Secret Books of Paradys I & II

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2-in-1 edition, 401 pages The Book of the Damned, c. 1988 (0879514086) The Book of the Beast, c. 1988 (0879514175) The strange and the tormented dwell in Paradys - prowling its dark streets and twisted alleyways, passing the endless hours in the city's elegant mansions and smoke-tarnished inns, wandering in moldering graveyards and the stark surrounding countryside. For the l 2-in-1 edition, 401 pages The Book of the Damned, c. 1988 (0879514086) The Book of the Beast, c. 1988 (0879514175) The strange and the tormented dwell in Paradys - prowling its dark streets and twisted alleyways, passing the endless hours in the city's elegant mansions and smoke-tarnished inns, wandering in moldering graveyards and the stark surrounding countryside. For the land here is bound by a timeless, soul-chilling magic, and that power has cast its spell over all who have ever lived in this foreboding and dangerous place. So come to Paradys, and witness that city's life and history through the eyes of its provocative and perverse citizens - a darkly fascinating odyssey as only World Fantasy Award winner Tanith Lee could imagine it. Journey back to an era of opulent salons and hopeless duels without honor - a time when it is fashionable among the idle rich to dabble in the occult. But in the case of one troubled man, such dabblings awaken an obsessive love for a mistress of seductive terror - a being who may well prove capable of draining his talent, his lifeblood, his very essence away ... Venture into a medieval Paradys held siege by the plague - a city wherein a young woman, betrayed by her own family, is forced to face perils far more horrifying than the dread disease. For after all, the plague only claims its victims' lives ... Enter the city of today and meet a writer who is lured to a fateful assignation with a man pursued by Death's dark shadow - only to find herself trapped by a sorcery as ancient and mutable as Egypt's ever-shifting sands; Then travel back to the earliest days of Paradys and the Roman occupation, when the gift of a mysterious Assyrian amulet - the origins of which had been long lost even then - marks a family for doom. For the curse of the amulet follows them down through the generations, destroying not only those in the direct line, but all who are brave enough, or foolish enough, to love them ... Includes The Book of the Damned (three novellas) and The Book the Beast (a novel).


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2-in-1 edition, 401 pages The Book of the Damned, c. 1988 (0879514086) The Book of the Beast, c. 1988 (0879514175) The strange and the tormented dwell in Paradys - prowling its dark streets and twisted alleyways, passing the endless hours in the city's elegant mansions and smoke-tarnished inns, wandering in moldering graveyards and the stark surrounding countryside. For the l 2-in-1 edition, 401 pages The Book of the Damned, c. 1988 (0879514086) The Book of the Beast, c. 1988 (0879514175) The strange and the tormented dwell in Paradys - prowling its dark streets and twisted alleyways, passing the endless hours in the city's elegant mansions and smoke-tarnished inns, wandering in moldering graveyards and the stark surrounding countryside. For the land here is bound by a timeless, soul-chilling magic, and that power has cast its spell over all who have ever lived in this foreboding and dangerous place. So come to Paradys, and witness that city's life and history through the eyes of its provocative and perverse citizens - a darkly fascinating odyssey as only World Fantasy Award winner Tanith Lee could imagine it. Journey back to an era of opulent salons and hopeless duels without honor - a time when it is fashionable among the idle rich to dabble in the occult. But in the case of one troubled man, such dabblings awaken an obsessive love for a mistress of seductive terror - a being who may well prove capable of draining his talent, his lifeblood, his very essence away ... Venture into a medieval Paradys held siege by the plague - a city wherein a young woman, betrayed by her own family, is forced to face perils far more horrifying than the dread disease. For after all, the plague only claims its victims' lives ... Enter the city of today and meet a writer who is lured to a fateful assignation with a man pursued by Death's dark shadow - only to find herself trapped by a sorcery as ancient and mutable as Egypt's ever-shifting sands; Then travel back to the earliest days of Paradys and the Roman occupation, when the gift of a mysterious Assyrian amulet - the origins of which had been long lost even then - marks a family for doom. For the curse of the amulet follows them down through the generations, destroying not only those in the direct line, but all who are brave enough, or foolish enough, to love them ... Includes The Book of the Damned (three novellas) and The Book the Beast (a novel).

30 review for The Secret Books of Paradys I & II

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jammies

    It's almost a pity that Ms. Lee is such a wordsmith. Sentences such as "On the streets the rain attacked a hurrying umbrella world of wet black tortoise-backs." kept me reading for the sheer joy of the language. Unfortunately, only a few of the characters are three-dimensional and mildly likeable, there is essentially one plot for all the novellas and stories, and this is the most unsexy sex-laden book I've read yet, with loads of romance-novel descriptions and the basic attitude that sex is nas It's almost a pity that Ms. Lee is such a wordsmith. Sentences such as "On the streets the rain attacked a hurrying umbrella world of wet black tortoise-backs." kept me reading for the sheer joy of the language. Unfortunately, only a few of the characters are three-dimensional and mildly likeable, there is essentially one plot for all the novellas and stories, and this is the most unsexy sex-laden book I've read yet, with loads of romance-novel descriptions and the basic attitude that sex is nasty, wanting sex is weak, and having sex does nothing more than make you evil. For all of her raccoon-shadowed eyes, in these books, she displays a Puritan sense of shame.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Soleil

    How to describe this book? I started off greatly impressed and excited by it. As I read I was awed by Tanith Lee's beautiful and evocative language and descriptions.  However, I kept waiting for that moment in the story where you are  drawn into the plot.. It never happened. Essentially this book is great for lovers of unique and poetic descriptive writing, but doesn't have much value otherwise. I was never pulled in. After a while I started skimming over whole pages because I had simply been sub How to describe this book? I started off greatly impressed and excited by it. As I read I was awed by Tanith Lee's beautiful and evocative language and descriptions.  However, I kept waiting for that moment in the story where you are  drawn into the plot.. It never happened. Essentially this book is great for lovers of unique and poetic descriptive writing, but doesn't have much value otherwise. I was never pulled in. After a while I started skimming over whole pages because I had simply been subjected to too much fancy description and flowery dialog and not enough plot or "fleshing out" so to speak. None of the stories seemed fully realized, almost as if the book wasn't quite ready for publishing, but was hurried along anyway. Not to mention I didn't really like most of the characters, the story arcs never seemed to get wrapped up neatly enough, and over all I just found myself thinking "okay that part is done with.. And I still don't see the point of it." I lost interest by the third novella. To be perfectly honest the book seems like an experiment done for fun on the authoress's part.   Besides which I loath when writers fall back entirely on "scandalous" writing (heavily detailed sex, crime, torture, gore and so forth, blah blah blah.. It becomes mundane) so as to avoid having to actually do the work necessary to give the reader a feeling of darkness, and the end result comes off as cheap. All in all I couldn't help wondering WHY we the readers are supposed to read this. What are getting out of it? Its like reading someone's "guilty pleasure" writing, i.e self indulgent writing done for the fun of it, not for the sake of the reader. Not that I'm saying this book is bad, it's quite well written, it takes talent to pull of so much eloquent description without coming off as amateurish, but it just has no substance. It's like gourmet candy, so to speak.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Madly Jane

    Already read it once this year. Rereading again in honor of Lee, who recently died. So sad. It's probably going to be difficult to believe, considering the nature of some of her work, but I think Tanith Lee really writes about what is good about being human. Paradys is a Gothic, rambling fictional city and there are four distinct works here 1) Stained with Crimson, which I read three times, and still remember from long ago. It left a deep impression on me. 2) Malice in Saffron 3) Empires of Azure Already read it once this year. Rereading again in honor of Lee, who recently died. So sad. It's probably going to be difficult to believe, considering the nature of some of her work, but I think Tanith Lee really writes about what is good about being human. Paradys is a Gothic, rambling fictional city and there are four distinct works here 1) Stained with Crimson, which I read three times, and still remember from long ago. It left a deep impression on me. 2) Malice in Saffron 3) Empires of Azure, and then the final piece, The Book of the Beast, which was my least favorite, probably more for its time period than language or plot. All of these stories are about human desire and how that works, using fantasy and some fairy tales motifs that fall into horror. Very diverse. And well, there are no happy endings, some times there are no endings at all. Lee's language is original, clever, and sometimes ironic. People may not like all of her work, but it is certainly diverse, original, and clever, and I was would say she belongs in that classic group that were forerunners to New Weird and Slipstream fiction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    This is copy 20 of 250 signed numbered copies in a slip case.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    Seth got me interested in giving this book another chance. The 2nd novella was much better than that first piece of dreck that I read years ago. Hopefully I'll like it as much as he did. This book is composed of 2 books, the Book of the Damned and the Book of the Beast. The first book is comprised of 3 novellas. The second book looks like it's composed of 9 short stories but I believe the stories are linked. BOOK OF THE DAMNED Stained with Crimson - I love Tanith Lee's writing but she has this kind Seth got me interested in giving this book another chance. The 2nd novella was much better than that first piece of dreck that I read years ago. Hopefully I'll like it as much as he did. This book is composed of 2 books, the Book of the Damned and the Book of the Beast. The first book is comprised of 3 novellas. The second book looks like it's composed of 9 short stories but I believe the stories are linked. BOOK OF THE DAMNED Stained with Crimson - I love Tanith Lee's writing but she has this kind of mode that's just boring, dramatic and goes absolutely no where (see her novel Eva Fairdeath). This is her writing in that mode. The setting was kind of cool, the writing was nice once in a while, but really no plot and it was very confusing. Malice in Saffron This was much better than the first story. A gender-bending, medieval tale with no magic but definitely some surreal moments. It's dark and at times shocking but it did at least seem to have a plot and resolution. Empires of Azure This was a more modern (probably late 18th century but it's never actually mentioned) gender-bending ghost story that also waxes a bit surreal at times but has a discernable beginning and ending. At times it's very hard to tell who's speaking because of the gender ambiguity and the fact that part of it is a journal but not written in first person and it's being read by someone else. I think a straight journal format in first person would have been much more enjoyable. BOOK OF THE BEAST These 9 short stories are all linked by a single curse that afflicts a family over decades/centuries of time. This seems to be "Tanith's thing". It's similiar to Tales of the Flat Earth but definitely no where as good (but really not much is in my opinion). I liked the stories and the overall story arc, but they didn't blow me away. I didn't really like the mix of real world references and the fantastic made up parts of the setting. I think I would have liked it more if it would have been about horror set in the real world or set in a completely fabricated fantasy world. The mix just didn't really jive for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Plum de Gnome

    Recopila dos volúmenes originalmente editados de forma independiente, el primero a su vez un conjunto de tres relatos largos o novelas cortas. Escritas con la languidez sensual y la riqueza descriptiva del gótico contemporáneo, estas historias se pasean por lo mórbido y lo abyecto y encuentran belleza en la desintegración y la muerte. En el trayecto, de fondo o entre líneas, consideraciones sobre los estereotipos y la identidad de género que en alguna ocasión se pasan a primer plano. Es un modo Recopila dos volúmenes originalmente editados de forma independiente, el primero a su vez un conjunto de tres relatos largos o novelas cortas. Escritas con la languidez sensual y la riqueza descriptiva del gótico contemporáneo, estas historias se pasean por lo mórbido y lo abyecto y encuentran belleza en la desintegración y la muerte. En el trayecto, de fondo o entre líneas, consideraciones sobre los estereotipos y la identidad de género que en alguna ocasión se pasan a primer plano. Es un modo narrativo y una estética que piden tiempo para bucearlos y sacarle partido a su música más allá de la anécdota sobrenatural o el exotismo de manual. Tanith Lee fue una autora muy prolífica y a falta de haber leído otros libros suyos no puedo determinar si este tomo es representativo de su trabajo, pero desde luego encuentro motivos para darle nuevas oportunidades, si el ánimo me vuelve a pedir un veneno de esta estirpe.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    I found these stories a little slow moving; kind of like watching a foreign art film. I did enjoy the way the second group were actually all one story at different points in its time line.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    --Trigger Warning: Rape-- So I'm giving up partway through to write this review. I'd like to make a few points. 1. Brilliant ideas, incredible writing style. This is what initially roped me in. It even inspired me to write prose, which I haven't done in a long time, as I usually write script format for comic projects and role plays. 2. These brilliant ideas are never fully explored. She introduces mysterious artifacts, teasing their power and purpose, and also fascinating characters, only to abando --Trigger Warning: Rape-- So I'm giving up partway through to write this review. I'd like to make a few points. 1. Brilliant ideas, incredible writing style. This is what initially roped me in. It even inspired me to write prose, which I haven't done in a long time, as I usually write script format for comic projects and role plays. 2. These brilliant ideas are never fully explored. She introduces mysterious artifacts, teasing their power and purpose, and also fascinating characters, only to abandon them and move onto another story that she will also abandon part way through. 3. There is an absolutely, unnecessary amount of rape in this. There is no logical or sane reason for there to be that much rape in the some odd 140 pages I read. I find this gravely disappointing coming from a female writer. Usually I only encounter this with male writers. It made it extremely hard to read for me, and that, coupled with the many great ideas she abandons left right and centre all willy-nilly led to me abandoning this book. Maybe I'll finish it in the future. Maybe I won't. I'm very disappointed, as this author has been recommended to me time and time again. I had high hopes (and had already bought the second book)! I won't add this to my reading challenge, cause that would be cheating since I didn't finish it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric Smith

    Tanith Lee has her moments of brilliance, to be sure. Kill the Dead is one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels, which left an impression I've never forgotten. However, this collection is, unfortunately, a bit of a slog. Her characters are well-drawn and interesting, but her writing is a bit too self-indulgent here, and could use a bit of ruthless editing. She seems to value style over narration here, and it doesn't work as well for me. Additionally, her obsession with androgyny becomes a bit Tanith Lee has her moments of brilliance, to be sure. Kill the Dead is one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels, which left an impression I've never forgotten. However, this collection is, unfortunately, a bit of a slog. Her characters are well-drawn and interesting, but her writing is a bit too self-indulgent here, and could use a bit of ruthless editing. She seems to value style over narration here, and it doesn't work as well for me. Additionally, her obsession with androgyny becomes a bit tiresome. The third novelette in this omnibus - Empires of Azure - is probably the best, and has moments of genuine horror. The rest are interesting, but too long. That said, she subtly has the events from earlier stories influence the events of later ones, which was a nice touch. I'll continue with the second part of this omnibus - Books III and IV - and hope she hits that sweet spot again, and lets the master storyteller in her shine through.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Miller

    Sex-filled short stories sounded promising... The writing style made it not fit for consumption. I made some effort, but underneath all that purple prose I found nothing compelling. Characters would just fight for no reason. The sex was either barely mentioned, or written entirely in metaphor. She guides him in rhythm, she’s the ferryman, is her vagina the river Styx? I’m most surprised that Angus Wells’s “Lords of the Sky” is number three on readers also enjoyed... That was one of my favorite fa Sex-filled short stories sounded promising... The writing style made it not fit for consumption. I made some effort, but underneath all that purple prose I found nothing compelling. Characters would just fight for no reason. The sex was either barely mentioned, or written entirely in metaphor. She guides him in rhythm, she’s the ferryman, is her vagina the river Styx? I’m most surprised that Angus Wells’s “Lords of the Sky” is number three on readers also enjoyed... That was one of my favorite fantasy novels, though it’s been about 10 years. I am not surprised that my copy of this book that I got from Goodwill is in such great (unread) condition.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Denise Salazar

    I've read these stories (I suppose I should call them novellas) so many times, and the ones I love best remain Stained With Crimson and Empires of Azure. Paradys is dark, bizarre, strangely magical, a Gothic setting worthy of these stories, whose themes all center around color and an ancient jewel. My favorite lines are from the letter that Andre St Jean writes to Antonina Von Aaron after the start of their affair in Stained with Crimson, in which he also refers to her as "soul of my soul, dark l I've read these stories (I suppose I should call them novellas) so many times, and the ones I love best remain Stained With Crimson and Empires of Azure. Paradys is dark, bizarre, strangely magical, a Gothic setting worthy of these stories, whose themes all center around color and an ancient jewel. My favorite lines are from the letter that Andre St Jean writes to Antonina Von Aaron after the start of their affair in Stained with Crimson, in which he also refers to her as "soul of my soul, dark light by which I see": "Oh let me go down and find the waters of forgetful night, and drinking them underground, unremember you. All memory take, your face, your voice, your eyes, all of you, till nothing remains- but still I would be in agony, all of you forgotten, yet all of you unforgettable and with me still".

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Richly envisioned dark fantasies.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim Baruffi

    I've read quite a bit of Tanith Lee and I'm still on the fence no how I feel about her writing. This one was pretty good though I've read quite a bit of Tanith Lee and I'm still on the fence no how I feel about her writing. This one was pretty good though

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shazza Maddog

    Lyrical and creepy, this is a collection of novellas taking place in Paradys, a somewhat corrupt city. The stories involve the fantastical; the young man who becomes a woman through a kind of a strange magic, not to mention a curse of a hunter-vampire type; a girl who takes on the guise of boy thief to get revenge on her brother, who doesn't believe her stories of what her stepfather, her brother's father, did to her; the woman writer who investigates a missing drag queen and finds far more than Lyrical and creepy, this is a collection of novellas taking place in Paradys, a somewhat corrupt city. The stories involve the fantastical; the young man who becomes a woman through a kind of a strange magic, not to mention a curse of a hunter-vampire type; a girl who takes on the guise of boy thief to get revenge on her brother, who doesn't believe her stories of what her stepfather, her brother's father, did to her; the woman writer who investigates a missing drag queen and finds far more than she bargains when the queen wants to tell her story; and the curse of one of the ancient 'royal' families of Paradys and the creature who controls their lives and their deaths, and how one man and his daughter wind up fighting it. An excellent collection of dark fiction.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily Lovitch

    I only got about a fourth of the way in before I decided it's kind of a hard read when the protagonist of the new story gets raped on like page 3 of her story. There was just too much sex in general though. I don't care for that in my books but I especially can't stand the kind that's in here, where people get violated several times in the story but they're totally casual about it. Like, "oh I just got raped. Well better go run my errands now." It's creepy. Not in a good way. I only got about a fourth of the way in before I decided it's kind of a hard read when the protagonist of the new story gets raped on like page 3 of her story. There was just too much sex in general though. I don't care for that in my books but I especially can't stand the kind that's in here, where people get violated several times in the story but they're totally casual about it. Like, "oh I just got raped. Well better go run my errands now." It's creepy. Not in a good way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    I loved these books in high school, I'm not sure how they would hold up, however. I loved these books in high school, I'm not sure how they would hold up, however.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I gave it fifty pages and the characters didn't interest me. I gave it fifty pages and the characters didn't interest me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rande

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trinity

  20. 4 out of 5

    chloe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rita

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mark Parker

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne C

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Bouras

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sutton

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pam Schwartz

  29. 4 out of 5

    Animetart

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lorian

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