A Bed of Earth by Tanith Lee
(Secret Books of Venus, Book 3)

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Synopsis

The third book in Tanith Lee's compelling series based on alchemy and the elements focuses on the element of earth. It is a haunting journey to a parallel version of sixteenth-century Venice, where a fierce territorial rivalry between two noble families-the della Scorpias and the Barbarons-unearths a supernatural force from beneath the placid surface of the canals and rotting understructure of the city.

The struggle between the two families for space on the Isle of the Dead, the overcrowded burial ground for generations of Venetian nobility, becomes more and more heated, and fourteen-year-old Meralda della Scorpia is forced to pay the ultimate price. But as the years pass on, parties complicit in her disappearance-from both houses-begin to suffer the consequences in a series of shocking deaths that could emanate from none other than a supernatural foe. As these bizarre events throw the city into a panic, a humble apprentice gravedigger is left to sort out the mysteries-an effort that will enable him to unearth the secrets of his own shadowy past.
 

About Tanith Lee

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Tanith Lee, September 19, 1947 - Tanith Lee was born on September 19, 1947 in London, England, the daughter of ballroom dancers. She attended various primary schools and had a variety of jobs, from file clerk and assistant librarian to shop assistant and waitress. Lee attended an art college for one year, but felt she would be better writing her ideas than painting them. Her first professional sale was "Eustace," a 90 page vignette which appeared in The Ninth Pan Book of Horror Stories in 1968. While Lee was working as an assistant librarian, she wrote a children's story that was accepted for publication. Others of her stories were also bought but never published. In 1971, Macmillan published "The Dragon Hoard," another children's book, which was followed by "Animal Castle" and "Princess Hynchatti and Other Stories" in 1972. Lee had been looking for a British publisher for her book "The Birthgrave," but has been denied at every House she went. She then wrote to American publisher DAW, known for it's fantasy and horror selections, who immediately accepted her manuscript and published the book in 1975. Thus began a partnership between the two that lasted till 1989 and resulted in 28 books. After the publication of her third book by DAW, Lee quit her job and became a full time freelance writer. Lee has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Award and the Nebula. She has had more than 40 novels published, along with over 200 short stories.
 
Published August 5, 2002 by Overlook Hardcover. 345 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History, Horror. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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The City of Venus casts a gloomy, ghostly shadow over the plot, and several wickedly ingenious deaths (including death by flamingo) serve to underline Lee's well-earned reputation as a master of dark fantasy.

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