The Book of the Mad by Tanith Lee
(Secret Books of Paradys)

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Synopsis

The culmination of Lee's horror-fantasy tetralogy (The Book of the Dead, 1992, etc.). The previous entries are composed of related stories, but this one, though elliptically structured, forms a novel in its own right. In the perpetually mist-shrouded, magical city of Paradise live the twins Felion and Smara, murderers who consider themselves the city's sole sane inhabitants. They hold the keys to a magic labyrinth of ice whose mercurial doorways give entry to an alternate city--scrubbed, bright, high-tech, laid-back Paradis. Here, hard-drinking visionary painter Leocardia's grand house and fortune were willed to her by the same mysterious uncle who bequeathed the labyrinth to Felion and Smara. A third city, Paradys, lies in Paradis's stark Victorian past; here, beautiful, impressionable adolescent Hilde falls for a narcissistic actor, is raped by him, suffers a breakdown, and is consigned to an asylum where the depraved attendants routinely torment the inmates. Slowly, logically, inevitably, the lives and fates of Felion and Smara, Leocardia, and Hilde converge, with astonishing consequences. Beautifully woven, with fascinating characters in a compelling narrative, brilliantly set forth in Lee's spare, firm, spiky prose. Sheer enchantment.

 

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 December 1, 1997 by Overlook. 226 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Book of the Mad

Kirkus Reviews

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Here, hard-drinking visionary painter Leocardia's grand house and fortune were willed to her by the same mysterious uncle who bequeathed the labyrinth to Felion and Smara.

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Publishers Weekly

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Best known for the Flat Earth series, Lee creates here a characteristically surreal and dark fantasy, her fourth (following The Book of the Dead ) set in the ancient, decadent city of Paradys. This ti

Jun 28 1993 | Read Full Review of The Book of the Mad (Secret B...

Publishers Weekly

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Word of her mysterious talent reaches the ears of Fra Danielus, a crafty priest who hopes to use Volpa's fire-summoning ability against the invading infidel Jurneians.

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Publishers Weekly

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Best known for the Flat Earth series, Lee creates here a characteristically surreal and dark fantasy, her fourth (following The Book of the Dead ) set in the ancient, decadent city of Paradys.

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Open Book Society

For me, Cora is the heart of the story, even if she seems a little harsh and distant at times, she ultimately roots the novel in reality.

Oct 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Book of the Mad (Secret B...

Elephant Journal

Of course, I realize that some readers out there are just barely holding back the urge to skip through the rest of this article to leave a comment pointing out that yoga isn’t just asana practice, anyway, and that, in fact, meditation is an integral part of yoga, and that meditation in the tradit...

Jun 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Book of the Mad (Secret B...

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