The Burning City by Larry Niven

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Set in the world of Larry Niven's popular The Magic Goes Away, The Burning City transports readers to an enchanted ancient city bearing a provocative resemblance to our own modern society. Here Yagen-Atep, the volatile and voracious god of fire, alternately protects and destroys the city's denizens. In Tep's Town, nothing can burn indoors and no fire can start -- except when the Burning comes upon the city. Then the people, possessed by Yagen-Atep, set their own town ablaze in a riotous orgy of destruction that often comes without warning.

Whandall Placehold has lived with the Burning all his life. Fighting his way to adulthood in the mean-but-magical streets of the city's most blighted neighborhoods, Whandall dreams of escaping the god's wrath to find a new and better life. But his best hope for freedom may lie with Morth of Atlantis, the enigmatic sorcerer who killed his father!

About Larry Niven

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LARRY NIVEN is the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces. His Beowulf's Children, coauthored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Chatsworth, California. EDWARD M. LERNER, a physicist and computer scientist, toiled in the vineyards of high tech for thirty years as everything from engineer to senior vice president. Then suitably intoxicated, he began writing full time. Lerner lives in Virginia with his wife, Ruth.
Published December 14, 2010 by Atria Books. 644 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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So, using his plant lore—plants are highly dangerous hereabouts—Whandall prepares drugs for the magician Morth of Atlantis (Morth killed Whandall’s father by accident, and considers he owes Whandall a debt).

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He is the son of a thief who was killed by the wizard Morth of Atlantis, during one of the town's many burnings, conflagrations that occur when the town's god Yangin-Atep possesses men and gives them command of fire and the rage to use it.

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