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Old 11-05-2014, 04:55 PM   #2511 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Dark Dance (1992)
First in the Blood Opera sequence

The book I mentioned I was just up until today reading for my sister. Dark, bleak and gothic with some very morose reflections on human life, it's nevertheless a gripping tale that drags us into the quiet, still, ancient and macabre world of the Scarabae, a family so old that they can remember the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, perhaps even the Great Fire of London, which may have been linked to them. Rachaela is drawn almost unwillingly but by persistent fate into the world of these people, whom she does not know and yet somehow feels she does; knows and fears, for it is here, in the dark dank claustrophobic house with so many stained-glass windows that occlude the light, that she will finally meet her destiny.

The Book of the Mad (1993)
Fourth in the Secret Books of Paradys series
“In her darkly dazzling finish to The Secret Books of Paradys, Tanith Lee tempts the reader with a tale of horror, lust and madness that leaves no perversity untouched, no taboo unbroken.
This time, the seductive nightmare unfolds in three parallel versions of the City-Paradis, Paradys and Paradise. Connected by a labyrinth of ice whose dangers are amplified by the will and emotion of its lunatic travelers, these cities and their mad and near-mad denizens provide the stage for a drama of mythical proportions that none of the players can fully comprehend. Among the mad and the doomed are the murderous, remorseless siblings Felion and Smara; the violated woman-child Hilde; and Leocadia, the artist and visionary. Combining horror and hedonism, art and eroticism, Lee offers an aesthete's amoral view of beauty, pleasure and pain in her inimitable high style.
This fourth book in the Paradys series is linked brilliantly to the previous three -*The Book of the Damned,*The Book of the Beast, and*The Book of the Dead*- not by plot but by its shared venue: the fantastic, Gothic, atmospheric and changeable city of Paradys.”

Personal darkness (1993)
Second in the Blood Opera sequence

Continuing the dread story of the ageless, timeless Scarabae, as they reach out to reclaim what was theirs and set in motion a series of events that will have far-reaching consequences.

“The House is destroyed, the Scarabae dead or scattered. And the youngest and most dangerous of them, voracious for destruction, is free. As Ruth, a mind as old as evil in the body of a teenage girl, unleashes blood and fire across southern England, the other survivors regroup their formidable resources. Scarabae wealth and power can replicate The House and even withstand the sun, while help is summoned from others of their kind.
But when Malach and Althene arrive, ageless and exotic, nothing transpires as Rachaela had supposed. For she and Ruth, the demon bred on her by Adamus - father and lover, now dead - are also Scarabae, and Scarabae cleave to their own. Rachaela, irresistibly drawn to Althene's mysterious web, must accept that her daughter belongs to dark, tormented Malach, and find new reasons for hope ...
Yet it is Camillo - malign, geriatric biker with the strength and soul of a child - and the women unwittingly entangled in his mischief, who will finally dispose Ruth's fate, and play the wild card in the Scarabae's endless game.
Subtly blending the human menaces of London's contemporary underworld with a dark vampiric seduction, “Personal Darkness” enmeshes the reader further in the insidious enchantment of the Scarabae."


Darkness, I (1994)
The third and final in the Blood Opera sequence

As the story reaches its shattering conclusion, Rachaela's second daughter is born, but there is something very odd about her rate of maturity. Stolen by Cain, an outcast from the Scarabae, Rachaela finds she must ally with her hated enemies in order to try to save her child.

“'And how old, Doctor, Would you say she was?' 'She appears to be about sixteen ... perhaps a well-developed fifteen.' 'My daughter, Doctor, is three years of age.'
Lapped in the luxury of Scarabae wealth, lulled by her relationship with Althene, Rachaela has carried and given birth to her second child. A girl. Beautiful, white-haired, green-eyed. But children do not grow and mature as fast as this one.
Her name is Anna, to honour the dead. On her breast is a small blue mark ... Who is she? What is She?
Before Rachaela can decide, or Malach, self-exiled to his Dutch castle, can make up his mind, in sudden violence, Anna is abducted.
And all around the world, someone is stealing the children. From Tesco's ... from the banks of the Nile ... Taking them to a place at the end of the earth, the white pyramid hidden in the ice.
A shadow - darker than all the darkness of this dark family. Monster, master, blood-lusting genius: Cain, the outcast of the Scarabae.
He has Anna now. Means to keep her. Will Malach be able to claim her back?”

These are, believe it or not, just a tiny sample of the volume of work put out by Tanith Lee over a career spanning more than forty years. To date, she has over eighty novels, various collections and books written under other names. Her most recent was published in 2012, and true to her incredibly prolific style she published another book that same year, with two the previous year, and the one before that, and again in 2009. She lives with her husband --- also a writer --- in the south of England and has, to my knowledge, no children.

If fantasy, mythology, science-fiction or a peculiar slant on historical fiction is your thing, then you should really pick up one of her books. Just don't be too scandalised: she doesn't pull any punches when it comes to sex! JK Rowling she is not! But if you want to escape the humdrum for a few hours, then Tanith Lee could very well be the enchantress to weave a spell that will carry you far from the mundane cares of the workaday world and into her dark, often dangerous, but always entertaining world.
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