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Delusion's Master
Tales from the Flat Earth
Tanith Lee

March 7, 2017 / ISBN 978-0756410940

Reviewed by Jan Fields


When I was a child, I loved reading mythology from as many cultures as I could find. I loved the magic in the stories, but I also loved the way they were put together, and Delusion's Master recalls many of the elements I so loved in myth. These stories feel ancient and weighty, burnished by the march of time and the telling by many storytellers, making the language itself almost luscious. And this book is stories, strung together along a single thread to tell us about two demons, Chuz and Azhrarn, and the things that happen when they walk among people, and the ways they are human themselves in their obsessions, jealousies, and anger. The stories examine goodness and evil, beauty and ugliness, look at the products of each in the lives of the demons and the humans, as well as question their value. The way Tanith Lee weaves in existing stories of floods, and towers built to pierce the realm of the gods, added an unusually satisfying feel to the reading, like playing spot the source material as we turn the pages of this intriguing narrative. Though I'm not often a fan of either introductions or prologues, both are essential to Delusion's Master (and not simply because the author tells us how to pronounce “Chuz”). The glimpse the author gives us of the creation of the story and the connection with her own mother added another layer to the story, and a compelling one. The book is subtle, beautiful, and lingering -- all the things a good myth needs.

Reviewed 2017