None so pure as Dunizel

Delusion’s Master — Tanith Lee
Tales of the Flat Earth, book 3

delusions-Master

1981’s Delusion’s Master is the third volume in Tanith Lee’s five volume series, Tales of the Flat Earth.

A mile from the walls of the great city of Baybhelu, the mad queen Jasrin waits for her husband Nemdur. Her wait is futile. Nemdur will never come; he will never forgive Jasrin for her role in their infant son’s violent death. But Jasrin’s insanity shields her from that unpleasant truth.

One night she finally receives a visitor. It is not Nemdur (who is amusing himself with other women). It is the demon lord Prince Chuz, whom mortals also call Madness. Jasrin is already his; soon, the entire city of Baybhelu will be his as well.




Misguided desire for immortality leads to a tower to the sky like none before it, followed by calamity like none before it. That is not the end of Baybhelu’s story; the heaped ruins become a foundation for a new city. And Chuz is not finished with his plaything.

Humans are only pawns in Chuz’s game with his demonic cousin Azhrarn. Azhrarn is apparently all powerful, a force of malice who goes where he wants, when he wants. Yet he has an unexpected vulnerability, one he could be excused for not foreseeing: Dunizel, a woman so pure even Azhrarn himself cannot resist her.

 ~oOo~


Who could have predicted that a love affair between a demon and a human female would not end with a nice house in the suburbs? Perhaps readers of other Tanith Lee novels …

This novel illustrates the trope All Girls Want Bad Boys. Azhrarn is irresistible to pretty much every woman he encounters. The reverse is generally not true; the Prince of Demons rarely finds himself more than fleetingly attracted to human women (not as pretty as demons and all too flimsy and mortal). Shallow guy, that demon.

For various reasons (explained in the book), Dunizel is the exception. She is essentially the embodiment of cosmic goodness, someone who is immune to the Prince of Demon’s corruption. That’s not something Azhrarn has encountered before now. Dunizel is a challenge.

Dunizel also sees an irresistible challenge: she hopes to reform Azhrarn, The painful outcome of her campaign is entirely predictable.

I expect there are people who adore this novel. Not me. I found that Dunizel and her pearly white glow inspired eye rolls rather than sympathy … and I would have had to care about her if I were to buy into the novel’s tragic ending. I didn’t care. Nor did I think that trying to reform the Prince of Demons was a reasonable goal. Perhaps that makes me a bad person.

The child that results from the relationship is a different story. I suspect we have not seen the last of Dunizel nor of Azhrarn’s daughter Azhriaz. I am hoping that the succeeding volumes in this series will pick up her story where her mother’s left off1.

I am unaware of any current edition of this book. Used bookstores are your friends.

1: Which reminds me:

Title

Missing or dead moms

Missing or dead fathers

The Birthgrave

1

1

The Storm Lord

1

1

Volkhavaar

2

2

Drinking Sapphire Wine

0

0

Night’s Master

2

1

Shadowfire

2

1

Death’s Master

3

3

Sabella

1

1

Day By Night

1

2

Silver Metal Lover

0

0

Delusion’s Master

1

1

Total

14

13

This book presents me with an interesting edge case. While Dunizel’s parents are both absent, she was stolen from them as a baby and has no idea they are missing. I’ve decided to count that as missing anyway.


Please note: comments will be read-only for the next week or two; Livefyre has ceased service, and we are doing some site maintenance.