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Zothique

Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith's influential Zothique sequence of stories, the majority of which were orignally published during the 1930s, collected in a signle volume. Number 16 in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, edited by Lin Carter.

Contents:

  • About Zothique, and Clark Ashton Smith: When the World Grows Old - essay by Lin Carter
  • Map of Zothique
  • Zothique (1951 poem)
  • Xeethra (1934)
  • Necromancy in Naat (1936)
  • The Empire of the Necromancers (1932)
  • The Master of the Crabs (1948)
  • The Death of Ilalotha (1937)
  • The Weaver in the Vault (1934)
  • The Witchcraft of Ulua (1934)
  • The Charnel God (1934)
  • The Dark Eidolon (1935)
  • Morthylla (1953)
  • The Black Abbot of Puthuum (1936)
  • The Tomb-Spawn (1934)
  • The Last Hieroglyph (1935)
  • The Isle of the Torturers (1933)
  • The Garden of Adompha (1938)
  • The Voyage of King Euvoran (1933)
  • Epilogue: The Sequence of the Zothique Tales - essay by Lin Carter

Ninth House

Alex Stern: Book 1

Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

Black House

Talisman: Book 2

Stephen King
Peter Straub

Two of the greatest storytellers of our time join forces to create an epic thriller of unsurpassed power; a twisting, compelling story of a small American town held in the grip of evil beyond all reason. French Landing, Wisconsin. A comfortable, solid middle-American town inhabited by comfortable, solid middle-Americans! and a serial killer. Three children have been lost -- taken by a monster with a taste for child's flesh nicknamed 'The Fisherman' after a legendary murderer. It's all way beyond the experience of the local police, whose only hope lies with ex-detective Jack Sawyer, the man who cracked their last case for them. But, plagued by visions of another world, Jack has retired to this rural retreat precisely to avoid such horrors -- and, having recognized the touch of madness on this case, he's keeping well away. Soon, he'll have no choice. Young Tyler Marshall, left behind one afternoon by his bullying friends, pedals past the local old folks' home and is accosted by a crow. 'Gorg,' it caws, and 'Ty.' What ten-year-old could resist a bird that speaks his name? Not Ty, that's for sure. And as he follows the mysterious crow, he's grabbed by the neck and dragged into a hedge. The Fisherman has made another catch!

Spinning Silver

Naomi Novik

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty -- until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued.

Channeling the heart of the classic fairy tale, Novik deftly interweaves six distinct narrative voices--each learning valuable lessons about sacrifice, power and love--into a rich, multilayered fantasy that readers will want to return to again and again.

God Stalk

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 1

P. C. Hodgell

Jame is a Kencyr. Kencyrs are not native to the planet where they now live. For thirty centuries they have been the weapon that their Three-Faced God has used against the power of the Perimal Darkling. And though they have fought well, the Darkling has come to planet after planet, and the Kencyrs have moved on.

Jame knows this as she stumbles out of the hilly, barren Haunted Lands into the city of Tai-tastigon. But she knows little else. She does not remember where she has been or what she has done for the last ten years of her life. Her memory goes back only a week or two — to finding her home destroyed and all her family dead.

In Tai-tastigon Jame begins a new life that seems to be at odds with all that the Kencyrs stand for. Kencyrs are honest and just, but Jame becomes an apprentice to the most renowned thief in the powerful Thieves' Guild. Kencyrs are confirmed monotheists, yet Jame explores the rituals and activities of the thousands of gods, templed and untempled, in this religious center; she even kills a god and then resurrects him. And at the inn, the Res aB'tyrr, where she lives, she finds herself using the most sacred dances of her people, dances she does not even remember learning, for the entertainment and sometimes the destruction of the inn's patrons.

Within herself Jame finds power she does not want and doubts she defies her heredity to harbor. She moves through the rich and bloody stew of Tai-tastigon like a hot spice. Her probings, to find herself and to discover what her powers mean to her and her people, combined with influences already at work, very nearly destroy the city. And yet, they bring her face to face with a destiny she must accept.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

The Song of Shattered Sands: Book 1

Bradley P. Beaulieu

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings -- cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite ompany of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings' laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha'ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings' mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings' power... if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don't find her first.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

Teresa Frohock

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen's hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven's frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn't so easy to escape!

Skeleton Crew

Stephen King

In this brilliant collection of stories, Stephen King takes readers down paths that only he could imagine...A supermarket becomes the place where humanity makes its last stand against destruction...a trip to the attic becomes a journey to hell...a woman driver finds a scary shortcut to paradise...an idyllic lake harbors a bottomless evil...and a desert island is the scene of the most terrifying struggle for survival ever waged.

Nifft the Lean

Nifft: Book 1

Michael Shea

Follow the adventures of Nifft the Lean, the master thief whose felonious appropriations and larcenous skills will lead you through Stygian realms to challenge your most lurid fantasies and errant imaginings. Places where horror, harm and long eerie calms flow past the traveller in endless, unpredictable succession.

Travel with the man whose long, rawboned, sticky fingers and stark length of arm will lead you down to the vermiculous grottoes of the demon sea, to stand beneath the subworld's lurid sky and battle monsters who seem the spiritual distillations of human evil itself!

We invite you to the very gates of Hell and beyond - come if you dare!

Expiration Date

The Fault Lines Series: Book 2

Tim Powers

Los Angeles is filled with ghosts - and half-ghosts, and ghost hunters, and ghost junkies - chasing each other in a mad quest for immortality. As a series of disasters strikes Los Angeles, a young boy inhales the last breath of Thomas Edison, and becomes a precious prize in a deadly hunt for the elusive vital spark. Brimming with the wild imagination and heart-stopping escapades that won Tim Powers the World Fantasy Award, Expiration Date is an exuberant and inventive tale from one of fantasy's most original talents.

The Red Tree

Caitlín R. Kiernan

Sarah Crowe left Atlanta, and the remnants of a tumultuous relationship, to live alone in an old house in rural Rhode Island. Within its walls she discovers an unfinished manuscript written by the house's former tenant-a parapsychologist obsessed with the ancient oak growing on a desolate corner of the property. And as the gnarled tree takes root in her imagination, Sarah risks her health and her sanity to unearth a revelation planted centuries ago...

Ghost Story

Peter Straub

In life, not every sin goes unpunished.

For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past -- and get away with murder.

Peter Straub's classic bestseller is a work of "superb horror" (The Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time -- and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.

Voice of Our Shadow

Jonathan Carroll

For Joe Lennox, successful young writer, Vienna provides a refuge from the tragedy of his brother's death, until he starts up a friendship with the eccentric India Tate and her magician husband Paul. Gradually Joe falls in love with India, but Paul finds out - before he suddenly drops dread. And now Joe has two deaths on his conscience and another voice calling from beyond the grave...

Ragged Alice

Gareth L. Powell

Orphaned at an early age, DCI Holly Craig grew up in the small Welsh coastal town of Pontyrhudd. As soon as she was old enough, she ran away to London and joined the police. Now, fifteen years later, she's back in her old hometown to investigate what seems at first to be a simple hit-and-run, but which soon escalates into something far deadlier and unexpectedly personal -- something that will take all of her peculiar talents to solve.

Perfect Circle: aka Firecracker

Sean Stewart

When William Kennedy is six years old, he sees his Uncle Billy at a family reunion. The only problem is his uncle died 3 weeks ago at an explosion in a Petroleum plant. For William, this is only the start. Nicknamed Dead Kennedy, he realises he can see dead people all around him. With time, this just becomes part of life, although it does have its practical implications - for instance he can't drive a car because he keeps swerving to avoid the ghosts.

Now aged 32, Dead Kennedy is approached by a distant cousin who needs help - the ghost of a girl is living in his garage and he thinks William can persuade her to leave. But when William Kennedy arrives at his cousin's house, he discovers that the girl was raped and murdered and that the perpetrator was the very man who is now asking for his help. In a twist, William kills the man and ends up being haunted himself. Meanwhile William is trying to get the rest of his life back on track - his relationship with his 12-ear-old daughter Megan and the ex-wife he is still in love with.

The Damnation Game

Clive Barker

Chance had ruled Marty Strauss' life for as long as he could remember. Now at last luck was turning his way. Parolled from prison, he becomes bodyguard to Joseph Whitehead, one of the richest men in Europe. But Whitehead has also played with chance - an ancient game which gave him vast power and wealth, in exchange for his immortal soul. Now the forces he played against are back to claim what's theirs. Terryifying forces, with the power to raise the dead; and Marty is trapped between his human masters and Hell itself, with just one last, desperate game left to play.

Crown of Shadows

Coldfire Trilogy: Book 3

C. S. Friedman

Unlikely allies Damien and Tarrant are faced with an enemy who may prove invulnerable-a demon who has declared war on mankind. Called Calesta, he is a master of illusion and devourer of pain, and he plans to remake the human species until it exists only to sate his unquenchable thirst for suffering. The war against Calesta will take Damien and Tarrant from the depths of Hell to the birthplace of demons and beyond-in a battle that could cost them not only their lives, but the very soul of mankind.

The Image of the Beast

Exorcism Trilogy: Book 1

Philip José Farmer

This mind-blowing classic conjures a universe of unrelenting sexual degradation and horror. Private dick Herald Childe is sent a snuff movie of his partner being hideously murdered. His pursuit of the killers leads him into a waking nightmare of sexual brutality and supernatural bestiality, as he becomes entangled with sex-starved she-ghosts, libidinous snake-women, a filthy human sow, and a she-creature who gives birth to an ectoplasmic simulacrum of Satanic child-killer Gilles de Rais.

The Tomb: or Rakoshi

The Adversary Cycle: Book 2

F. Paul Wilson

Much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Gia, Repairman Jack doesn't deal with appliances. He fixes situations - situations that too often land him in deadly danger. His latest fix is finding a stolen necklace which, unknown to him, is more than a simple piece of jewelry.

Some might say it's cursed, others might call it blessed. The quest leads Jack to a rusty freighter on Manhattan's West Side docks. What he finds in its hold threatens his sanity and the city around him. But worst of all, it threatens Gia's daughter Vicky, the last surviving member of a bloodline marked for extinction.

Note from the author:

Some of you who read pre-1998 editions of The Tomb have questioned (and rightfully so) how Legacies, so obviously a contemporary novel, could take place only months after The Tomb, which was definitely set in the mid 1980s. The answer is simple: I cheated. I changed The Tomb for the new 1998 edition.

You see, I never planned to bring Jack back. But when I did, I realized I'd either have to set his new stories in the eighties, or go back and change The Tomb. I chose the latter and removed all references that would moor The Tomb in a specific era. The 1998 edition is now what we authors like to call "the preferred text."

All the new Repairman Jack novels loop out from The Tomb and will weave their way back toward Nightworld. I don't know how many we'll end up with. When they stop being fun to write or when I notice I'm starting to repeat myself, I'll quit and move on to something else.

Heart-Shaped Box

Joe Hill

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals... a used hangman's noose... a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder....

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts-of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more?

But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door... seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang... standing outside his window... staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting-with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand....

When True Night Falls

Coldfire Trilogy: Book 2

C. S. Friedman

The second novel in the groundbreaking Coldfire trilogy.

Two men, absolute enemies, must unite to conquer an evil greater than anything their world has ever known. One is a warrior priest ready to sacrifice anything and everything for the cause of humanity's progress; the other, a sorcerer who has survived for countless centuries by a total submission to evil. In their joint quest, both will be irrevocably changed.

Of Sand and Malice Made

The Song of Shattered Sands

Bradley P. Beaulieu

Çeda is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this brilliant new story, a prequel to Twelve Kings, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf. None but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.

But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, one of the sadistic creatures known as ehrekh which were forged long ago by the god of chaos. They are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda's struggle becomes a battle for her friends, her life, and her very soul.

Our Lady of Darkness

Fritz Leiber

Middle-aged San Francisco horror writer Franz Westen is rediscovering ordinary life following a long alcoholic binge. The one day, peering at his apartment window from a top a nearby hill, he sees a pale, brown thing lean out his window... and wave.

This encounter sends Westen on a quest through ancient books and modern streets, for the dark forces and paramental entities that thrive amidst the towering skyscrapers... and, meanwhile, the entities are also looking for him.

Bag of Bones

Stephen King

Here is Stephen King's most gripping and unforgettable novel -- a tale of grief and lost love's enduring bonds, of haunting secrets of the past, and of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.

Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie.

As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra's struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here -- and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

It is no secret that King is one of our most mesmerizing storytellers. In Bag of Bones, he proves to be one of our most moving as well.

Audrey's Door

Sarah Langan

Built on the Upper West Side, the elegant Breviary claims a regal history. But despite 14B's astonishingly low rental price, the recent tragedy within its walls has frightened away all potential tenants . . . except for Audrey Lucas.

No stranger to tragedy at thirty-two-a survivor of a fatherless childhood and a mother's hopeless dementia- Audrey is obsessively determined to make her own way in a city that often strangles the weak. But is it something otherworldly or Audrey's own increasing instability that's to blame for the dark visions that haunt her . . . and for the voice that demands that she build a door? A door it would be true madness to open . . .

White is for Witching

Helen Oyeyemi

“Miranda is at home-homesick, home sick ...”

As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances. The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family. And then there’s the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda’s father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But the Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power.

With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.

Black Sun Rising

Coldfire Trilogy: Book 1

C. S. Friedman

The Coldfire trilogy tells a story of discovery and battle against evil on a planet where a force of nature exists that is capable of reshaping the world in response to psychic stimulus. This terrifying force, much like magic, has the power to prey upon the human mind, drawing forth a person's worst nightmare images or most treasured dreams and indiscriminately giving them life. This is the story of two men: one, a warrior priest ready to sacrifice anything and everything for the cause of humanity's progress; the other, a sorcerer who has survived for countless centuries by a total submission to evil. They are absolute enemies who must unite to conquer an evil greater than anything their world has ever known.

The Border Keeper

Mkalis Cycle: Book 1

Kerstin Hall

She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.

The Brief History of the Dead

Kevin Brockmeier

Award-winning author Kevin Brockmeier delivers a spellbinding, supernatural tale of love, memories, and human connection. All residents of the City have recently died, and they will remain in the City only as long as someone still living on Earth remembers them. On Earth, however, the population has been devastated by a terrible pandemic. Laura Byrd, isolated at an Antarctic research station, may be the only person to have survived the pandemic. But she's running out of time and supplies, and her memories are fading.

Christine

Stephen King

Christine was eating into his mind, burrowing into his unconscious.

Christine, blood-red, fat, and finned, was twenty. Her promise lay all in her past. Greedy and big, she was Arnie's obsession, a '58 Plymouth Fury. Broken down but not finished.

There was still power in her – a frightening power that leaked like sump oil, staining and corrupting. A malign power that corroded the mind and turned ownership into possession.

Mister B. Gone

Clive Barker

You hold in your hands not a book at all, but a terrifying embodiment of purest evil. Can you feel the electric tingle in your fingers as you are absorbed by the demon Jakabok's tale of his unintentional ascent from the depths of the Inferno? Do you sense the cold dread worming its way into your bloodstream, your sinews, the marrow of your bones as you read more deeply into his earthly education and unspeakable acts? The filth you now grasp has been waiting patiently for you for nearly six hundred years. And now, before you are completely in its thrall, you would do well to follow the foul creature's admonition and destroy this abomination of ink and paper before you turn a single leaf and are lost forever.

You have been warned.

Daughter of the Blood

Black Jewels: Book 1

Anne Bishop

The Dark Kingdom is preparing itself for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy the arrival of a new Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But this new ruler is young, and very susceptible to influence and corruption; whoever controls her controls the Darkness. And now, three sworn enemies begin a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal...and the destiny of an entire world is at stake....

A Crown for Cold Silver

Crimson Empire / Cobalt Zosia: Book 1

Alex Marshall

"It was all going so nicely, right up until the massacre."

Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.

Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.

FIVE VILLAINS. ONE LEGENDARY GENERAL. A FINAL QUEST FOR VENGEANCE.