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The gods are thirsty /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Overlook Press, 1996
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SUMMARY

"It is the eve of the French Revolution. The aristos are drinking life to the dregs, indulging in every conceivable sensual vice as if there were no tomorrow, while the citizens, miserable in their poverty, seethe with envy and hatred in a sorcerous Paris, beautiful in the center, rotting into mighty slums around the edges." "In this sweeping novel, Tanith Lee depicts the savage spirit of Year I, following the life of journalist, pamphleteer and patriot Camille Desmoulins through these turbulent days. A fascinating and complex creature of the mind who maneuvered through all levels of Paris society, Desmoulins was the journalist and voice of the Revolution. Silenced by the guillotine during the Terror in the prime of his youth, Desmoulins, with his circle of friends, is the heart and soul of this gripping novel."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Review by Booklist Review

Lee, acclaimed for her fantasy novels Blood Opera Sequence and The Secret Books of Paradys, which combine horror and eroticism in her lush, lyrical prose, has found a historical period worthy of her talents. From the fall of the Bastille through the Reign of Terror, the French Revolution was a time of excesses, both sensual and horrifying, and Lee portrays it through the eyes and person of writer-revolutionary Camille Desmoulins. Focusing on the period from 1794, when his writing urging moderation and clemency led to his beheading at the hands of his old friend Robespierre, Lee captures the spirit of a tumultuous time and interweaves moving accounts of Camille's courtship, marriage, and fatherhood. Compared with Hilary Mantel's well-received treatment of the same period and persons, A Place of Greater Safety (1993), this is even more impressive historical fiction. By paring and broadening strokes, Lee creates indelible impressions--from the surging, rampaging crowds to the avaricious Madame Guillotine and the experience of feeling her blade--and makes history live. A stunning achievement. --Michele Leber

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A writer would seem to be the ideal protagonist of a historical novel, since writers are by nature obsessive, if not always reliable, observers and chroniclers of their times. Prolific writer Lee (The Book of the Mad) has chosen Camille Desmoulins, vitriolic pamphleteer and one of the catalysts of the French Revolution, to serve as her narrator. She follows him from his first public act (inciting a crowd to riot) in the summer of 1789 through years of political and social intrigue to his beheading in the spring of 1794. Desmoulins, contending with his chronic stammer, self-doubt and turbulent emotions, is curiously unappealing in his role as histrionic media pundit. His importance to the novel should hinge on his observation of, and relationship to, the large cast of characters surrounding him, but readers may not consider him a guide worth following. His wife, Lucile, is portrayed in an immaculate manner that prevents her from ever becoming more than a saintly caricature. Lee's decision to alternate between first- and third-person narration is sometimes confusing, as well. Her depiction of Paris and the politics of revolution is thoroughly detailed, though the novel sometimes feels like a bloody, 18th-century version of C-SPAN as the National Assembly, as well as clubs like the Jacobins and Cordeliers, are bogged down in endless debates, accounts of which slow the narrative. Violent mobs careen through the streets with tidal regularity while political leaders enjoy the fruits of their revolutionary labors‘wine, women and rhetoric. The best historical novels breathe life into their characters and make readers feel they have traveled in time, but the people here remain history-book figures to the bloody end. 50,000 first printing; $30,000 ad/promo. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
AUTHOR NOTES

Tanith Lee, September 19, 1947 - May 24, 2015 Tanith Lee was born on September 19, 1947 in London, England, the daughter of ballroom dancers. She attended various primary schools and had a variety of jobs, from file clerk and assistant librarian to shop assistant and waitress. Lee attended an art college for one year, but felt she would be better writing her ideas than painting them.

Her first professional sale was "Eustace," a 90 page vignette which appeared in The Ninth Pan Book of Horror Stories in 1968. While Lee was working as an assistant librarian, she wrote a children's story that was accepted for publication. Others of her stories were also bought but never published. In 1971, Macmillan published "The Dragon Hoard," another children's book, which was followed by "Animal Castle" and "Princess Hynchatti and Other Stories" in 1972.

Lee was looking for a British publisher for her book "The Birthgrave," but was denied at every House she went. She then wrote to American publisher DAW, known for it's fantasy and horror selections, who immediately accepted her manuscript and published the book in 1975. Thus began a partnership between the two that lasted till 1989 and resulted in 28 books. After the publication of her third book by DAW, Lee quit her job and became a full-time freelance writer.

Lee has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Award and the Nebula. She has had more than 40 novels published, along with over 200 short stories.

Lee died peacefully in her sleep after a long illness on May 24, 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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