In the sulphurous The High Place, the amoral hero Florian enters the sleeping-beauty story and (unlike Jurgen with Helen) does not draw back at the sight of excessive beauty. Complications ensue: Beauty is realistically diminished during pregnancy, the first-born child is forfeit to Satan under the pact that guaranteed Florain’s success, and an irascible saint is eager to call down holy fire on transgressors. Florian treads close to damnation and is saved only when Satan and the angel Michael conspire to let recent events become, again, a dream: he has a rare second chance and learns better.
Kidnapping has become a national pastime in Italy – but is there another reason why billionaire Carlo Grandi has put his beautiful daughter behind an electric fence, guarded by killer dogs and two fast-shooting guards?
Mike Frost, always on the look-out for big money and beautiful women, gets the job as second gun – and soon realises he is guarding a hell cat. When kidnappers sold him the idea of being the inside man, Frost hadn’t known which he wanted most – that beautiful body or the $5,000,000 it could bring him.
No one asked Slim Callaghan to investigate – he just did it – and they had to like it. A £40,000 insurance claim, two beautiful women and possibly a fake suicide were at stake. Slim Callaghan, private detective, reckoned the situation looked very interesting indeed, but he didn’t have a client.
Callaghan’s motto was, ‘We get there somehow and who the hell cares how’. He got there and got himself a client, eventually – an exquisitely beautiful client …
A fantasist without equal, Patricia A. McKillip has created worlds of intricate beauty and unforgettably nuanced characters. For many years, she’s drawn readers into her spell, spinning modern-day fables with a grace rarely seen.
Now she presents a book of short stories, full of beautiful dragons, rueful princesses, and handsome bards, and written in the gorgeous – and often surprisingly funny – prose she’s known for. This is her world, wrapped up in the finery of fairy tales
Makstarn was ugly, an outcast in the midst of the beautiful people of his tribe. Where they were tall and slender, he was short and squat. Where they were golden, touched with the beauty of the dawn, he was black and hairy . . . and hated by those of his own generation. It little mattered that the Elders respected him for what he was . . . and for what his father, Max Quest, had been; the young were all that mattered.
And their hatred drove him at last from the tribe, and on an impossible journey in search of the memory of his father . . . and in search of his own manhood.
Mark Girland’s problems begin when a beautiful blonde is found lying on a dark deserted quai in Paris – the initials of the top Chinese atomic scientist tattooed on her upper thigh.
The girl is suffering from acute amnesia. Girland, desperate for money, is ordered by the CIA to get any information he can – by posing as her husband.
But the appeal of the mission begins to wear thin when Girland discovers he has involved himself in a life and death race to extract vital atomic secrets from the scientist’s beautiful mistress.
A rich, curmudgeonly old husband, a beautiful young wife, a mysterious voice from the past – and murder…
Classic crime from one of the greats of the Detection Club
When murder hits the sleepy town of Hinton St Luke tongues start wagging. It’s what you might call a cosy domestic murder: a beautiful young wife; her much-older husband dying at just the right moment; a jealous nurse; a mysterious voice from the past and a set of anonymous letters.
But which one will lead directly to the killer’s front door?
It was rarer and more beautiful and more precious than any piece of mineral, and its dark glory outshone the lights of the heavens. The Gods had wrought it in the Country of the Immortals, and no other thing like it had ever been upon the earth.
No emperor could hold the Throne without the Black Star. And now it was missing.
The evil Green-Robed One who had usurped the Throne would use his darkest powers to reclaim it – and the young warrior fleeing across the embattled land with his beautiful lady to save this treasure of all the world would know the torments of the damned…
The plane is down somewhere off the North Carolina coast. No sign of wreckage or of survivors can be spotted. A group of this country’s leading biochemists (including the brilliant, beautiful Dr. Stella Thayer) were aboard the flight. Consequently, sabotage cannot be ruled out as a cause of the disaster.
That is the official report…
The top-secret settlement – a fully functioning subterranean colony – is hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. It is equipped with all the essentials for basic, long-term existence. Its inhabitants are a group of this country’s leading biochemists (including the brilliant, beautiful Dr. Stella Thayler), and it will soon become the scene of the most bizarre, the most world-shaking scientific experiment in history – Project Nevermore…
A genetic experiment gone wrong produces a tiny pink “worm” that matures into a beautiful woman whose superhuman powers propel her toward a unique destiny.
Don Haig had been content to lie around and drink in the synthetic beauty of the pleasure planetoid Fyon, until a woman came into his life. A woman more beautiful and more perfect than any other female in the galaxy. A woman who brought about a curious change in Don.
For she was a pocket-sized foll – a very strange and miraculous puppet who shed constant tears and held powers that Don never even dreamed of.
But what Don did know was that dangerous alien forces were swiftly focusing on him and his living puppet – and that he had to discover the doll’s super-scientific secret before his own life was smashed into atoms.
A selection of John Grimes short stories including:
With Good Intentions
The Tin Messiah
The Sleeping Beauty
The Wandering Buoy
The Mountain Movers
What You Know
The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines is a moving meditation on the things that endure in the face of implacable circumstance: art, love, freedom, the persistence of erotic fervor, the indelible beauty of the natural world.
War hero, jet-setter, gourmet – Godwin Harpinshield was all of those and more; his life was a game played among the Beautiful People whose fame, wealth and power set them above the law, and beyond the laws of nature. Because of a simple bargain that all the Beautiful People made, Godwin’s every desire was his for the asking. Seduced by luxury, Godwin never doubted his fortune, never wondered about his mysterious patrons.
Then the game turned ugly.
Suddenly, the ante was raised and the game was real. The stakes were his future, his sanity and, possibly, his very soul. All Godwin Harpinshield had to discover was: What were the rules of the game? And who – or what – were the other players?
As the beautiful illusionist Flame succumbs to the dark spell that taints her soul, the physician Kelwyn Gilfeather discovers that the only way to cure her may be to destroy all magic and change the Isles of Glory forever.
Through realms of oriental splender and superhuman conflict, a beautiful woman warrior and a fierce man-god journey to challenge a being more awesome than the gods for a magical sword that holds the power of death … and the key to enlightenment.
A beautiful woman – with no memory – and the people who claim to know her may not have her best interests at heart…
‘Vera Caspary is an expert at suspense and suspicion’ New York Times
Kate and Allan Royce are driving home from a party in Westport, Connecticut one night when they see a girl in a beautiful but muddied dress wandering in the road and stop to pick her up. She is suffering from amnesia, so they name her Elizabeth X and take her into their home while the police try to establish her identity.
They are left in peace, until first a couple claim her as their daughter and then a psychiatrist arrives to say that she has escaped from his clinic. What does seem certain is that she is the child of wealthy parents.
But who really is Elizabeth X, and what has happened to her?
Vivia, a paragon of youth and beauty, daughter of Lord Vaddix, is alienated from his brutal campaign of violence and fear. Her only solace lies in the secret cave in the bowels of the castle, known only to her and the arcane god whose shrine she believes it is.
When plague enters the castle, bringing an orgy of death and destruction, Vivia seeks shelter in this seductive place. Drawn to her innocence and beauty, a presence – Zulgaris – is resurrected who claims her as his own. Wakened to the wonder of the undead, Vivia is granted the secret of eternal life, but she has been betrayed. Her immortality stretches before her like a damnation.
Handsome Zulgaris, dark prince, war-leader and alchemist. Is Vivia to be his lover, or his pet? Or, far worse, is she but one more thing to be used in this relentless quest for sorcerous power.
In an incredible far future, the known laws of Time and Space no longer apply to the world – and the seed of Man has mutated. Lobey is a mutant, different because he can hear the music in people’s minds. And when he encounters the beautiful dead-mute, Friza, he knows he has found a kindred soul.
Then Friza is killed, by someone or something unknown, and Lobey, driven by a knowledge he does not understand, sets out to bring her back from the dead. His journey leads him to strange lands and stranger people: people such as Spider, the eternal traitor incarnate; the Dove, embodiment of beauty; and Green-Eye, doomed to be the victim of a ritual as old as Time.
And always in the background, always waiting, stands the shadow of the chilling, childlike killer from the sea. The being called Kid Death . . .
Winner of the Nebula Award for best novel, 1968
Alone in New York City, Lizanne Steffasson comes face to face with reality when her dream of acting on Broadway collapses.
Now she just needs to pay her rent. So she answers an unusual ad in the paper, for ‘a beautiful girl. One not afraid to look on danger’s bright face’.
Lizanne is neither beautiful nor fearless, yet she is certainly about to look danger in the face. A New York estate lawyer wants her help to track down a young man who has vanished into the wilds of the city on the eve of inheriting a vast sum of money from his billionaire late father, a Swedish man known as the Cross-Eyed Bear.
It turns out that Lizanne is the perfect person for the job, as she knows more about the story than her employer has bargained for . . .
The Empire’s boldest agents – Jules and Yvette d’Alembert – blast off against the most dangerous conspiracy in the Galaxy. But even the lightning-powers inherited from their triple-gravity planet are no match for their adversary, the beautiful and ruthless star-warrior called…Lady A.
The torturer Severian continues his journey of exile to the city Thrax, carrying with him the ancient executioner’s sword and the Claw of the Conciliator, a gem of extraterrestrial power and beauty which no one man is meant to possess . . .
Winner of the Nebula Award for best novel, 1981
A beautiful Cornish coastal village is the setting for a highly sinister conspiracy involving a kidnapped baby, mysterious monks and an almost irresistible new perfume…
‘Joan Aiken’s triumph with this genre is that she does it so much better than others’ New York Times Book Review
Martha works for an advertising agency, filming a TV commercial on location on the stunning Cornish coast. The client is the eccentric owner of a chemicals company that has invented a new, almost irresistible perfume, and Martha is in charge of shooting the romantic ads – unfortunately starring his beautiful but highly manipulative daughter-in-law.
Before long, Martha finds herself embroiled in the conspiracy over the perfume’s true origin – to say nothing of a kidnapped baby, sinister monks, her own long-since vanished ex-husband and a series of exploding soup cans. And what of her own floundering love life…?
‘Witty and acute … a nice romantic thriller’ Punch
In a vastly changed world, thirteen centuries from now, Sumner Kagan searches the earth to find the godmind, a malicious being with reality-shaping powers. In this strange and beautiful world – eerily alien, yet hauntingly familiar – Kagan will change from an adolescent outcast to a warrior with god-like abilities and, in the process, take us on an epic and transcendent journey.
Author’s Note: The volumes of this series can each be read independently of the others. The feature that unifies them is their individual observations of science fiction’s sub-genre: “space opera,” which the editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer define as “colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes.”