They came in armies from under the sea – they possessed an intelligence and cunning beyond any human.
These incredible tales were dismissed as the ravings of madmen by marine expert Peter Hollows, and his lovely assistant Sally Brent.
But then they appeared… strange and monstrous creatures that Hallows and his expedition might never live to describe.
The lavalite world is a world of slow but constant change. Here mountains rise from plains, or sink into rifts; new oceans form as vast hollows collapse and seas rush in. There is only one escape from this world where the very landscape moves. The one gateway to other universes is in the palace of the Lord Urthona. Paul Janus Finnegan – also known as Kickaha – must reach it if he is to survive. And he must do so despite the Lords Urthone and Red Orc, the hired thug McKay, flesh-eating vegetation on the run, beasts of prey and planetary pseudopods.
The grand conflict for control of the continent of Derlavai rages on, in a battle with all the drama and terror of the Second World War-only the bullets are beams of magical fire, the tanks and submarines are great lumbering beasts, and the fighters and bombers are dragons raining fire upon their targets.
Yet hope may be dawning at last. The terrible onslaught of the conquering forces of Algarve-who power their battle magics with the life energy of their murdered victims-begins to founder as it runs into Habbakuk: a sorcerous ship of ice used by embattled nations of Lagoas and Kuusamo to ferry their deadly dragons across the seas to strike at the very heart of Algarvian power.
But though the tide has begun to turn, the conflict is far from over. The widely disdained Kaunians still struggle desperately to escape as the Algarvians kill them by the thousands-for life energy, but also simply for the crime of being Kaunian. And as the deaths of innocent civilians on both sides continue to feed the flames of war, those who have struggled to survive and preserve their freedom have only their passions to see them through. . . .
Patricia A. McKillip is the author of a number of hugely acclaimed fantasies, including The Riddle-Master of Hed and its sequels, which have been compared to Gene Wolfe’s epic Book of the New Sun, and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Ombria in Shadow, both of which won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. She has won the Mythopoeic Award three times and in 2008 was given the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. This omnibus collects three of her later works: In the Forests of Serre, Alphabet of Thorn and The Bell at Sealey Head.
IN THE FORESTS OF SERRE: In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart…where good and evil entwine and wear each others’ faces…and where a bird with feathers of fire can quench the fiercest longing…
ALPHABET OF THORN: One of the most spectacular fantasists of our time, Patricia A. McKillip creates fairy tale worlds of wonder and magic. Now, she opens the page on a time and place where an orphan girl is haunted by thorns…a reluctant queen rules between sea and sky… and epics never end…
THE BELL AT SEALEY HEAD: Sealey Head is a small town on the edge of the ocean, a sleepy place where everyone hears the ringing of a bell no one can see. On the outskirts of town is an impressive estate, Aislinn House, where the aged Lady Eglantyne lies dying, and where the doors sometimes open not to its own dusty rooms, but to the wild majesty of a castle full of knights and princesses.
The son of a Civil War veteran, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a prolific writer for the early pulp magazines. Famous the world over as the creator of Tarzan – and in SF circles for his Martian tales featuring John Carter – Burroughs is a household name. But John Carter wasn’t the only Earthman to champion another world. This omnibus collects PIRATES OF VENUS, LOST ON VENUS and CARSON OF VENUS – the first three of Burroughs’ classic pulp tales of Carson Napier on the waterworld of Amtor – better known to us as Venus.
PIRATES OF VENUS: The shimmering, cloud-covered planet of Venus conceals a wondrous secret: the strikingly beautiful yet deadly world of Amtor. In Amtor, cities of immortal beings flourish in giant trees reaching thousands of feet into the sky; ferocious beasts stalk the wilderness below; rare flashes of sunlight precipitate devastating storms; and the inhabitants believe their world is saucer-shaped with a fiery center and icy rim. Stranded on Amtor after his spaceship crashes, astronaut Carson Napier is swept into a world where revolution is ripe, the love of a princess comes at a dear price, and death can come as easily from the blade of a sword as from the ray of a futuristic gun.
LOST ON VENUS: Napier’s adventures continue in this pulse-pounding sequel to PIRATES OF VENUS. Here the intrepid and wry explorer takes on a savage world in order to rescue the princess from her sworn enemies. Napier’s epic quest for Duare takes him through the streets of the City of the Dead, into the terrifying Room of the Seven Doors, and face to face with fantastic and perilous creatures. LOST ON VENUS brims with the action, suspense and wit unique to the Master of Adventure.
CARSON OF VENUS: Carson Napier, first Earthman to reach Venus, had to keep alert every instant of his stay on that world of mist and mystery. For its lands were unmapped, its inhabitants many, varied and strange, and he had taken an obligation to restore a native princess to her lost homeland. On terrible oceans where dreaded sea-monsters dwelled, in deep forests where terror haunted every branch, and behind the walls of eerie cities where power-mad chieftains plotted uncanny schemes, CARSON OF VENUS is fast-paced science fiction adventure.