Results of the World Fantasy Award in the year 1979.
One of Michael Moorcock’s most brilliant and highly decorated novels, here is the story of a powerful queen whose quest for sexual satisfaction could destroy her kingdom.
A fable satirizing Spenser’s The Faerie Queen and reflecting the real life of Elizabeth I, Gloriana, Or The Unfulfill’d Queen tells of a woman who ascends to the throne upon the death of her debauched and corrupted father, King Hern. Gloriana’s reign brings the Empire of Albion into a Golden Age, but her oppressive responsibilities choke her, prohibiting any form of sexual satisfaction—no matter what fetish she tries. Her problem is in fact symbolic of the hypocrisy of her entire court. While her life is meant to mirror that of her nation—an image of purity, virtue, enlightenment and prosperity—the truth is that her peaceful empire is kept secure by her wicked chancellor Monfallcon and his corrupt network of spies and murderers, the most sinister of whom is Captain Quire, who is commissioned to seduce Gloriana and thus bring down Albion and the entire empire.
In those days the Earth was not a sphere and the demons dwelled in vast magical caverns beneath its surface. Wondrous cities dotted the land and strange peoples and fabulous beasts prowled the deserts and jungles of the world.
Supreme among those mighty demons was Azhrarn, Night’s Master. He it was whose pranks made nightmares on Earth, who brought desire and danger to those it amused him to visit, and who could grant wonders and create horrors unspeakable.
Tanith Lee, author of The Birthgrave and Volkhavaar, has created in this new novel a fascinating version of the world as it might have been, a world reminiscent of the Arabian Nights and yet utterly unique.
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides—or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail—and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.