Somewhere at the end of time, the sun gutters towards final death, science has long ago been replaced by alchemy and demonic invocation and the few inhabitants of the world wander around with a near-psychotic ennui and yearning. The original six stories Vance wrote early in his career are moody and poetic and genially depraved; when he came back to his dying earth, years later, it was in a rather different mood and the two volumes of adventures in which Cugel the Clever proves how little he deserves his sobriquet have much of the poetry, but also a sly wit that was not the early stories' strength. Cugel is incapable of leaving alone anything not nailed down, and much that is; he wanders his world miraculously surviving his own cupidity and treachery--yet is no worse than the smarter, more beautiful people he meets and more often than not better. More recently, he produced the slighter and almost whimsical tales of the magician Rhialto the Marvellous; Vance's poetic and comic strains of invention work effectively in tandem. The Dying Earth
collects all of these stories, tragic, comic and charming--they take us to one of the strangest places and attractively affected styles in all fantasy. --Roz Kaveney
Vance's fantasy masterpiece, available for the first time in the UK as one volume.