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February 24 , 2008

Rhialto the Marvellous


In the age of The Dying Earth, our moribund planets greatest magicians conspire with and against each other, playing cruel tricks and conniving to steal their rivals miraculous treasures. Prominent amongst them is Rhialto the Marvellous, who struggles to bring ordereven some justiceto this squabbling gaggle of eccentrics and egotists. His efforts will take him back through time, and outwards to the farthest reaches of spaceto the place where the mysterious and powerful IOUN stones wait to be gathered, by those who dare.
SF Grandmaster Jack Vance evokes a spellbinding world of politics and power set against the backdrop of a civilization as ancient as it is corrupt. From amidst the pride and cynicism of his fellow magicians, Rhialto emerges as an unforgettable figure of melancholy grandeur.

Rhialto the Marvellous is part 4 of 4 of The Dying Earth.
The stories of the Dying Earth series are set in the distant future, at a point when the sun is almost exhausted and magic has reasserted itself as a dominant force. The various civilizations of Earth have collapsed for the most part into decadence. The Earth is mostly barren and cold, and has become infested with various predatory monsters (possibly created by a magician in a former age).
The Moon has disappeared and the Sun is in danger of burning out at any time. A certain fatalism characterizes many of the inhabitants as a consequence.
The series shows the influence of the picaresque tale, applied to a science fiction/fantasy setting.
Cover art by Li-An
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