The narrative begins at a critical moment in the Dying Earth's history, a moment when signs and portents indicate that the long anticipated death of the planet is finally at hand. Against this backdrop, Simmons's protagonist--Shrue the diabolist--learns of the death of Ulfant Banderoz, ancient magus and sole proprietor of the legendary Ultimate Library and Final Compendium of Thaumaturgical Lore. Determined to possess its secrets, Shrue sets out in search of the fabled library, guided by the severed nose of the deceased magician. The narrative that follows tells the story of that quest, a quest whose outcome will affect the fate of the entire dying planet.
The result is a hugely engrossing novella filled with marvels, bizarre encounters, and an array of astonishing creatures--the pelgranes, daihaks, and assorted elementals of Jack Vance's boundless imagination. Written with wit, fidelity, and grace, and rooted in its author's obvious affection for his source material, The Guiding Nose of Ulfänt Banderoz is something special, a collaborative gem in which the talents and sensibilities of two master storytellers come powerfully--and seamlessly--together.
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About the Author
Dan Simmons is an acclaimed author of science fiction, horror, and fantasy books, and he often combines these genres in a single book. Perhaps the best example of this is his first novel, The Song of Kali. He became famous after publishing Hyperion, which won the Hugo and Locus Awards for Best Science Fiction. The Syfy Channel will adapt it for a miniseries.
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If you haven't read it in an anthology, you should read it here.