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Sixteen-year-old Annie Ember lives in grinding poverty in the city...until one day in a mysterious shop she discovers a tiny and ancient ivory elephant. The subsequent murder of her sister's husband leaves Annie homeless, and she is found employment in a country house far away.
Sir Hampton Smolte returned from India with a great fortune - and also a dark obsession with that conquered land. His mansion is fanciful and extraordinary, like a raja's palace set down in green English parkland.
Annie becomes a scullery maid in this strange place full of stuffed animals, eccentric servants and the even more peculiar Smolte family. Soon she catches the eye of the handsome Rupert and gradually succumbs to his advances...till one night she learns in disgust and horror just what his lovemaking entails.
Annie's helpless fury then transforms this dream-house into a whirlwind of panic and the impossible...legging in all the avenging power of the jungle, and unlocking Hampton Smolte's darkest secrets.
Tanith Lee (1947-2015)Tanith Lee was born in London in 1947. She is the author of more than 70 novels and almost 300 short stories, and has also written radio plays for the BBC and two scripts for the cult television series Blake's 7. Her first short story, 'Eustace', was published in 1968, and her first children's novel The Dragon Hoard was published in 1971. In 1975 her adult fantasy epic The Birthgrave was published to international acclaim, and Lee maintained a prolific output in popular genre writing throughout her life. She twice won the World Fantasy Award, and was a Guest of Honour at numerous science fiction and fantasy conventions including the 1984 World Fantasy Convention in Ottawa, Canada. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master of Horror, and in 2013 she was given the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Tanith Lee was married to author and artist John Kaiine. She died in May, 2015.