On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony

>> Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jay's comments after my post on The Fairy Godmother mentioned a series that was so intriguing that I just HAD to go get it. I mean...

in the first book, On a Pale Horse, this guy Zane is thinking about killing himself, gets a gun and just as he's about to shoot himself, he sees this guy walk in the door. he's like wtf? and shoots the guy dead instead. turns out the guy that walked in was Death aka the grim reaper. see Death knew that Zane was going to kill himself, miscalculated, and showed up a little too early. But since Zane killed Death, now he has to take over his position. intrigued yet?

in case you were wondering the other incarnations are as follows: Father Time (Bearing an Hourglass), Fate (With a Tangled Skein), War (Wielding a Red Sword), Nature (Being a Green Mother), Satan (For Love of Evil), and God (And Eternity). yep the last two books are about the people that take over the jobs of Satan and God.
How could I resist?

The series is the Incarnations of Immortality, by Piers Anthony, and, as Jay says, it starts with On a Pale Horse.

When Zane shot Death, he learned, too late, that he would have to assume his place, speeding over the world riding his pale horse, and ending the lives of others. Sooner than he would have thought possible, Zane found himself being drawn to Satan's plot. Already the Prince of Evil was forging a trap in which Zane must act to destroy Luna, the woman he loved...unless he could discover the only way out....
Ok, as I said in my post about The Fairy Godmother, I'm very much a newbie to fantasy, so I guess I'm easily wowed. But... wow!! I just cannot believe the imagination this guy has.

Anthony builds a fascinating, complicated world, and he plays with such absolutely huge stuff that I kept thinking "surely he wouldn't dare to touch this?". But he does, and pulls it off with style. God, the Devil, I'm talking as big as that.

I think my favourite thing about the whole book was seeing Zane's day to day work as Death and the implications of it. I loved seeing him figure out how to do things and what is expected of him. I especially enjoyed seeing him grappling with the conflict between what he's supposed to do and what he thinks he should do.

Slighly less wonderful was the romantic element. Well, I'm a newbie only in the fantasy area, in the romance area, I usually read from the pros, so it makes sense. But still, that's just minor stuff, and this was a B+ for me. I've already found myself a copy of Bearing an Hourglass...


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