Sunday, July 25, 2010

On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Shooting Death was a mistake, as Zane soon discovered.  For the man who killed the Incarnation of Death, was immediately forced to assume the vacant position!  Thereafter, he must speed over the world, riding his pale horse, and ending the lives of others.

Zane was forced to accept his unwelcome task, despite the rules that seemed woefully unfair.  But then he found himself being drawn into an evil plot of Satan.  Already the Prince of Evil was forging a trap in which Zane must act to destroy Luna, the woman he loved.

He could see only one possible way to defeat the Father of Lies.  It was unthinkable - but he had no other solution!

This is a reread for me actually, I can't even remember how many times I have read this book or the series it's a part of.  I couldn't even tell you when the first time I read it was.  What I can tell you is that this is a wonderful start to the Incarnations of Immortality series, written by the brilliant Piers Anthony.

The series takes place in a world where science and magic work side by side with each other.  You can take a trip in a state of the art flying car or on a flying carpet.  You can buy a gem to find wealth or love and you better watch out for the dragons as well.  Where this series really sets itself apart though is that basic concepts of Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature, Good, Evil, and Night are actually offices held by individuals until circumstances takes them out of the job.  Death, which this book explores is held by someone who has to kill the previous office holder, who then becomes Thanatos, the living embodiment of Death.

Zane is a down and out young man with no real prospects ahead of him, he is guilty of a past sin that is weakening him until he is no longer able to live with himself.  On the verge of killing himself, he sees Death walk in and instead of shooting himself, he shoots Death.  From there on out his life will never be the same again.  He has to fight Satan, who is a great salesman, for the life of the woman he loves.  The showdown forces Death to go on strike and only wits and clear thinking allows Zane to come out on top.

This is a brilliant book in an even better series and I'm looking forward to rereading the rest of the series soon.


Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

Thanks for this review. Piers Anthony was a childhood favorite of mine with the Xanth series. This series sounds like a refreshing taste for my adult reads now! :D

Simcha said...

I was so excited to see you review this book because it's on my To Read list for years but I've just never pushed myself to read it. I used to love Antony's Xanth books when I was younger and I've been intending to try his other series as well. This does sound really interesting, and with your recommendation- perhaps I'll now finally read it ( I think I even own the whole series)

Staci said...

I've always meant to read an Anthony book but haven't. I think I need to so that I can appreciate the genre!

Lydia said...

I've never.. even heard of Piers Anthony (but such a cool name!). This looks really, really interesting though!

Oregon Kimm said...

It seems like forever since I read this book. I'm a life long fan of Piers. I still remember the first book of his that got me hooked on him forever: I was 11 years old and had the chicken pox. My mother bought me Dragon on a Pedestal. While Xanth is different from his IofI series, I love them all just the same.