Tuesday, August 2, 2011

With A Tangled Skein by Piers Anthony

Synopsis From Back Cover:

When the man Niobe loved was shot, she learned that she had been the target, in a devious plot of the Devil's.

Hoping for revenge, Niobe accepted a position as one of the three Aspects of Fate, only to find that Satan's plots were tangled into the very Tapestry of Fate.  Now the Evil One was laying a trap to ruin Niobe's granddaughter Luna, who threatened his plans - and he has tricked her son into Hell.

Niobe's only challenge to save her son and Luna was to accept a challenge by the Prince of Deceit - a challenge to be decided in Hell and in a maze of Satan's devising!

The third book in the Incarnations of Immortality series is one of my favorites, one that I've read tons of times.  We finally meet one of the female Incarnations and she is awesome.  Born to a semi wealthy family and a skilled weaver, she is forced into an arranged marriage with a much young man, a boy really.  He is just starting college and Niobe, at first, wants nothing to do with it, even though it will bring her family the proper connections.  Over time though, she quickly finds herself loving him for who he is.  He is a gentle man with an extraordinary gift for music and a love of nature.  After the birth of their son, things seem to be perfect for them.  Because of his love for nature though he has been studying ecological magic in college.  It's through that magic that he finds out the Devil's plot for Niobe and sacrifices himself to save her life.

In her grief, she places her son with relatives and goes to find a way to bring her husband back. It's through that attempt that she meets Death and is given a choice to either die or become an aspect of Fate.  When she is told how becoming an Incarnation will allow her to exact revenge on Satan for killing her husband, she quickly jumps on board.  Fate is unique among the Incarnations as there are three aspects.  Niobe quickly learns how to share her body and mind with two other women and grows to love her job.  She is able to poke Satan in the eye a few times, but after a period of time she decides to retire and resume her mortal life once again.

As an elderly mortal she reunites with her almost grown son and watches him marry and father a beautiful daughter.  She also marries again, the widowed father of her son's wife, and has a daughter of her own, Orb.  The two girls know that they are aunt and niece, but because of the odd circumstances they call each other sisters.  They are both beautiful and talented and grow up into amazing people.  Luna goes into politics and becomes involved with Zane, the current Incarnation of Death.  Orb, well we will get to Orb in another book.

It's because of Luna though, and the fact that the Evil One will do anything to kill her, that forces Niobe back into the Fate business.  Satan has arranged things perfectly for all three aspects to give up their offices, forcing new choices and a Fate that is inexperienced.  They decide to convince Niobe to join up once again, this time as the middle aspect, a ploy that they don't think the Devil will think of.  But it will leave at least one officeholder with some on the job experience.

Things quickly ratchet up as the Devil puts his latest plan to get rid of Luna into action.  Niobe and the other two must use every skill they have to keep the Father of Lies from winning this round and plunging the world into Hell. Niobe will face dangers in Hell she never dreamed existed as she tries to save the world, Luna, and her son's soul.

What I love the most about this book is that the author is really, for the first time, giving the reader a glance at how all the current Incarnations are going to be connected.  By the end of the series they are all connected by blood or love and it's fun to see the beginnings of it all.  This is also a much easier book to read.  It's not as technical as Bearing An Hourglass or as dark as On A Pale Horse.  It's just as much fun, still has that playfulness about it, but it does have a lighter tone to it.

I love this series and would encourage everyone who likes their science fiction mixed with touches of fantasy and a lot of quirk, to give the books a try.

Other Books In The Series:

On A Pale Horse
Bearing An Hourglass 


bermudaonion said...

I'm going to ask my sister if she's read this series. It sounds like something she'd like.

Blodeuedd said...

Sci-fi mixed with fantasy..like Sheri Tepper? Or was that her name? I have only read one book, and it was freaky but good

Anonymous said...

I love the title of this - so evocative and apt for the threads of fate; the story sounds quite tangled too.

Staci said...

Maybe the quirk would get me over the sci-fi parts!!