On a Pale Horse (Review)

On a Pale Horse (Review)

remember becoming aware of this book when my date was reading it on a cloudy day on a Chesapeake beach some forty years ago. I remember saying I’d read it soon. Well, the date turned into a relationship that turned into a bad joke. But yes, four decades later, I finally picked this book up.

One reservation (not about the girlfriend (which I should have had)) on the book; it is part one of something called The Incarnations of Immortality. And since I got this in a used book store, it’s like a four leaf clover – just because you found the one, others aren’t around.

So let’s get to it – Zane is a guy who is in debt, living in the slums, in a world like ours except that magic works as well as science. He’s managed to get a handgun and decides to blow himself away. Putting the gun to his head, he tightens a finger on the trigger when Death (robes, scythe, all that) sweeps in. Instinctively, he jerks his hand down and puts one right through Death’s skull. And through that act, he takes the place of the late Death, now tasked with plucking up souls from the dying, specifically souls too close to Heaven and Hell for an easy judgement.

And hardly has he established himself in his new job when he finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue. The other godlings – Fate, Nature, War, Time and so on – are trying to  stand in Satan’s way by protecting a girl who will one day thwart His plans. And now Death has his bony hands full, fending off demonic attacks while trying to protect the woman he now loves.

Anyway, it was a good start to the series. I found it interesting, just not interesting enough to go onto Amazon (or some surviving bookstore) and order the set. It did have some interesting ideas but it didn’t quite grip me, not fully. Maybe fantasy has moved on over the last forty years. Maybe I’ve changed.

Well, anyway, I read it.