An interesting read. I enjoyed the idea of mythological forces personified by average human individuals, with average sorts of problems. Death is every person's right! I hope he doesn't go on strike when it's my turn to take the plunge.
Normally I stay from Piers Anthony novels because I despise his Xanth series of books, but a friend recommended it and I gave it a try. This is perhaps one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. Anthony creates a believable world in which magic and technology co-exist, and the incarnations of Death, Time, Fate, Nature, War, God, and Satan are actually positions which are held by former mortals.
Though the book is fantasy, Anthony weaves his thoughts on life, death, and dying into the story without it seeming obvious (like other authors *cough* Orson Scott Card *cough*).
I recommend this to anyone with even a slight interest in fantasy. I can't read to read the other six books on this series.
For some reason after I first bought this book, it took me almost two years to read it. I read the back cover and I thought it just sounded... weird. Then I finally read it and realized what a dope I was. Although Anthony's writing isn't the greatest out there, this is a fabulous story with interesting ideas. The rest of the series is good, too, but this one is the most surprising and still my favorite.
I had forgotten how incredible this book is! I began reading it as soon as I opened the package and I couldn't put it down. Now I'm searching for the sequels-- it's a mesmerizing story.
A man kills death then must assume Death's duties while fighting Satan for the woman he loves. You can't get much more interesting than that! There's not any language or "satantic" scenes. Definitely appropriate for high schoolers.
This is the first book in the Incarnations of Immortality series, and one of my favorites. I'm not a big fan of the Xanath series, but this one took me away! I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it.
What can one say about Piers Anthony? Been a fave of mine since "Spell for Chameleon," many moons ago. This is another of the "magic in the world" kinda books. Definitely fantasy, with magic an everyday commodity and visible all round you, every day. Some of the spells and powers he puts in his characters are truly inventive and original. Written in 1983, it's still futuristic, even today. Piers writes for everyone, so it's good for teens through adults, I'd say.
ON A PALE HORSE, by Piers Anthony (1989) DEATH, Book-1
The first book in the "Incarnations of Immortality" series. A young man--at the end of his tether and about to commit suicide--suddenly finds that he has become Death with a capitol "D." Required by the laws of the universe to collect the souls of those who are dying, he travels the Earth unseen by all but those who are moments away from death. As he tries to come to terms with his new existence, he meets other Immortals and begins to fathom his place in the universe.
Height: 6.5 in.
Width: 4.5 in.
Thickness: 0.8 in.
Weight: 5.6 oz.
As the Incarnation of Death, Zane must end the lives of others but then he finds himself being drawn into an evil plot of Satan's, to destroy Luna, the woman he loves.
I thought this Piers Anthony series was great. It has been awhile since I have read them, but they really stuck with me over the years. The concept of really people taking on the job of "death", "fate", "god", "the devil", etc is intriguing to me.
Awesome book - my husband is a major fan Piers Anthony and has a large collection of his books. Thanks again so much for the book and for others interested in reading anything by Peirs Anthony you'll not be disappointed. :)
The story of a 'regular guy,' Zane, who after a run of bad luck, decides to commit suicide - but instead, as Fate would have it, is picked to assume the office of Death. The job comes with any number a perks - a shapechanging Deathhorse, a manor in purgatory, and who knows what powers - Zane needs to figure that out as he goes along, collecting the sould of those whose lives are in balance, neither good nor evil, to be sorted out and sent to hell, heaven, or purgatory.
To complicate things, there's a pretty girl, Luna, whose magician dad has tried to engineer things so that Zane would get together with her - and of, course, an ongoing struggle between god and Satan - and Satan seems to be cheating.
This is an entertaining-enough light fantasy read, but it also has pretentions to "pointed social satire" as Anthony says - which aren't really that pointed. The characterization is slight, and it also seemed slightly sexist. The cosmology is also very simplistic.
Four years later than this book, Terry Pratchett published his humorous fantasy book about Death (Mort), which shares a LOT of similarities with this book - and although it might have come later, it's just much much funnier and better-done. If I hadn't already read Mort, I probably would have liked this much better.
At the end of 'On A Pale Horse' is a rather long 'Author's Note' in which Anthony talks about some of his aims as a writer and his life at the time of reading the book - and it's a really interesting, attention-grabbing essay. Ironically, it might have been my favorite part of the book!
This book is definitely different than my usual Sci=Fi reading. It starts right into the story, no slow lead-in or warm up with this book. The main character lives in a world which is governed more by magic and spells than science. Satan is actively advertising for hell, and "nature" "death" etc. are offices held by mortal who due to fate are placed into those "offices".
Death is a job and he sets out to do it, but he quickly is in over his head and involved in a conspiracy to cheat and beat Satan at his own game.
It is weird, but if you have a good imagination I think you would enjoy this book. I did end up really liking the main character, the idea that death and mother nature and father time etc. really exist was a good one!
Read it, you will like it if you like fantasy/sci-fi. This is not the post-apocalyptic book I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
i love this book , it is one of my favorites . The first in the incarnations of immortality series, Zane is going to shoot himself, but at the last second points the trigger at death, and he who kills death must become him. This is a very unique book.
First book in the Incarnations of Immortality series. These books are enjoyable and I would recommend them to any adolescent reader. If you have or know reluctant readers, this series is one I would recommend. I enjoyed this one so much that I read the rest of the series and have recommended them to many friends!
In the first book of the Incarnations of Immortality, Piers Anthony takes on Death. Zane, a fairly ineffective person in life, accidentally kills Death instead of committing suicide, and must take over his position. He is almost immediately drawn into an evil plot of Satan's to destroy Luna, the woman he is falling in love with, and must use all the powers of his new position to try to defeat the Father of Lies...
One of the best damn books to open a series ever. While the rest of the Incarnations of Immortality is of questionable value, this book ranks in my top ten. I love the way it looks at death from many different angles, and takes away much of the 'scare' factor. When I was a dark and troubled youth in middle school, this book was surprisingly comforting to me.
I found this book to be quite unique.. it wove the world of lives into the world of death in such a way to make it a very extraordinary read.
from the 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 was to defeat the Father of Lies. It was unthinkable- but he had no other solution!