Title ~ On A Pale Horse
Series ~ Incarnations of Immortality, #1
Author ~ Piers Anthony
Publisher ~ Del Rey
Published ~ 1 September 1983
Genre ~ Fantasy
*Book source ~ My home library
My Rating ~ 5 bites out of 5
Zane is a mediocre man that has led a less than stellar life. After purchasing a worthless Wealthstone from a magic shop he decides he’d be better off dead. Having acquired a gun by chance he decides to aerate his head. However, right before he pulls the trigger Death walks through the door startling Zane. Zane turns the gun on Death and kills him instead. The door opens again and Fate walks in to tell him that since he killed Death he must now fill the office. Zane’s life is about to get weird.
Back in 1997 a friend gave me a copy of this book. I had no idea what it was about or that I would devour it and all subsequent sequels with a veracity little seen. I was fascinated with the idea that Death is an office held by a living person. Not just Death, but Time, Fate, War and Green Mother as well as God and Satan though their offices were a tad different than the others. Also, the setting is interesting, where science and magic live side-by-side. How cool would that world be?
It was interesting watching Zane struggle to fulfill his office to the best of his ability. He may have been a loser in life, but he wanted to do a good job as Death. There were times he wanted to give up (not possible while his soul was in balance) and times when the rules frustrated him. So he changed some of them to suit his purpose hoping that when his trial time was up he would get a good report.
Among all the things Zane has to learn about the job there is a much larger plot going on behind the scenes and it has to do with a woman he meets through a powerful magician client. Her name is Luna and he falls in love with her. But Satan has other plans for her and it becomes a battle between Satan and Death, a battle Zane is determined to win.
The subject matter got a little weighty at times, but it really didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. Since 1997, I have read this book several times and have enjoyed it each and every time.