On a Pale Horse

by Piers Anthony
Series: Incarnations of Immortality 1
Reviewed date: 2004 Jan 2
Rating: 4
336 pages
cover art

So this guy Zane kills Death and has to assume the office of the Grim Reaper, aka Death. He goes around harvesting souls, but Zane is a nice guy at heart and he keeps trying to help his clients--sometimes he even saves their lives instead of harvesting their souls. Of course this breach of etiquette upsets certain people, such as Satan. And all the while Zane is learning on the job (hey, there may be magic but that doesn't mean he somehow magically know how to do his new job), and sometimes makes stupid mistakes. So it's Death against Satan. (God kind of stays up in heaven and doesn't interfere, which I thought was an interesting and decidedly ridiculous stance, but this is Mr. Anthony's fantasy world, and for this story, it works pretty well.)

It's a fun book. The theology is a bit messed up, but remember, this is a fantasy book, not theology. Consider everything as fantasy, and it actually comes across as a well-constructed world in which science and magic are each facts of life. Mr. Anthony's writing is clear, witty, and just plain fun to read. He doesn't pile on the philosophy lectures, but he does find ways to comment about death and its importance.

I recommend this book. Furthermore, I'm going to make it a point to read some more Piers Anthony in the future--if his other books are like this then I dare not pass them up.

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