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On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony

On a Pale Horse

by Piers Anthony

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Incarnations of Immortality (1)

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3,820681,355 (3.86)75
  1. 30
    Mort by Terry Pratchett (ijustgetbored)
    ijustgetbored: Similar theme (Death takes on an apprentice): very funny, and not a bad place to enter Pratchett's Discworld series, if you've never encountered it before.

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English (66)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (68)
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Zane decides to kill himself, but ends up killing Death instead. Forced to take the mantle of Death, Zane begins to make the Incarnation his own.

When I first read this in the early 90s, it was unlike anything I’d ever read. I loved it so much I bought the rest of the series. Now, it’s still good, but I’ve read far better fantasy over the years. I still enjoyed reading it, but the love is mostly gone. I do still enjoy the story though the love story is pretty weird. ( )
  aharey | Apr 2, 2016 |
Book One of Incarnations of Immortality

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! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Not a bad satire on religion and society as a whole. The first book of a series, and I will continue on with it. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
I confess that there were several times during the first half of this book that I nearly put it down. There were spots where I felt like the writing just wasn't my cup of tea. However, I hung with it because I really enjoyed the story he was telling, and wanted to see where it went. The further he got into the story, the more I enjoyed the writing. It ended up being a really fun story that kept you thinking across many planes. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories that make you think, and I'd say hang with it. ( )
  bicyclewriter | Jan 8, 2016 |
ON A PALE HORSE, the first book in the INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY series, is a novel about a man named Zane, who finds himself taking over the job of Death after shooting the previous owner of that title. He must now collect souls and determine whether they should go to Heaven or Hell. Death, of course, comes on a pale horse, hence the title. Written by the well-known fantasy author Piers Anthony, the story takes place in current time, where one can travel by magic carpet or vehicle.
Along his travels around the Earth ending the lives of mortals, Death (Zane) meets other immortals such as the Devil, War, and Mother Nature. He falls in love with Luna, a woman whose soul must be taken, and he is clearly quite reluctant to take it. Apparently the Devil has made a deal for her soul which Death must break in order to be with his love.
More than a sci-fi love story, this novel delves into the different circumstances of death, and how dying people acknowledge it. Whether they fear it, welcome it or it takes them by surprise. The situations are all different and some are quite touching.
ON A PALE HORSE kept me very entertained, and I would recommend it to everyone! ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Piers Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crisp, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Death," the proprietor said clearly, showing the stone.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The Man Who Murdered Death

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 way to defeat the Father of LIes. It was unthinkable - but he had no other solution!
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345338588, Mass Market Paperback)

When Zane shot Death, he learned, too late, that he would have to assume his place, speeding over the world riding his pale horse, and ending the lives of others. Sooner than he would have thought possible, Zane found himself being drawn to Satan's plot. Already the Prince of Evil was forging a trap in which Zane must act to destroy Luna, the woman he loved...unless he could discover the only way out....
The first novel of the INCARNATIONS OF IMMORATLITY series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Zane belongs to a world in which the scientific revolution has been followed by the revolution of magic, and he is thrust into the role of Death.

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