On a Pale Horse PDF/EPUB ¶ On a PDF/EPUB ²

On a Pale Horse [Download] ➸ On a Pale Horse ➽ Piers Anthony – Thomashillier.co.uk When Zane shoots Death he has to take the job speeding over the world riding Mortis his pale horselimo measuring souls for the exact balance of Good and Evil sending each to Heaven or Hell instead of When Zane shoots Death he has to take the job speeding over the world riding Mortis his pale horselimo measuring souls for the exact balance of Good and Evil sending each to Heaven or Hell instead of Purgatory The new Thanatos is superbly competent ends pain when he ends lives On a PDF/EPUB ² But Satan is forging a trap for Luna the woman Death loves.

10 thoughts on “On a Pale Horse

  1. Stephen Stephen says:

    40 stars Piers Anthony is a MIND NUMBING ENIGMA to me He is capable of writing extremely thought provoking imaginative stories that are both original and speak to fundamental aspects of the human condition The mystery is that he does so infreuently despite being one of the most prolific authors in the speculative fiction Waiton second thought maybe that is the answer uantity of production slamming right into the proverbial nuts of uality Well this first novel in the Incarnations of Immortality series is certainly one that resides in the relatively exclusive group of high uality Piers Anthony books Along with Macroscope which I need to re read soon it is my favorite of his novels and I found myself impressed by both the general concept of the story as well as his execution of it The Incarnations series is founded on the premise that humans assume the roles of 5 of the 7 major supernatural offices called Incarnations ie Death War Fate Time and Nature The other 2 Incarnations Good and Evil are permanently held by the Big G and the man downstairs who are engaged in a perpetual fight for the souls of all mankind All of this takes place in a world similar though advanced to ours except that both science and magic exist side by side eg flying cars and flying carpets organ transplants and healing elixirs As you can guess based on the title this first book in the series focuses on the Incarnation of DeathDUH Zane is a lonely suicidal man who while contemplating taking his own life accidentally kills Death I know ironical Zane is then tasked with assuming the role of Death I know this may sound cheesy but it is actually handled pretty well in the story and has some very humorous moments Death's role is to send the souls of the deceased to either heaven or hell or purgatory depending on the balance between the good and evil present in the soul at the time of death UICK NOTE yepturns out a person's religion has NOTHING to do with it and heaven or hell is solely no pun intended a matter of doing good than harm during your life Kinda comforting isn't it Anyway good deeds are extremely light In fact they are lighter than air and actually float On the otehr hand evil deeds have substantial weight and weigh a soul down So a good person's soul will float up towards heaven whereas a bad person’s willyou get the idea Finally when a soul is in extremely fine balance between good and evil Death is the final arbiter of the soul’s final destination That's about all you need for set up The rest of this very interesting novel involves Zane learning about how the universe is run and coming into conflict with Satan over the soul of a particular person It seems their is an ancient prophecy that says that this individual will foil Satan’s plans for the world so naturally ole horn head wants the person dead In addition to being very entertaining there are some very neat discussions about the nature of good and evil This is Piers Anthony at his best Taking a “big picture” concept and making an entertaining yet thoughtful examination of it in the context of a terrific story I have read the next two books in this series and while not as good as this one they are generally entertaining with “flashes of brilliance” Highly Recommended

  2. Kate Kate says:

    Ok I think it's time to delve into my long evolving and conflicted feelings about this series and about Piers Anthony Especially since I changed my rating for this book from a 5 to a 1When I was young I loved this series It was on my favourites list throughout high school I was also pretty obsessed with the Xanth series and would get new books from that series for many christmases and birthdays These series and Piers in general go into my adult category of things I can't believe I didn't realize were sexistAs an adult I started to revisit some of my favourite series from childhood just to see if they'd hold up Animorphs which blew my mind and changed my entire life from grade 4 onward does not hold up writing wise but the stories are still good and still pretty mind blowing as the introduction for a 10 year old to serious for a 10 year old sci fi The Giver does hold up magnificently Piers Anthony just ends up being a sexist old man writing juvenile screeds couched in sci fi and fantasy And unfortunately I still like his stories and ideas There's a lot in there that's good Alas there's so much that's bad that it's really not worth itFor example in the very first scene of this book we meet a gorgeous rich woman who will fall in love with any person who saves her life This is not even the point of the scene the point is that the crafty magic stone peddler stole the poor dupe's true loveas women are property and have no minds of their own What does true love even mean if you can just swoop in and steal it from someone? Is this woman's mind so empty of her own thoughts and feelings that she counts adrenaline as love? That's about where I stopped reading and started skimming The series as a whole and Piers' writing as a whole is filled with gorgeous women who all look exactly the same big eyes small noses long hair ample bosom but not too ample just the perfect amount of ample small waists and above all as young as possible without being creepy though he sometimes just says fuck it and goes with creepy There are of course middle aged women women with large noses and small eyes and sometimes they even have brains but it's always despite their looks Because there is no woman character ever introduced in ANY Piers Anthony book EVER WRITTEN I haven't checked but I would bet a lot on it whose attractiveness is not commented on in some way Hey a women who has been living for 20 years on her wits in exile I wonder what she'll say first when she meets someone from her home? Tell me the truth do I remain sexually appealing? Hey aren't you one of the aspects of FATE one of the most powerful beings in all of space and time? What wonderful and interesting things are you thinking about right now? I'm middle aged and therefore ugly Ah yes Piers you have captured a woman's mind perfectly I AM always thinking about how my nose could be pert and am also constantly looking for validation from men that they find me sexually attractive Literally every second of every day On the other side it is exceedingly rare for a male character to think about his own attractiveness Instead he is also always thinking about the attractiveness of his female companionI would really love for someone to re write the Incarnations of Immortality so that I could enjoy the stories again while cutting out all the bullshit sexism and frankly poor character development I think that Piers actually believes he is writing strong female characters which is pretty scary The prospect of actually re reading all of these books is scary too so I'm just going to spare myself and remember the stories fondly

  3. J.L. Sutton J.L. Sutton says:

    “Do you seek to bribe Death?” Zane asked half angry and two thirds curious” I'd read Anthony's Apprentice Adept Series beginning with Split Infinity when I was in high school I liked how technology was mixed with magic In On a Pale Horse the first book in the Incarnations of Immortality Series there's a similar kind of mixing going on The story focuses on a normal man Zane becoming the next incarnation of Death Instead of simply relying on the traditional accoutrements of the office DeathZane has a stallion at his disposal that can also morph into a car plane or boat It took a while to get to the plot a little turf war with Satan and I'd hoped for a somewhat deeper dive but this was a uick and fun read 325 stars

  4. Lyn Lyn says:

    This was the first book I ever read of Piers Anthony and I was hooked Original imaginative and told by a true story teller this was a gem And best of all this blended good science fiction with pure fantasy elements to make a very enjoyable read A man accidentally kills Death an incarnation of Immortality and shades of Tim Allen in The Santa Clause he must don the black mantle and ride the white horse It turns out to be a white car and a pretty cool gig when all is settled That is until the Hellhounds show upUnfortunately I don't think the rest of the series was anywhere nearly as good On a Pale Horse has nonetheless remained timeless as I have often thought about it since

  5. Heather Heather says:

    This is the first in the Incarnations of Immortality series and probably the best of the batch I believe I read somewhere that Anthony originally intended only to write the five Death Time Fate War and Earth and I think he probably should have stopped there because while With a Tangled Skein is probably the best book of the series in terms of pulling the other books together they did as Sci Fi series so often do start to drag uite a bit towards the later books and ended up just plain silly by the end of the seventh book in the series And EternityAll that said On a Pale Horse being the reader's first look at this world it is an original concept for a novel As a 16 year old at least it was a very engrossing read as was the rest of the series as a whole

  6. Kat Hooper Kat Hooper says:

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy LiteratureWhen the grim reaper shows up a few seconds early Zane shoots him instead of using the gun on himself as he’d planned Now instead of being dead Zane is Death He has to take over the office riding around the world in his convertible pale horse collecting and measuring the souls of those who’ve committed eual amounts of good and evil during their lives — those who are “in balance” In his new guise complete with all of the accoutrements scythe hooded cloak skeleton face etc Zane sets out to change Death’s image while dealing with his own personal demonsThis is a fun premise and I expected Piers Anthony to do a lot with it but unfortunately I found On a Pale Horse to be mostly illogical trite and worst sin of all just plain boring Part of the problem is that it doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy a love story or a heavy philosophical treatise It tries to do all three it should have been possible but it fails at all three The comedy as usual for Piers Anthony consists of puns allusions and light black humor For example when Zane asks Mortis the pale horse something to which the answer is negative Mortis says “neigh” that was the only one I actually laughed at I enjoy puns in real life dialogue they indicate a uick wit but they don’t often work for me in print and this is one of the reasons I don’t read Piers Anthony I gave up on the first Xanth book after 4 chapters but I tried On a Pale Horse because it sounded mature and interestingThere were some things I did find funny — Death lives in a house that looks like a funeral home and answers fan mail Satan uses his publicity budget to sponsor Hellathons group plans and billboard advertising a soul’s balance of good and evil is computed like an income tax and you should hear Satan argue with a female Irish fishmonger — but mostly I found the humor and cheesy dialogue to be juvenileThe love story is juvenile too Zane meets and immediately falls in love with Luna whose main attractions are that she is beautiful well dressed serious and likes the same kind of art as Zane After only a couple of conversations which they apparently think are deep they are in love but the reader certainly doesn’t feel itThe humor and the romance are silly but the thing that really killed On a Pale Horse for me was that it tries to be thoughtful and enlightening as Zane attends a variety of deathbed scenarios that illustrate the unfairness loneliness guilt relief grief and ugliness of death In these scenes there’s a long string of them there is a lot of repetitive introspection and pondering and some “lessons” about the selfishness of suicide the effects of incest or rape the tragedy of an untimely death the positive and negative aspects of war Sounds like it could be profound and I know it’s supposed to be profound because in the rather pompous and lengthy one hour on audio author’s note at the end Mr Anthony says “it is a satiric look at contemporary society with some savagely pointed criticism It’s also a serious exploration of man’s relation to death an ambitious hard hitting social commentary” Except it’s not It’s rather superficially processed and it’s all stuff that most thinking adults have pondered many times before There’s nothing new here even for 1984 when it was publishedJust as one example there’s a long scene in which Zane as Death enters a medical facility where machines are keeping dying people alive against their wishes When he shuts down the power and they all are relieved that they can now die he thinks he has greatly sinned and that now he’ll have to make up for it by doing good deeds Of course we the readers recognize that his mercy is the good deed and that it’s not a sin to let people die naturally but why hasn’t this occurred to him before especially since he’s had personal experience with the issue and he’s been thinking about it for months? Luna tells him “I think sometimes you just have to sin in order to do the right thing” which is a profound revelation for Zane but it makes me wonder why an adult who hasn’t advanced very far through Kohlberg’s stages of moral development was chosen to be Death This sophomoric philosophizing might work better in a YA novel but On a Pale Horse with its succubi and other sexual references is marketed to adultsI was beyond bored with On a Pale Horse and the only reason I managed to finish it was so that I could thoroughly review it Unfortunately I was listening on audio and couldn’t skim The reader George Guidall wonderful as he is actually seems to slow down during the introspective scenes I guess so that I can have time to process the heavy material?Another reason that the attempted weightiness of the story didn’t work for me is that On a Pale Horse is completely based on Christian theology It’s okay that Anthony gets some of it really wrong purgatory is not Biblical and neither is the idea that criminals and children of rape or incest are unacceptable to Heaven but what’s hard to overlook is that no mention is made of redemption which is the crux of Christian belief and a popular theme in fantasy literature The whole point of Christianity is that Jesus paid the price for sin so souls are not measured by the balance of good and evil deeds but by whether or not they belong to JesusOf course a savior would completely throw off Piers Anthony’s entire premise which is that man must secure a place in heaven by doing good than evil In order for this to work Christ must be excluded but in that case it seems that it would be better to not use CHRISTianity as the basis for the story because it forces the premise to fail Mr Anthony knows that he knows we know it and he wants us to just wink it away so that his story works with all of the clever Christian puns and allusions For the most part I was able to do that and I could have been perfectly happy doing that if On a Pale Horse didn’t ask me to think But when it asks me to seriously consider eternal issues and the nature of sin and death good and evil and Heaven and Hell in the context of a Christian system then I have trouble leaving redemption out of the picture — my thinking is restricted and I don’t get very far if I have to omit key elements of the doctrine For this reason On a Pale Horse would have worked better as strictly a comedyORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature

  7. Wanda Wanda says:

    Actual rating 25 starsI can see where I would have been really into this series if I’d read it as a teenager I was just busy reading at that point in my life and not very much into evaluating what I was taking in It is a very male oriented story with women being mostly objects that they compete for and fight over The male characters evaluate women by their age and attractiveness although ZaneDeath comes to grudgingly admire Luna’s strength intelligence and morality If I had children I wouldn’t encourage them to read this series but if they did we would need to talk about the role of women in it and why it shouldn’t be used as a model for relationships The female characters often say some very chauvinistic things as if Anthony believed it was acceptable to be prejudiced as long as the female characters voice those thoughts eg that as women get old they just bag sag and lose all their attractiveness implying that without youthful attractiveness they really aren’t worth anything any The writing is acceptable; the morality is extremely black and white Having characters like God and Satan included in the list of characters plunges the reader very much into a Christian universe and there is no escaping that uni religion slant Since I attended Sunday School as a child I was conversant with the details of that worldview but I wonder how many modern young people would be? It might be interesting for non Christian readers although I would hate for them to get their Christian theology from Anthony or it might be off putting On the plus side I really enjoyed the horsecar Mortis and the idea that a new person in the Incarnation of Death could shake up the job uite a bit I’ve read these books out of order it doesn’t affect their understanding all that much since they’re fairly simplistic so I’ve only got a couple to go I’ve abandoned Anthony’s Xanth series because it bores and annoys me but I haven’t made any hard and fast decisions about this one Not my favourite author although I can understand what others may see in his workBook number 181 in my science fiction fantasy reading project

  8. David Staniforth David Staniforth says:

    This was the book that got me into reading fiction many years ago and inspired me to want to write The reading happened straight away and I've not stopped since; the writing took a little longer to get started and I see no sign of stopping that now eitherSo reading for the second time many years later much of the narrative feels a little dated in regard to social references and attitudes but I enjoyed the story just as much as I did as a young man Now I feel compelled to reread the rest of the seriesHighly recommended especially if you already like fantasy

  9. seak seak says:

    Maybe a better title for this book would be Euthanasia RocksI honestly thought I would like this book a whole lot It doesn't help that the impetus for my reading this book was a good friend's rusty memory of reading this in high school I feel that would have been a great time to read it now less soMy main problem was the annoying protagonist I don't know if this was something that was a rule for fantasy writing in the 80s but what is with the protagonist who's characterized as being intelligent but who's as dense as a rock throughout the entirety of the bookIn just about every situation the author draws out the explanation whether it's magic or a plot complication because the protagonist is the last person to understand Obviously this is for the benefit of the reader but I can tell you I'd much prefer the protagonist who knows but doesn't let the reader know At least it's according to characterI can't be too harsh because I enjoyed the ideas presented and thought it was done in a capable manner There were plenty of inconsistencies and points where disbelief just could no longer be suspended but it was also kind of cool to be in a world with magic alongside technologyAnd I know you're not supposed to do this in a review and that is tell the author how to do something but I feel like there was a huge oversight in making a hilarious character out of the pale horse Mortis He was dull though horse like I guess Come on where's the wise cracking buddy?I don't think I'll be reading further in this series I enjoyed parts but I was mostly annoyed and rumor has it this is the best installment No thanks25 out of 5 Stars slightly better than okay

  10. Chris Salzman Chris Salzman says:

    I first read this book back when I was 13 and loved it Immediately tore through the rest of the books in the series and would regularly bring up the series in conversations about books worth reading A few months back I found a paperback copy of On A Pale Horse at a book sale for 50 cents and picked it up thinking it'd be fun to revisit the series WellThis is an extraordinarily sexist book Alarmingly so Women are regularly approximately every time they are talked about described by their physical characteristics And Anthony clearly has a type which basically boils down to just past the age of consent and sometimes just before it too Older women are referred to as hags or otherwise sexually disgusting They are prized for their sexuality and then looked upon as broken if they've used it It's deeply alarming The rest of the story is shallow despite being about the balance of Good and Evil Eternity and the supernatural are broken out into Richard Scarry like job descriptions Death in this case is tasked with helping people on to the afterlife The result is a handful of wouldn't it be hard to take someone's soul in this circumstance‽ vignettes each shallow and tidy than they should beIt's rough re reading a book you loved and realizing how problematic it's always been What lessons or perspectives did I inadvertently take from it? Probably than I'd like to admit At one point I remarked to my wife how terrible the book was and how I remembered it being much better than it was She astutely said Maybe you changed? I think that's true

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