In retrospect this book reminds me a little bit of Terry Pratchett's Mort
, though On a Pale Horse
predates it. The idea of Death as an office rather than an entity was very original at the time and the adventures of the protagonist in this book as a rookie Grim Peaper is a lot of fun. The main difference between this book and Mort is the tone, the emphasis of this book is on action and adventuires rather than comedy. This is the first of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality
series and is possibly the best one. As I recall the series went downhill a bit after 3-4 books (it did pick up with For Love of Evil
though, then nose dived after that).
Piers Anthony is often criticized for poor writing style, but in reality his prose is just utilitarian without being elegant or poetic. He is no Le Guin but then his books are generally more fun (without ever being important
). His writing style is easily accessible and suitable for the sort of romp that he writes. At his best Anthony's books are wonderful escapism and he really is on top form with this book.