1985; 380 pages. New Author? : No. Book 3 (out of 8) in the Incarnations of Immortality series. Genre : Fantasy; Series. Overall Rating : 4½*/10.
is going to shed a lot of tears. Her
young husband, Cedric, has just been shot, and now she’s learned that she was
the intended target. Even worse, the
whole thing was plotted by Satan himself.
Niobe will move Heaven and Earth to get Cedric back. But if that won’t work, she will somehow find
a way to take her revenge on Satan. You
could say there is going to be Hell to pay.
What’s To Like...
with the previous books in this series, a new “Incarnation” is showcased in With A Tangled Skein. This time it’s Fate; in the first two books we met Death and Time. Once again, Piers Anthony cleverly tweaks the
mythology – here he puts all three Fates (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) in one body;
they are separate entities in Greek legend.
If you liked the plotline in the first two books, you’ll be happy here
too – it’s the same thing. A mortal is thrust
into the role of an Incarnation, runs afoul of Satan, and bests him in a
are also some serious weaknesses; most notably the writing and the
storytelling. It feels like the target
audience is Young Teens, and Piers Anthony gets incredibly repetitive as if
he’s worried that the reader isn’t grasping some basic concepts – Niobe loves
Cedric, Satan can’t hurt an Incarnation, etc.
There are meaningless tangents, among them a quest to procure a pair of
magical items. Major characters die out
on a whim. And we get some of the
author’s personal – but irrelevant – views on diverse things such as Ted
Kennedy, the UN, and the IRS. There are
some neat twists – the deer get to shoot back at the hunters – but even these
have no bearing on the main Niobe-vs.-Satan plotline.
Kewlest New Word...
: The sky; the vault of heaven; the firmament.
(A)n old black woman sat in her rocking
chair on a rickety porch, watching children play handball in the street. She looked up as Atropos appeared before
her. “’Bout time you got here,” she
Even Atropos was taken aback by this. “You know me?”
I know you.
I was expecting Death, though, not Fate.”
“I have come to ask you to take my
place. If you do, you will meet Death
only as a business associate.”
“I thought he already was. I’ve buried more kin than I can count on my
hands.” (pg. 223)
Clotho’s temper flared again. She spoke a few sharp words in Japanese.
Mars smiled. “And you are the mother of a sickly dog,” he
responded in the same language. Niobe
and Atropos picked up the meaning from Clotho’s mind.
Clotho was aghast. “You understood!”
“Sweet stuff, War knows every language of
mankind! If you wish to quarrel, you
have come to the right party.” (pg.
“When an unscheduled death occurs, the threads of Fate tangle.” (pg. 60)
big problem with With A Tangled Skein
is the sexism. Here’s a couple examples
“She was no
muscular man...” (329)
“...not for a weak,
middle-aged woman...” (343)
“A man may have leaped
across; she had no such hope...” (349)
Wow. Is the author trying to give
young female readers a low self-image or what?!
But even that pales in comparison to rape. Apparently, guys can demand rape as
compensation for losing face, and girls who find themselves in that situation
are advised to just lay back and enjoy it.
Words fail me.
This is probably as far as I go with this series. My reviews of the first two books are here
and here. 4½ Stars. Add one star you
haven’t read any other Incarnations of
Immortality books; the plotline will be fresher. And if you have a young daughter, hide this
book someplace where she’ll never find it.