In Review: Wielding a Red Sword by Piers Anthony

Released 9-12-86
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Format: Hardcover

Book four of the Incarnations of Immortality series brings the story of War. Mym, the latest incarnation interconnects the current incarnations as a whole more fully. As a young prince he runs away from the marriage proposed by his father and joins the circus where he meets the lovely Orb, who was in the prior book. He’s dragged back home to marry the princess, Rapture, whom he falls in love with. After becoming War, Rapture becomes more independent and Satan seizes the opportunity to insert a demoness in War’s life, though War comes to love both the demoness and the princess, thus gaining Satan nothing.
Satan continues to scheme, even going as far as to trap Mym in hell, and still it is not enough. Through cunning, and ultimately giving Satan exactly what he wants Satan crumbles.  Piers Anthony again writes a strong story integrating the fantastic Miyamoto Mushahi’s famous treatise as Mym’s mantra with memorable characters. Satan is again shown as not necessarily evil, sure there is scheming but ultimately heaven and hell, life and death, all are a delicate business, and Satan is just the manager of one side. Luna Kaftan is again at the heart of his schemes, and all he’s doing is preventing her from ascending to a political position.
The character of War, Mym, is well rounded and easily likable. Anthony is good at crafting characters in which the reader can easily get behind and root for, even if they don’t fully hate the antagonist, Satan. Although the plot was good, the lead up to Mym actually taking the office of War was overly long. Still, once Mym steps into War’s shoes, the story picks up pace, and the cunning he shows is very fun. It’s a good installment to the fantastic series.


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