Dan Schwent 's Reviews > Merkabah Rider: The Mensch with No Name

Merkabah Rider by Edward M. Erdelac
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Jun 24, 11

bookshelves: weird-western, 2011, books-by-authors-i-have-interviewed
Read from June 20 to 24, 2011

The Merkabah Rider is a Hasidic gunfighter well versed in Jewish mystacism, on a journey across the Old West in search of his mentor and betrayer, Adon. This is the second collection of his tales.

The Infernal Napoleon: The Rider is pursued by the minions of Lilith and they catch up with him in the tiny town of Varuga tanks. Can the Rider overcome half-breed demons and a cannon that was used in the war between angels to continue his search for Adon?

The Merkabah Rider's question resumes with a bang. The Infernal Napoleon was a great plot device. Both biblical and Lovecratian mythologies are references, most notably the story of Samson. By the time it's over, the Rider has been through the wringer yet again.

The Damned Dingus: The Rider is on a train that is robbed and loses his gun to the robbers. With Doc Holiday and Mysterious Dave Mather in tow, The Rider goes to reclaim his Volcanic pistol and gets a lot more than he bargained for...

Wow. The Damned Dingus was damned good. The Lovecraftian overtones get even stronger and the invisible creature was straight out of a Lovecraft tale. I geeked pretty hard when the stone bearing the Elder Sign made an appearance, as well as the mention of Hyperborea, The Necronomicon, and Al-Hazred. It appears The Hour of Incursion is growing near...

The Outlaw Gods: The Rider's travels pit him against serpent men, monstrous trees, and the Black Goat Man. Can even his allience with a Hindi mystic and a host of spirits help him defeat the Black Goat Man and his consort?

Astute Lovecraft readers will guess the identity of the Black Goat Man's consort but that doesn't make it have any less impact. The Rider's palaver with Chaksusa and Chaksusa's revelations about the nature of the universe or universes reminded me of Roland and the Man in Black in the Gunslinger. The scope of the Merkabah Rider's quest even reminds me of The Dark Tower. The same sense of urgency is building. If I didn't already know there are two more volumes planned, I'd be wondering how Erdelac was planning on wrapping things up in the next sixty pages.

The Pandaemonium Ride: With a new ally at his side, the Rider goes to hell to get some answers from Lucifer. He won't like what the ultimate betrayer has to say...

Sweet. F#cking. Christ. The full scope of the Hour of Incursion is revealed in this tale and it's a f#cking whopper. I knew the saga of the Merkabah Rider was going to be huge in scope but this is even bigger than I was prepared for. (view spoiler)

Conclusion: Ever since I read the Dark Tower, I've been looking for a weird western quest story to fill the void. If the first two volumes of the Merkabah Rider's tale are any indication, the Dark Tower is going to get a run for its money.

Note: You can read an interview I did with Edward M. Erdelac here.

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Reading Progress

06/21/2011 page 4
2.0% "My progress at lunch was astonishing."
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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Man - I cannot thank you enough for hippin' me onto these books.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent No problem. I've always got an eye out for weird westerns.


message 3: by mark (new)

mark monday i also have a book on my shelf that combines jewish mysticism and lovecraft! plus post-apocalyptic tel aviv. haven't read it yet. The Tel Aviv Dossier


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent mark wrote: "i also have a book on my shelf that combines jewish mysticism and lovecraft! plus post-apocalyptic tel aviv. haven't read it yet. The Tel Aviv Dossier"

That sounds kinda cool.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Mark - that sounds very cool. Off to Amazon!


message 6: by James (new)

James Thane You know, I think that the last western I read was Shane. This book doesn't sound much like that one!


message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent I didn't know Shane was a book before it was a movie. I might have to track it down.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

What about that action in episode 5? Man, some of coolest things ever.


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent D_Davis wrote: "What about that action in episode 5? Man, some of coolest things ever."

Gersh was something. I'm hoping I can finish the rest of the book tonight.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

More than anything, episode 5 reminded me of the best stuff in all of the best anime. It was like Vampire Hunter D, meets Project A-Ko, and Sword of the Berserk all rolled up into one thing.


message 11: by James (new)

James Thane Dan wrote: "I didn't know Shane was a book before it was a movie. I might have to track it down."

Yeah, it's actually a really good book.


message 13: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent It is spectacular. This is one of those books I want to gush to people over.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

It's amazing how epic it all feels, even though it is entirely episodic. I'm wondering if a future volume will be a longer novel? I like the novella aspect, but I wouldn't mind something longer with this.

This really is the next Dark Tower for me, I say true.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

We're like the charter members of the Merkabah Rider fanclub.


message 16: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent D_Davis wrote: "We're like the charter members of the Merkabah Rider fanclub."

I'd say so. We need to hound more people into reading it.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

They are a little expensive. I've heard people say they'd pick them up, but the cover-price is on the high side for a paper back.

I didn't even notice that when I bought them, but that's usually how I am with books costing anywhere up to about $50-60. After that I ask myself if I really, really want it or not.

I've also heard some people comments on the quality of the books themselves. The first volume does look a little cheap - no table of contents, and the page numbers are at the top. It kind of looks like a DIY job. And while that's fine for people like us, I think it can be a turn off to others.

I'd like to see these re-printed in a more respectable form, one that would do the fiction justice.


message 18: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent It was worth every penny but it's a little steep for some people. The layout does look DIY. I suspect Damnation uses a POD press and slaps their own ISBN on it.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I would love to see the individual episodes published in nice, stand-alone novella-size trades. I would so re-buy them all.


Sandy Just finished this one and now, thanks to you, I'm hooked. I even put off reading the latest Dark Tower in favour of this. Dilemma: Do I rush to Bk3 or linger, pacing myself to ease the wait for Bk4? Fascinating series.


message 21: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent You might want to pace yourself with the Merkabah Rider. Book 4 is the last one.


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