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With a Tangled Skein

(Incarnations of Immortality #3)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  19,786 ratings  ·  314 reviews

When the man Niobe loved was shot, she learned that she had been the target, in a devious plot of the Devil's.

Hoping for revenge, Niobe accepted a position as one of the three Aspects of Fate, only to find that Satan's plots were tangled into the very Tapestry of Fate. Now the Evil One was laying a trap to ruin Niobe's granddaughter Luna, who t
Paperback, LCC 856179, 405 pages
Published October 1986 by Random House Ballantine Del Rey (first published September 12th 1985)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  19,786 ratings  ·  314 reviews

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Reading Piers Anthony can be a bit of a bumpy ride.
His books usually feature some minor detours into ploddyville and at least one horrible sightseeing escapade through skeevytown that leaves you feeling soiled and very uncomfortable.

So I grant you that there is definitely potential for some boring and the genuine risk of UGH in a Piers Anthony tale.

However, for all the literary potholes and ICKness he pours into his stories, this pervy old man is also a creative GENIUS who can occasionally
Dec 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book in part because I'd heard a lot of good things about Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series and in part because it revolved around one of my favourite mythological trios, the three Fates. On both counts I was disappointed.

Misogyny and racefail abound. The Fates, while ostensibly powerful and influential beings, are expected to fulfil 'traditional' female roles: Atropos, the Crone, must perform "grandmotherly functions", while Mother-archetype Lachesis does the
Oct 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is really a review for the entire series, or at least the first three novels. It's been awhile because I read these books 20 years ago, but I believe it was the third book, With a Tangled Skein, that I closed the book and vowed never to read another book by Piers Anthony again. I have no idea if he's a misogynist. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But he certainly writes like one.

Not only is it offensive that the few female gods he has have to service sexually the male gods - bad enough! I mean
Marian Willeke
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
A Pale Horse (Death) will probably always have a soft spot in my love of this series simply because it was my introduction to it, but With a Tangled Skein will climb on top with my favourite read so far. There were absolutely no lulls in the book, as you are captured with each chapter and driven to read the next one. The connections between A Pale Horse and With a Tangled Skein are very familial with the Magician and Luna being woven into son and granddaughter of Niobe, who took her turns with B ...more
Iggy D.
Jun 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Yeah. It was okay.
I keep reading these 'cause I'm fascinated by the plot and I keep hoping that the characters will get better. They don't. They're really flat and unbelievable. There are several points where Piers gets feminine sexuality just plain wrong (see the part where the main character is about to get raped by a demon and says that only emotional harm would come of it *rolleyes*). I know the incredibly cliche female fantasy character should make me angry, but she's so pathetic I just can
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Re-read 2018

The first of the books about the female Incarnations, this one deals with Fate in all of her aspects. I can't say much about it because there are spoilers for both the earlier books and future books in the series. My only issue is that the main character sees herself as a delicate female even after assuming part of the aspect of fate. She just can't see just how tough and capable she is even when doing some bad a** things.
May 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I read a few others from this series as a teenager. The series deals with the personages of death, time, fate, nature, evil, etc. "With a Tangled Skein" is about fate, who is actually three people in one--Clotho, the young attribute who gathers threads of life from the void, Lachysis, the middle-aged one who arranges them on the tapestry of life, and Atropos, the old one who cuts the threads.

Niobe Kaftan starts out as a mortal woman who becomes Clotho, then becomes mortal again for a while and t
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Anastacia by: my dad
Shelves: fantasy, 2016
I've read this book a few times over the years, and I'll state the same thing at the beginning of reviewing all the I of I books: this is a re-read, and the first time reviewing the books. I'm reviewing all of the books after I finished re-reading the entire series, which I don't normally do & didn't do deliberately this time, either...

So I always liked this one in the series. Niobe is pretty cool. She's written as a character that is supposed to be a little dumb, but I don't find her really tha
Probably more of a 4.5 star title, since I do not consider it quite as good as On a Pale Horse. This is about the Incarnation of Fate, Niobe. It is an important book in the series since it begins to draw together how one family is peculiarly important to the Incarnations. Niobe claims to be nobody special, but special things keep happening to her mostly because she won't give up on her goals. Her main ones are to protect her family and pay Satan back. Read and see if she succeeds. Music is begin ...more
Sarah Jane Wood
Feb 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, mythology
This is book #3 in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. If you've read my reviews of books 1 and 2, you know I'm not particularly impressed by them. The only reason I even attempted this book was that my completely mindless job allowed me to listen to audiobooks on my ipod while I worked and I had run out of other books. I still only managed to struggle through the first few chapters. By this point in the series, it's screamingly obvious that Anthony couldn't come up with an origi ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
I read On a Pale Horse and loved it, so I decided to try the rest of the series. However, the skewed way women are portrayed in this book completely killed any interest I had in it. Not that On A Pale Horse didn't portray women a little strangely, but it wasn't at all a big part of the book because that book was written from the point of view of a man. This book is sex obsessed and a bit creepy. ...more
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
Rereading this wonderful series. This was the series that got me interested in Fantasy. Before Harry Potter and GOT there was the Incarnations. Such a wonderful series!

This audio version was terrific. Wonderful narration.
An Odd1
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Niobe navigates many mazes, not fun, but relevant to Dungeons and Dragons gaming phase of phantasy. Most of the series adds children to network the Incarnations into an annoyingly intricate web. As talented weaver, she makes fibre into thread, spins, and works looms with precision.

Parents wed her at 21 to Cedric 16, whose singing is magical. Their reluctant friendship grows to enduring passion, broken when he dies in her place to foil Satan.

She burns on a funeral pyre to meet Death, Thanatos,
David Sarkies
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nobody, unless you like the series
Recommended to David by: Stewart Wymer
Shelves: fantasy
What a tangled plot is woven
10 January 2012

Once again this series seems to be more intriguing that many of Anthony's other books and does show that he has the ability to weave a good story. I may sound corne using the term weave in this context (as I will explain) but while I would hesitate to read it again, I guess my friend was right when he suggested that Anthony had dumped some good series to focus on the Xanth series, which, in my friend's opinion, had become much more depressing after Ant
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I haven’t yet posted on the Incarnations of Immortality series, but book 3 seemed like a good place to start. While I enjoyed one and two, this one is so far my favorite. This could possibly be because I love the idea of fate, and I love the way Anthony portrays it in the book.

Niobe’s husband is killed and she goes to try her luck with the Incarnations at keeping him alive. Instead, they offer her the position of Clotho, the spinner of the threads of mortality and one of three women that inheri
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoying this series. Loved Piers Anthony when I was younger and apparently missed this series. Such thought and interwoven-ness in all of the books. A lot of fun.
Michel Siskoid Albert
Decades ago, I abandoned Piers Anthony as a writer, having outgrown fantasy in general, and his books in particular. While I'd devoured many of his series as a teenager, all but two of his Incarnations of Immortality books remained on the shelf. So as a nostalgic exercise, I slid With a Tangled Skein out of its slot and read it. In Incarnations, Anthony imagines what it would be like to actually be Death, Time, and here, the three faces of Fate, doing their work, but also facing off against Sata ...more
K.D. Reid
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Not only was it difficult to follow book 1 and then subsequently book 2, but this book had so much misogyny in it, I almost couldn't stomach it! Fate's role in the overall worldview of this book was awesome. Her power is amazing, but the entire story left a bitter taste in my mouth for being a woman. I loved hearing about the background of The Magician, and I would consider this book pivotal to anyone following the greater story of this series. It opens a lot of doors, answers a lot of questions ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anthony fans, young adut boys, urban fantasy fans
Recommended to Michael by: Seredipity
This was the third of Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series, and it was the last one I read all the way through. I was already outgrowing them, just a few years after I’d first discovered Anthony, with On a Pale Horse. In the interim, I had consumed dozens of his fantasy and sci fi novels, so it’s all good.

In this story, a young woman marries during World War One and loses her husband due to an elaborate plot of Satan. She discovers that she is destined to become Clotho, and Aspect of
Joelle Haskell
Oct 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
I stopped reading midway in disgust. While the misogyny and preoccupation with arranged marriage, rape, nipple torture, and pointless nudity of minors (the latter also featured in every Xanth book) merely grated on me for the first two books, I tried to soldier on because of the intriguing setting and plot. Unfortunately by this one, I was overwhelmingly inundated, culminating in a racist Japanese caricature attempting to rape a woman the moment she enters his dojo, becoming enraged when she def ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Incarnations of Immortality book, but it got me into them. I do, however, recommend reading them in order, because some of this story was a bit confusing until I back tracked and read the previous books. I really got into them but never got to finish the series, and hope to pick it up again. I might just start the whole series over again. Not a great chore since I liked them so much in the first place. there is just a lot of detail in there, that, if you space the books out, yo ...more
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Book three in a series. Here we follow the Incarnation of Fate, well, one of the three Aspects of Fate. Unlike the first two Incarnations books we follow Fate (Niobe) through a longer portion of her life, and more interactions with those other than Satan, and that is exactly why I liked this book more than the previous one. However, the central plotline still revolves around a conflict with Satan, and that is getting old. Also, the fact that Anthony was an older, conservative man is coming out i ...more
Thus begins the Renaissance of the Incarnations novels! Here we get more into Greek mythology with the Aspect of Fate, or as they are known in Greek Mythology: The Three Fates. In this story, the three women share one body and their souls "force" it to assume the shapes they once held in life.

In this book, we are taken on the journey of the life of Niobe, and it is a somewhat long and convoluted journey. She's a bit of a cougar, though at a young age, but when her husband dies unexpectedly is wh
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
While not the best of the Incarnations series, it is still a solid read - but then, the entire Incarnations series (if you don't count book 8) are all great reads. This was actually the second book I read (after Being a Green Mother, both books I read about 10 years ago) so I was a bit confused with some of the events. But now having read books 1 and 2, I can appreciate and understand this book much better.

The idea of three women having to share one body at all times is daunting. I can understan
This book is very obvious in the author's exploration of good versus evil. You are hit over the head with his ideas (and in the author's note at the end it happens again, just in case you didn't get it during the fiction portion!) It's pretty obvious that a man is writing--the women are very stereotypical (crying about everything, not nearly as intelligent as the male characters, consumed with housework & child care). At least the male characters are also stereotyped as being all about violence ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Probably the one I liked the most in the whole series, although I'm sure if I reread it now, all my Issues with Piers Anthony's views on women and sexuality would rise right back up again. I enjoyed the older woman/younger man dichotomy, and that their marriage wasn't consummated until there was feeling on both sides. I love badass middle-aged Niobe, I love Asian kickass Clotho (although the cliches about Asian women I can live without...), and I love even the memory of Satan not even recognizin ...more
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
In Niobe, I encountered an interesting woman who has to come to grips with challenges and tragedies. By the end of the book, I found that I liked her. While it isn't necessary to like the protagonist to enjoy a book, my engagement with Niobe was a measure of how well rounded and interesting the character was that Piers Anthony created. Also, it was nice to read about a strong and intelligent female incarnation. ...more
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
It’s definitely a step-up from Bearing an Hourglass, but the third book in the series still struggles to match the first. Sort of a prequel, the plot starts a couple generations earlier in the Kaftan family. Fate, meanwhile, weaves and shapeshifts through Satan’s ploys.

Writing the book through the eyes of Niobe won’t win Piers Anthony any gender or cultural sensitivity awards. Even I cringe at the stereotypes he freely uses.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, George Guidall puts an interesting "spin" on this story with his amazing narration skills!! Really liked this third installment in the incarnations of immortality series, but got a bit long near the end, with too much logic involved. Kind of takes the pleasure out of a fantasy novel when you have to start thinking about what you are listening to. Good overall--8 out of 10 for me. ...more
Sep 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
No serious review here. I'm just stopping by to say how validating it is to read the reviews that state how creepy and sexist this book was. I read this when I was a teen, and thought maybe I was just a prude then, and should maybe re-read it. But nah, I'm good. Thanks, Goodreaders! (I loved the first book of the series, btw. He should have just stopped there.) ...more
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Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environm

Other books in the series

Incarnations of Immortality (8 books)
  • On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #1)
  • Bearing an Hourglass (Incarnations of Immortality, #2)
  • Wielding a Red Sword (Incarnations of Immortality, #4)
  • Being a Green Mother (Incarnations of Immortality, #5)
  • For Love of Evil (Incarnations of Immortality, #6)
  • And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality, #7)
  • Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality, #8)

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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“Is it foolish to care for non-existent folk?
Then, leave me to my foolishness.”
“Enough , you hens!" Niobe exploded. "It's tentative!"

Lachesis snorted "As tentative as a pregnancy,girl!”
More quotes…