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Wielding a Red Sword

(Incarnations of Immortality #4)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  17,939 ratings  ·  249 reviews
Mym falls in love with Orb, then Princess Rapture in Honeymoon Castle, but father wants to force another marriage. In berserker rage, he takes office of War. He tries to ease suffering caused by human conflicts, When demoness Lila says pretty Princess Ligeia is trapped by Satan, he has to organize a rebellion in Hell to set everyone free. Author Note 24-pg bio 1-pg.
Paperback, LCC 867900, 314 pages
Published December 1987 by Random House Ballantine Del Rey (first published September 12th 1986)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,939 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Another in the series of the incarnations of immortality, this one follows Aries on some adventures.

Like Frank Herbert's Dune series, this one lets the reader go easily, as each successive book in the series gets a little worse, until the reader doesn't mind leaving the series.

This one was entertaining, but the originality and imagination of On a Pale Horse is gone and we are just slogging along to the end.

Still fun though.

Another in the series of the incarnations of immortality, this one follows Aries on some adventures.

Like Frank Herbert's Dune series, this one lets the reader go easily, as each successive book in the series gets a little worse, until the reader doesn't mind leaving the series.

This one was entertaining, but the originality and imagination of On a Pale Horse is gone and we are just slogging along to the end.

Still fun though.

Oct 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
Original review (2 stars):
This series has been a roller coaster ride for me. I thoroughly enjoyed books 1 & 3 but struggled to even finish 2 & 4.

I think I may have liked Wielding a Red Sword the least, which I didn't think possible after reading Bearing an Hourglass. At least I liked Norton and Orlene. I can't say the same about Mim and Rapture. The only thing that kept me going was the connection to Orb.

I am so curious about Orlene and Sning and hope to get
Jeremy Preacher
Jan 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I only have a couple of the Incarnations of Immortality series, because it is a wildly uneven series as a whole (Anthony, predictably, can't write female protagonists worth a damn, and the one about Time is straight out of pulp space opera for no obvious reason) and this was #3 on my list of the three that I can stand.

It's kind of awful. But first, the good bits:

1. This book was totally the reason I bought a translation of The Book of Five Rings at age 12, and that is a p
Elizabeth Rose
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Took me so long to read because I couldn't bring myself to want to put myself through the misery. Characters are slightly more developed here than in other books, but this one reeks with racism (unfair, one-dimensional stereotypes of Indians), sexism (woman's suffrage is taught to the poor, backwards Indian woman by a demon of hell, the only women worth Mym's time are pure virgins, Mym outright talks about the whole 'men are allowed to sleep with many women, but women should know only one man' a ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I need more books in my life whose titles begin with a gerund. Those were the days.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
i seemed to like this better as a kid
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
After the series improved a bit with the third installment, I had hopes for subsequent books, but after slogging through this I am turning my back on Piers Anthony and the rest of his "Incarnations of Immortality" series. Anthony is a prolific and best-selling author, but I just don't like his style. The characterizations are thin and too often stereotypical, the dialogue is usually stilted and unnatural, and the "philosophy" behind the Incarnations isn't all that thought-provoking (in part, I suspect, beca ...more
An Odd1
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
The first of the series shows Death as imperfect youth who grows into responsibility, eases pain and suffering. Likewise, War serves purposes in society. Groups, rather than teenage individuals, rebel and gain independence. Masculine aggressive hormones are channeled to larger goals. Remembered pluses bury under blather in re-read.

Mym stutters under dictator father Rajah, runs away. Orb sings, her suggestion stops his speech impediment. He falls in a forever-after kind of love, twice. Honeymoon
A compelling collaboration between real life and fantasy.: This, the fourth book in the Incarnations Of Immortality series, has to be the most compelling. It begins in a travelling circus in India, where we first meet the main character Mym, a mysterious character who gradually throughout the book we get to know, like and sympathise with due to a speech impediment. Mym befriends, and falls in love with, a young and beautiful musician called Orb, with whome we met as a child in the previous Incar ...more
Jaime K
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a 4.5 stars as I felt like I was able to get into it faster than with books 2 & 3.

As with the previous 3 novels, Wielding a Red Sword weaves the main Incarnation's life with those of others we have met before. This is about War, who was known as Mym as a mortal. He was in love with Orb, Lachesis' daughter, and sends is current love Rapture to stay with Luna (Lachesis' granddaughter and Death's lover) during the day.

And, as usual, Satan puts his hand where it doesn't b
Nov 04, 2016 rated it liked it
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...

OK this is another one in the series I liked. Mym is a sexist jerk, but he's a product of his upbringing and Piers Anthony wrote him that way, so
Dec 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This book lost some of the balance present in #3, and is merely getting 3 stars not because of the story itself but because I just didn't like it as much. AND... the main character Mym, as a woman, his views of women and their purpose is a tad offensive. HAHA! But I guess that's what you get when you have a backward thinking Hindu prince expecting a wife AND a harem. His nature is tempered by his first love, but becomes increasingly noticeable throughout the book. It seems that his main motivati ...more
Don LaFountaine
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Book # 4 of The Incarnations series is about the Incarnation of War, Mars. Another wonderful addition to this series.

It follows Mym, who is forced to leave a woman he loves in order to marry another woman; all in the name of what's best for his country. Then after he falls in love with this second woman, it ends up that the only way he can stay with her and not be forced to marry another is to become Mars. All thanks, of course, to Satan. He then starts to tempt Mym by sweetening the
Andrew Breslin
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
It's been ages since I read On a Pale Horse and though the details are hazy, I remember enjoying it. So when I won this as the consolation prize after a narrow whiskey-soaked defeat at the local pub quiz, I thought perhaps I was the winner after all. No such luck. My delusuions have been dispelled. I am and shall remain: a loser.

I haven't read any of the other Incarnation books, and now I doubt that I will, unless the sadistic quiz-master continues to foist them upon the also-rans. While Pale Horse's treat
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Re-read 2018

Mim is a berserker who had to learn to overcome his stutter that his father shamed him for. Because he didn't want to live in his country or deal with his family any longer due to how they have treated him he leaves in the middle of the night and ends up doing menial work in a traveling circus. During that time he receives more help with his speech from a singer in the caravan, who he ends up falling in love with. Unfortunately, his fate takes him on a different path, and
Misty Dawn
Oct 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: no one.
Recommended to Misty by: Nir Chezrony.
Shelves: fiction
not as good as the first three... on a pale horse being the best.
and while i know i'm not his target audience, per se, putting female virginity on such a high pedestal is getting old. i noticed it from the beginning, but this one really pushed it past endurance. the only female of significance who's had sex before finding her 'one true partner' is a demoness. of course. the evil seductress who refuses to be shy for impure concubine, the virgin maiden in a tower for princess.
maybe my infat
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
I recently heard a fascinating "This American Life" segment that tangentially involved Piers Anthony. It piqued my curiosity so I randomly selected this novel from my library. The book was published in 1986 and by today's standards would be considered YA. I viewed the plot as Anthony placing some Reagan-era foreign policy hot spots against a standard fantasy tale with swords, apparitions and nymphs. If I read this when I was 15 I would have thought it was awesome; so you can say gaining context ...more
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This series was delightful. Not only were the characters well rounded, but the story lines made me think in new ways. I completely enjoyed the author's views! I also was amazed that each book stood alone so well and were all designed so they could be read in any order with no loss of ideas or integrity to the story. I have always had difficulty with understanding war ... the ideas and concepts in this book aided more than any history or ethics class.
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fourth in the Incarnations of Immortality series,I found this story great if, for no other reason, the Incarnation of War, Mars, actually realizing his romantic interest in the end. George Guidall, as in the previous stories, does an awesome job as narrator and really brings the story to life!! 7 out of 10 on this one for me.
Apr 19, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked the irony in this one; the book spends more time on love than anything else, and learning how to function in his office is almost incidental. And when it's not love, it's a continuous seduction attempt by a concubine. Fun, fun! It's also cool that Mars is a Hindu, and is thrown into this "Heaven or Hell" mentality when he's more into the Reincarnation idea.
Mike (the Paladin)
Not a bad read. Wonder what Anthony thinks of war????

Anyway, I found the "Incarnations of Immortality" series to (as you may be used to me saying if you've read many of my reviews) run hot and cold. I burned out on them fairly quickly.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Love the whole series
Matt Guion
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
The fourth book in the Incarnations of Immortality series focuses around the Incarnation of War. I feel like this book had the potential to be as good as On a Pale Horse. War, like Death, is a difficult subject with many facets and many moral implications to discuss and explore. And the book does resemble On a Pale Horse in some ways. All of the books thus far have a similar structure. The first part introduces the mortal character and shows how he or she becomes the Incarnation. The second show ...more
Erik Akre
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: maybe mythology nerds? or Piers Anthony readers?
Shelves: fantasy
Piers Anthony holds the same place in my heart held by cheap paperback Star Wars novelists. It is a perfectly fine and good place in my heart. He does what he does, and on his own terms he delivers. For example, in the bizarre and extensive author's note addended to this novel, Anthony tells his readers about the fan mail he receives, and one letter illustrates the point. A fan wrote and thanked Anthony for his novels, because they helped ease the boredom of a long convalescence. And there you h ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
These have been the most interesting books from Piers I have read. In this series we follow humans who become supernatural beings based on ideals and concepts. In this book we follow War. War is new to his job and Satan tests him relentlessly. This is what endeared me to this book.

Unlike other books problems are not solved through murder of ones enemies. Its not just positioning oneself to kill someone then carrying it out; since they incarnations can not kill each other. This is som
Berry Muhl
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
(I read this book several weeks ago, so start / finish dates are approximate.)

I've read a decent chunk of Anthony's output over the years: three Cthon novels, maybe three-fourths of all the Xanth novels, and one other Incarnations of Immortality novel. (Well, part of it. I don't think I ever finished the first one.)

It's an interesting premise, which I won't spoil except to say that it takes on a sort of Greek mythology approach to anthropomorphizing various Immortal entit
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
A good continuation of an interesting series. The main character is the newly appointed Incarnation of War is not always a likable character, but he is "realistic" in his flaws and insecurity.

The story builds to a nice psuedo-climax as Satan's plans are revealed. Then the book takes a quick turn and finishes kind of awkwardly. It is almost like there is another chapter that was never written. I could not tell if it was before the last chapter or after it.

The best part of this book is the way i
Bill Sleeman
I read three in the series and have two more on hold from our local PL (and may not bother). I have to admit that while these were fun excursions away from my usual true crime and social history fare I found them troubling also. I first read these back in college when they were new and I don’t recall them being so sexist but reading them again now and I am stunned by the casual disrespect and outright misogyny projected toward all of the female characters. Even when the central protagonist Luna, ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another good one

I do enjoy this series greatly. The Authors note at the end is always interesting, it seems Piers Anthony has/a very interesting home life. I loved the part about the computer system, it's so outdated as to be hilarious. This book series seems fresh and contemporary, and then the author note hits you with a blast from the past (indeed, I was too young to read when this book was written, and I have a reading aged child)

I will be reading the entire series, so stay posted for
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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-proclai

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)
  • With a Tangled Skein (Incarnations of Immortality, #3)
  • 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)