Riders in the Sky (Millennium Quartet Series #4)by Charles L. Grant
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The four novels of the Millennium Quartet reveal the cataclysms that await mankind at the turn of the century and vividly tell of the effects of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as they wreak havoc on the world. Death spread a wide swath of violence over the Planet. Famine devastated crops, fish, and domesticated animals. Plague returned as a mutated version of smallpox and decimated the remaining human population. Still, mankind has struggled on, most people completely unaware that they have experienced the effects of the Horsemen and not merely a combination of bad weather and freak genetics. Most people, but not all.
These are the survivors, no longer completely human-and the only people who can stand against the Horsemen: a preacher given the power to stop Death. Two teenagers who can see the truth in anyone's heart. A mother and her two daughters, who saw the man they all loved sacrifice himself to save them from Plague. A waitress who has decided she can't wait any longer. A would-be writer whose young son has become Famine. The young widow of a British nobleman-the only person who knows the earthly identities of all four Horsemen-has brought them all together. Now they prepare to do battle. With War as their leader, the Horsemen are preparing to lay waste to the world. They have gathered for a final strategy session on an isolated island in the Atlantic.
But their coming is no longer secret, and they are no longer unopposed. The defenders of mankind are coming. They may well fail to defeat the Apocalypse. But if so, they will die trying.
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The character development was non-existent, and the story line was poor. I was half-way through the book before I could figure out what was supposed to be happening, and by then I didn't care.
The final book in Charles Grant's millenium quartet is equally as enjoyable as the previous three (Symphony, Chariot & In The Mood). Grant's prose is rugged and his ability to establish setting and develop interesting characters is impressive. In this book (and in the entire series for that matter) he has found a perfect balance between plot and character. Grant doesn't spoon-feed his readers. There are some elements of this story left to your imagination. To some extent, you get to decide whether or not some of the events are supernatural, or the product of the character's imagination, or both. The horror in this book is subtle, there are few explicit or blood and guts passages. The author haunts rather than shocks. If you enjoy fabulist fiction writers (such as James P.Blaylock) and eerie horror novels(Mr.X by Straub for example) Riders In The Sky and the other books in the quartet will be sure to please you.
Famine, Plague, Death, and War are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their arrival spells the beginning of the end for humanity. All over the planet, millions of people die from a smallpox mutilation. Yet most of the dwindling survivors remain ignorant that the pandemic spread of the bacteria, crop failure, and increasing violence is caused by the start of the Apocalypse. A few exceptions exist amidst the mass blindness. These few individuals continue to battle Famine, Plague, Death, and War. Casey Chisholm has barely survived a fight with one of the horsemen. Afraid, he hides rather than using his powers to confront the enemy. However, War leads his peers on a deadly march through mankind that forces Casey to take charge of the counterattacking soldiers that will determine the future fate of earth. Following the stupendous SYMPHONY, the incredible IN THE MOOD, and the choice CHARITY, the rousing RIDERS IN THE SKY ends the enthralling ¿Millennium Quartet War¿ series. Taken separately, each chilling novel stands alone. However, comprising a set, the terrorizing tales make for an unbelievable collection that is the definitive Apocalypse/Millennium novel of the era. The renowned supernatural writer Charles Grant has written a classic series that paints a plausible but stormy future that shiningly stands tall with the best of King. Harriet Klausner