In Heaven's Shadow, which came out February 6 and I talk about here, is an historically accurate Civil War fantasy, a ghost story with magic thrown in for an offbeat and (if I do say so myself) rather beautiful love story. One reader has called it "one of the most beautiful and touching books" she's read in a long time. I cherish that comment and hope it makes it into a review somewhere because I want this one to touch the heart. I was a bit baffled by the reviewer who called it "fun," but what the hey, I did strive for some humor (and getting caught by the neighbor kid when your ghost husband is swinging you around really is funny). Perhaps that's what most caught her fancy about it. Be that as it may, this book is way off my usual beaten track. And I love it.
The Mask of God, on the completely other hand, is another genre mix, but of a different type. It is both soft SF (being set on a long-lost colony world), and epic fantasy. The civilization has fallen from starships to swords but they have not forgotten their roots, oh no. Because their roots haunt them every single day in the shape of conflicts that ripped their society asunder, and alien tech (or is aliens themselves?) is forcing everyone onto paths they would not otherwise have chosen. Artificial gods who know they aren't real--but can't act in any way but how they were made to act--have gone to war and dragged the mortals in. And as Fate tries to bring about some vast and frightening web of destiny, Chaos her husband feels a fatal itch to toss his dice, Chance and Destiny, into the maze and watch what happens. And Death...what does he want? What Death always wants. Blood.Now, do those sound like they came from the same author? Does it matter? All you want is a great read, right? I hope these give it to you, whatever your tastes may be.
And the really, REALLY good news? There are horses in "The Mask of God"! Yes, yes, real live horses who are never quite characters in themselves, but individuals important to the story nevertheless. So go read it and tell me if I'm practicing what I preach, all those of you who enjoy the Horses in Fiction posts. I look forward to your reaction!