We first meet Emma atop a dome high above Liverpool. You see she has decided to end it all by jumping to her death. But wait, her flatmate, Mark, has come to rescue her, while also declaring his love for her. One teeter later and they are both plunging to the ground and certain death. But they are caught by a mythical figure mid-fall. It is Death, The Fifth Horseman, complete with boney visage, huge scythe, and a pale, flying horse.
It appears a technical issue is preventing them from crossing over into the land of the dead. Death lets them stay at his house while he tries to find a solution. In the meantime, perhaps they can lighten Death’s load by becoming his unofficial assistants.
The Fifth Horseman is a fun comic romp through mythological fantasy. I enjoyed the plot but in particular the characters a lot. You meet all four of the horsemen (though War is a woman) and Charon, the boat keeper. All of them are tired, otherworld-weary, and having a bit of an existential crisis. It makes for many comic moments but also encourages pondering some deeper issues.
Overall, I loved The Fifth Horseman. It was refreshingly different from my usual reads. 5 stars!
Thanks to Balkon Media and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.