Kirkus Reviews QR Code
RIDERS IN THE SKY by Charles Grant


by Charles Grant

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-86279-2
Publisher: Forge

Last chord in Grant’s Millennium Quartet, a combo featuring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that began with Symphony (1997), in which the end of the world was seemingly foretold by such harbingers of doom as a Lincoln Continental (“silver horse in full gallop fixed on the hood”) as Death, the rough beast slouching toward the small town of Maple Landing. All plotless nuance, this led to the horseman Famine in In the Mood (1998) as riots came to New Orleans, the mad were loosed upon the world, and food shortages spread globally. In Chariot (1998), the horseman Plague attacked the world, and (in seeming homage to Stephen King’s The Stand) a super-virulent smallpox mutation killed millions—but not supernaturally protected Las Vegas. Now the horseman War appears, as Father Casey Chisholm, a giant (“and he is alone”), as well as Jude and her daughters Moonbow and Starshine return. Wars erupt worldwide. Grant brings on relentlessly rainy, autumnal, twilit warning weather throughout until the apocalyptic battle is fought against the Four Horsemen. As before, too much feels hacked out, with comic-strip sympathetic characters too one-note and sentimentalized. Grant had some kind of big blind poem in mind when he rapped for the downbeat, summoned up his elementals and set forth like Mahler tramping into the black woods of his Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh. But Mahler it’s not.