Last year I reviewed the previous two entries in this weird-west series, Tales of a High Planes Drifter and The Mensch With No Name. In fact, the series made my soon-to-be-distinguished-and-renowned “Top Distractions of 2011” list. In the review I stated that I was looking forward to the next entry. Well, it finally came and did not disappoint. In fact, I think it’s the author’s best yet.
“Glyphs” is set up in the same episodic style as the other books, this volume being comprised of episodes nine through thirteen. “The Long Sabbath” picks up the action immediately after the final tale of The Mensch With No Name (“The Pandaemonium Ride”) with the Rider and his companion Kabede being pursued across the desert by a hoard of hungry undead. They happen upon an isolated military outpost where Rider meets an old friend and learns more about the renegade Essenes that seek the strange sacred scroll that he now carries. In “The War Shaman”, the Rider and his allies take on an ancient Native American medicine man allied with the otherworldly forces that seek to force the Hour of Incursion. Next the Rider takes on a foolish mission to save a succubus from the wrath of “The Mules of the Mazzikim”, a task that places him in the hands of his greatest enemy in “The Man Called Other”. Finally, he receives some answers–and no few questions–in the boom town of Tombstone in “The Fire King Triumphant”.
“Glyphs” has all of the things I loved about the first two novels only more so. This volume is chock full of revelations about the nature of the planes, Adon’s identity and true motives, the Rider’s ultimate destiny, and the role of gods and men across the spheres. Erdelac does a great job of paring complex paranormal concepts with good old fashioned western action. These tales are truly the love children of Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and Sergio Leone. There is great action, an intricate and well-researched system of metaphysics and mysticism, and an interesting character fighting for the highest of stakes–the continued existence of all creation.
Also, Erdelac’s dialog is crisper and the prose is less forced–not that it was terribly forced to begin with. This is clearly the work of an author completely in his element and having fun with it, making it infectious for the reader as well. The final events of episode thirteen (I didn’t really think about the numerological significance until now…hmm…) are huge and, true to form, set up an ending that’s really not–enhancing anticipation for the next volume.
Count me as being first in line.