Book of the Year 2011 (see all)
The Merkabah Rider series by Edward M. Erdelac is unlike anything I have read before. It is a collection of Weird Western episodic novellas telling the story of a man named Rider as he tries to stop his former mentor from destroying the world. Have Glyphs Will Travel is the third book, containing episodes #9 to #13, and in this book things do not go well for the Rider in these episodes. At all.
Episode #9 - The Long Sabbath - This episode starts the book with a bang, as the Rider's enemies come after him with an undead legion. For those who have had a lengthy break between books 2 and 3, this episode does a great job of reintroducing you to the world of the Merkabah Rider while subtly expanding on the magic and lore. One of my favourite episodes to date in the whole series.
Episode #10 - The War Prophet - For all the fun that was had in the previous episode, this episode provides us with equal amounts of back story. The information is fascinating, and vital to the rest of the series, but it really slows down the pace of the story. It is not without its fireworks though with Erdelac ramping things up for a high octane ending full of huge revelations.
Episodes #11 and #12 - The Mules of Mazzikim and The Man Called Other - I'm putting these two episodes together because they cover a single narrative arc. The Rider can't stop thinking about the succubus Nehema and sets out on a mission to rescue her from her captives. It's a trap, the Rider knows it's a trap, but he walks into it willing to pay the consequences. And he does. They are two of the most gripping episodes in the series, and boy do they deliver some heavy gut punches to the Rider.
Episode #13 - The Fire King Triumphant - Wow. Just wow. I know the previous 12 episodes have been building towards this moment, but it still managed to take me by surprise. The Rider finally arrives in Tombstone but not all is what it seems. The tension builds and builds until it snaps, and with that snap comes the terrifying minions of the E̶l̶d̶e̶r̶ Outer Gods seemingly straight from the Necronomicron. This is by far my favourite episode of the series so far.
Erdelac mixes the Wild West with Jewish Mysticism, Catholicism, American Indian religion, a little Chinese religion, and a lot of Lovecraftian goodness. This is so different to the stuff I normally read, but Erdelac's writing is so good that I can't help but race through episode with a big grin on my face. The Rider is awesome character, and I'm a little sad that the next book will our last adventure together.
Review by Ryan Lawler
Edward M. Erdelac is the author of nine novels, including the acclaimed Lovecraftian/weird western series Merkabah Rider and Andersonville. His fiction has appeared in dozens of anthologies and periodicals including most rece [...]
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