Psalms of Herod

Esther M. Friesner

Borealis/ White Wolf Publishing. $5.99


In a post-apocalyptic world, life is structured according to strict religious rules, and knowledge can be as deadly as ignorance. The safest way is to learn what's necessary and not to ask questions. But Becca can't help questioning things, and when custom dictates her baby sister must die, Becca steals the child. She is helped in her escape by a stranger Gilber Livvy.

Psalms of Herod is an odd fantasy novel that has the pace of a short story despite its 400-plus pages. This length probably could (and should) have been trimmed, but the plot is so smooth and even that it is difficult to say where. And like a short story, Psalms has an ambiguous ending that may or may not anticipate a sequel.

Esther Friesner is better known (somewhat to her regret) for her humorous fantasy, but she does write more serious pieces as well, and Psalms of Herod is one of the latter. That being said, the best scene in the book -- Gilber teasing Becca about the gross misconceptions she has about his own religion -- is also the funniest, perhaps showing where Friesner is most truly at home.

 

Also about Becca and Gilber:

Psalms of Herod. White Wolf Publishing, 1995
Sword of Mary. White Wolf Publishing, 1996

This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998


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