That could be a quote on the cover, when they reprint Barry Hutchison’s The 13th Horseman. It shouldn’t take long, I reckon. They’ve got that Neil Gaiman saying that he ‘really liked it,’ which is why I felt I could pipe up with my piece. While I’m still talking about covers, this one would make the unsuspecting buyer think they were getting something Terry Pratchett-ish. And they’d be quite right.
This is my first Barry Hutchison book and I’m praying it won’t be my last. In fact, if someone could just magic me the next Afterworlds book this very moment I’d be most grateful. (Hint?)
So, as you will have gathered, I quite liked it. Loved it. You know. But I wanted to be restrained over the whole thing.
The end of the world is coming and the Four Horsemen are missing a Death, so they adopt Drake Finn. Having gone through a number of Deaths over the years, he is their tenth. While waiting for the end they play children’s games in Drake’s shed. Except they don’t have a shed, according to his mum.
He’s at a new school, and being the new kid is always hard, but luckily not as hard as this. He’s got a horrible teacher to deal with, three bullies and Mel, who is a very promising girl. I’ll want to see more of her. She’s a credit to her sex. (Speaking of which, how old is Drake? There is kissing. Probably still very young.)
The Apocalypse isn’t as far away as all that, and before long the Four Horsemen have work to do. Can Drake do his bit? Well, I obviously can’t tell you that. But if you are reading this, then the world didn’t end. Yet.
This is an incredibly funny book, and I do like my humour. For all their faults I found myself liking all the Horsemen, although best of all Pest. Even Famine grows on you a little. Excuse the pun.
My copy of the book came with a bookmark that’s almost as amusing as the book itself. Apparently they have put in a mistake on purpose. (Of course they have.) It’s not quite as they say however, but I worked it out. And there is one word too many. But that’s all right.
It’s a very nearly perfect book.