The third book in the Incarnations of Immortality series written by Piers Anthony takes us on a journey of discovery and wonder and shows just how tangled the web of fate can truly be. In With a Tangled Skein, Fate is actually three people all living in just one body. Clotho, the maiden, the spinner of threads, the one who makes the thread of life. Once a month she goes into the void to retrieve the purest of materials to make her strands. Only she is able to go there of the three aspects. Some of the other Incarnations can but seldom do, the one that she does encounter stands in her way. Lachesis is the weaver of the tapestry of time. It is her job to take the threads that have been measured and then place them into the tapestry so that people can be born into the world. She can also tweak the weave to unravel kinks that always seem to happen at the worst times in history. In this way she is able to make sure that life continues on as it should. The third aspect of Fate is that of Atropos, she is the one who measures and cuts the threads that Clotho weaves and Lachesis weaves into the tapestry. Without them there would be no life as we know it.
With this book we follow the life of Niobe and some of her descendants as forces both mortal and immortal thread her into the aspects of Fate. She never really wanted the job of Clotho but none the less took it to be able to avenge the man that she loved. It was this love that was born out of necessity that taught her how to be able to truly love someone. She was against even marriage at first, wanting to wait till she fell in love but being the kind of person she was that was not something that was going to happen on its own. It took her father and the family of another to force her into being married to a teen of just 16 named Cedric. It was a marriage that neither wanted but it was good for both families so they had no choice in the matter. Long did they fight against a love between them but Cedric’s magic and her love of nature made the love between them grow. Out of that love was to come the Bride of Death and the Savior of Man. Little did they know just how true that would be.
Piers Anthony is a master bard and takes us to places that we can only dream about and wonder what they would be like. He paints us a masterpiece that we see come alive in our minds, a virtual movie just for us to see. Strange thing is that most people are able to see the same things and if you describe what is happening others that have read the piece know who and what you are talking about. Not many authors have this kind of passion for what it is that they write and anyone that reads Piers Anthony’s work is enveloped and submerged into world that they do not soon want to leave from. This book is no different. We see how the universe is pieced together from the eyes of the author and get to feel how it all works. It shows us that not everything is perfect, that even Fate can be flawed but it still has a very important purpose in how things are and how they should be.
The entire Incarnation series is centered around, for the most part, one family line and the struggle between good and evil. The only way you are going to find out how all of it fits together is to actually read the book. You really can’t just skim through these tomes, you actually have to read them and let them seep into you like a warm flame. This book is going to wet your appetite for all the others to come and you will find yourself reading more then once. This is not the first time I have read it and it will definitely not be the last time. These works will stand the test of time long after you and I have gone to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. Wouldn’t it be great if the afterlife were the way Piers Anthony wrote them?