A strange rift in ordinary reality draws saloon owner Travis Wilder and ER doctor Grace Beckett into the otherworld of Eldh--a land of gods, monsters, and magic that is sorely in need of heroes.
Beyond the Pale isn't entirely derivative of Jordan's wildly popular Wheel of Time series: if nothing else, Anthony sets himself apart by having things actually happen in his book. Travis and his fellow earthling Grace end up in Eldh after surviving run-ins with the Pale King's servants on Earth. Grace, mistaken for a fairy queen, is quickly shanghaied as a spy for King Boreas, who has just convened a council of Eldh's rulers. After a series of adventures, Travis joins Grace, and the two must tangle with the mysterious Raven's Cult and a bunch of iron-hearted bad guys who are trying to derail the Council of Kings and hasten the PK's return. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
When Grace and Travis ride off on a spying expedition Grace, who has never ridden or horse, manages to mount a STALLION, no less, with only a 'small degree of difficulty'. She manages this dubious feat while wearing a heavy woolen gown. Anyone who has ever ridden knows that mounting a horse with ease takes practice. Especially in a non-Western saddle. If the stirrups are in proper riding position they are quite high. You mount facing the back of the horse so you have to place your foot into a stirrup which can easily be at your mid-chest level and swing yourself forward and around into the saddle. Most people need a boost or a stool the first few times and even then it isn't easy. Anthony wants us to believe that Grace, by sheer power of a noble demeanor, is able to control not just any horse, a STALLION! There is a reason geldings exist. It is because a stallion can be a very willful and difficult to control animal except under the most skillful and competent hands.
When I was 13 I spent a summer working at a stable where the owner kept a stallion that was used only for stud services.
I have read only 79 pages of this book so far and I have already detected at least three blatent rip-offs.
1a. Strange, appocolyptic prophets from another world in modern, real world setting. (Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenent series)
1b. As an added bonus, the description of the leader of these prophets is a pale imitation of a Stephen King type character.
2.Cold and remote yet brilliant female doctor with mysterious past. (Thomas Covenent series AND Anne Rice's Mayfair Witch series)
3. Glimpse into the thoughts of a soon-to-be victim-of-a-horrible-death (very awkward aping of Stephen King's unique style)
4. Mysterious organization which studies strange phenomena. (almost of any of Anne Rice's books which feature the organization whose name has maddeningly escaped me at the moment).
It was when I got to the scene introducing the erudite gentlemen of hard-to-place ethnic origins from the above mentioned organization that I decided to write this initial review. However, I plan to continue reading. The all-to-obvious influences are a bit distracting but for the moment the plot is diverting enough to capture my attention. The writing is skillful if not original. As others have pointed out, many classics have their origins in earlier works. It's too early for me to predict whether this series will be a classic (somehow I doubt it) but so far it is a decent summer read.
Also, I found the name of the bar owned by the main character a bit revealing, particularly in light of the reviews of the next two books in the series. The bar is called, The Mine Shaft. HAR HAR HAR!