Author: T.A. Chase
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 170 Pages
At a Glance: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in a romance novel? Yes, please!
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: For Pestilence, the White Horseman, love becomes the most powerful cure.
Having lost his wife and child during the Black Death, Pestilence accepts the fate destiny has given him as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. For centuries, Pestilence did his job, spreading plagues and disease around the world. He does it to keep the balance between good and evil, yet he hates every minute of it. He longs to be left alone, but suddenly fate seems to have a different plan for him.
When Bart Winston stumbles into an Amazon clearing, he’s terribly ill and sure he’s going to die. A tall white-haired man with unusual black eyes catches him in his arms and Bart’s life takes a turn into the unbelievable. Blaming the whole situation on his illness might have worked, but as he gets better and learns about the strange man who heals him, Bart must accept there are more things in the world than he ever guessed.
Pestilence and Bart heal each other, and begin to wonder if there can be a future for the White Horseman and the mortal he’s fallen in love with.
Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.
Review: It’s not often you find new books about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but every time I find one, I have to snatch it up. I’m not sure why exactly, but the mythology/legend/whatever you want to call it about the Horsemen has always fascinated me. Maybe it’s my love of post-apocalyptic fiction or dystopian societies that draws me to them, but I know when they show up, the end is near and everything is about to go from bad to worse, and I’m thrown into the societies either collapsing from their presence or struggling to overcome them. A few years ago I read a fantastic YA series that reimagined the Four Horsemen by drawing teenagers suffering from different problems into the roles. I adored it. I never thought I would find m/m fiction with the Horsemen. But here we are!
This first book is about Pestilence. In life he was an Italian doctor during the bubonic plague. After losing his wife and son, he commits suicide and is thrust into the role of Pestilence. He exists to bring plagues to mankind in order to maintain the balance between heaven and hell. But after several hundred years of doing this, while Pest is settled in his role, he’s far from happy. How could he be with what he does? Spreading plagues is the exact opposite of what he did when he was alive. When Bart literally stumbles into him in his home in the Amazon, Pest is drawn to the man suffering from an unknown disease. While he first attributes the attraction to the potential for finally helping a human, the attraction changes into desire, and soon he is lusting after his ward. And the feeling is mutual. Despite his illness, Bart is drawn to the white-haired, black-eyed man named Pestilence.
What follows is a story of love and redemption. Pestilence needs to find a way to forgive himself before he can let himself love—and be loved.
As the first book in the series, it clearly follows the first of the four horsemen who ride. Now, in religious mythology the first horseman on a white horse is more frequently known as Conquest, but there have been some changes, and he is more often known in pop culture as Pestilence. War and Famine do not make an appearance at all, but Death does, because Death rides with them all as the “de facto leader” of the Horsemen as Pest calls him. Also involved is Lam, one of the lambs of God. He’s the messenger for Death, and is more or less unwillingly dragged into helping Bart.
Each character is well developed and I loved reading about them. They each display distinct personalities. Though he isn’t in the book too long, I loved Lam and his desire to both help and please as well as fight against Death’s request. Pest does his job well, but when he’s not needed, he retreats to the Amazon, obsessed with finding cures for diseases in the undiscovered flora of the jungle. Even if he can’t cure people, he still needs to maintain his role as a doctor. And poor Bart, dumped in the jungle—literally—by an ex who used him for his research and then left him to die from an unknown disease; he unwittingly bumps into the one person who literally causes disease in anyone he touches with his hands, and has to rely on him for help. Of course, he doesn’t know Pest’s true nature, and it takes a long time for Pest to reveal it as it goes against the rules of the Horsemen. Then, when this unknown disease starts to spread, it’s up to Pest and Bart to stop it before it reaches epidemic levels that will upset the balance of the world, and the rider of the white horse must use his abilities for good rather than ill.
If you’re like me and you find reimagining mythology great reading, I highly recommend this book. I’m thrilled that I’ll also be reading and reviewing the next three books in the series. So watch out for them!
You can buy Pestilence here: