Merkabah Rider by Edward M. Erdelac
A Merkabah Rider for those of you who like me have never heard of the term before, a Jewish mystic able to leave his physical body and explore the upper and lower worlds of heaven and hell through the study of various Solomonic and Hebrew magical texts. The Merkabah or Merkavah is the fiery chariot of the Lord revealed to Ezekiel in a vision. Mix that with a High Planes drifter travelling the Old West dishing out revenge for the destruction of his own religious order, and you get a one hell of a great book.
Thankfully The Weird West is still a genre that remains small, it has not been stripped mined by hundreds of talentless hacks, eager to get in on the next big thing. While it’s a genre I really like, it is also a genre taht I haven’t read a great deal. Don’t ask me why, especially when the genres have books a good ass this forming the core of it.
This is a collection four stories, which forms the first part of the Merkabah Rider Chronicles.
While each of the stories can be read singly in isolation of each other, the real magic of the book works when you read them one after the other, they link and build upon the previous story, linking them into a much larger overall story. It’s for this reason that the opening story, while decent enough is the weakest entry in the book. However, what it does do is lay a strong if not entirely brilliant foundation from which the other stories can build upon.
The final story in this collection, The Nightjar Women is probably my favourite.It not only reveals a lot of the riders back story, it also provides a great cliffhanger, and this reviewer is eagerly awaiting what will happen in the next instalment.
The Rider at first might appear to me another cipher of a character, but with each of these stories Erdelac, adds layers upon layers to him, making him one of the most compelling protagonists I’ve have encountered in recent months.
This book sits right up there with Ian Rogers Deadlands, and Steven L. Shrewsbury’s Bad Magick as my favourite entries into this genre