Piers Anthony

Prolific and popular American/British author well know for his fantasy/sci fi novels. Born Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob in Oxford in the UK in 1934, although his family emigrated to the USA when he was a child and he became an American citizen. He briefly served in the army and worked as a teacher before become a full time writer.

Although not somebody one would think of as having much to do with equine literature, he has in fact penned two stories with horsy content. Both of these are in his long-running
Xanth series, a humourous fantasy series which is extremely popular. One book - Night Mare - is without doubt a fantasy horse story as it is told from a horse's viewpoint and has lots of horsy content throughout. His other Xanth book to feature horses - Crewel Lye - has far less equine content, but again an important character is a horse (albeit a ghost one!) Both these are very good reads, unless you happen to dislike fantasy.

As well as writing, Piers Anthony is also interested in the problems writers (especially aspiring writers) may have with publishers. He has an updated review on a large number of publishers.

There is a Piers Anthony website where you can find much more information about the author and his books. There are also various fan sites and the author himself has written two biographies/memoirs.

Pony Books in the Xanth Series (Adult Fiction):
These 2 books are part of a long humourous fantasy series and both (especially Nightmare) feature horses as main characters. However, they are in no way traditional horse stories and will probably not appeal if you dislike fantasy. They do contain a lot of humour, albeit much of it of the 'Carry On film' ilk. They have been criticized as sexist in their portrayal of women which is to some extent true, but as with the 'Carry On' films the women still hold the real power! Although both books feature characters from earlier books in the series they can quite easily be read as stand-alones. Suitable for adults and older children.

To see the full Xanth series click here

(1st UK edition FUTURA PB 1984)
Book Club edition also produced.
Reprinted in paperback.
Published in the UK in paperback by Futura and also in hardback by Severn House.
EDITIONS PICTURED: Book Club, USA paperback. UK paperback. UK hardback.
SUMMARY: Book 6 in the Xanth series. A pony viewpoint fantasy story. Imbrium has been sacked from her job as a night mare - fierce equines who bring bad dreams to people - for being too soft. She is sent to the day world of Xanth as a real horse to help with a crisis. A wave of barbarians is threatening to invade and an evil magician called The Horseman, because of his skill and mastery over horses, is causing havoc by stunning the Kings and Queens of Xanth. There she meets the Day Horse, a handsome stallion with whom she forms an attachment. But what is the secret The Horseman is hiding and what consequences will it have on her and the Day Horse….?
PONYMAD VIEW: I have read quite a few of the Xanth books and this is in my opinion the best, not just because it is written from a horsy point of view and has lots of horse content, but because the plot is exciting and full of mystery and the book is hard to put down. The author, although known for fantasy not equine stories, obviously has some knowledge of and a respect for horses as a lot of the behaviour of the horses is spot-on. The powerful Horseman with his bits and spurs can be seen as an analogy for the unsympathetic controlling rider and in this book the sympathy is firmly on the side of the horse. Imbri is a well rounded, sympathetic character whom you warm to immediately. For a writer who is criticized a lot for having a sexist attitude to women, here he has created a strong female character. Although there is a lot of fantasy content in this, it is quite light-heated and there is also a lot of humour mixed in with the drama. So unless you are a died-in-the-wool hater of fantasy you will probably enjoy it. To top it off there is an excellent denouement at the end.

(1st UK edition FUTURA PB 1985)
Book Club edition also produced.
Reprinted in paperback.
Published in the UK in paperback by Futura
EDITIONS PICTURED: USA paperback. UK paperback.
SUMMARY: Book 8 in the series. Some horsy content as one of the main characters is a (ghost) horse. Jordan the ghost tells the little Princess Ivy the story of how he was betrayed by two wily magicians and the woman he loved On his travels he teamed up with Pooka, a ghost horse, which provides the horse content of the story. Now Jordan is long dead and his bones have been scattered to prevent his magical talent of healing from any injury from bringing him back to life. But if Ivy can solve the mystery of where his bones have been hidden maybe she can make him human once more….
PONYMAD VIEW: Strangely enough, like
Night Mare, one of my favourite in the series, and like that book not only because it has horse content but because it has an interesting plot/mystery. This one has much less horse content than Night Mare and is probably not as suited to non-fantasy fans as that book, but it is nevertheless a good read.

Collector's Info:
Both books were published in the UK as well as the USA. Paperback are very easy to find in the USA and fairly easy in the UK. Hardbacks are a bit harder.

Books About the Author:
Extremely frank biographies which are not suitable for younger children due to sexual and other adult content.

(ACE [USA] 1988)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Frank 'warts 'n' all autobiography up to age 50.

(TOR [USA] 2001)
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Second autobiography following on from the above, but with some content from childhood and earlier adulthood.

Collector's Info:
Easy to find in the USA and UK.