Calling the Reaper is the initial book in the First Book of Purgatory series. The concept is that the realm of mankind lies between Paradise and Purgatory. Valkyries hold sway in Paradise, ready to collect the souls of any person who qualifies for heaven by the choices they made in life. The Reaper collects the souls of those who made the wrong choices.
Here we have eight separate stories where a man or woman is confronted with a decision at the end of their life. I liked very much how the stories intermingled even though they take place in separate places. The native people in the story 'Sacrifice' evolve to become the tribal people in 'Mourning Dove Song'.
All of the stories are well-written and interesting. They take place in worlds that are similar to our own and the detail is excellent. I especially enjoyed reading Vengeful Ghost (Shogunate world), Sacrifice (Inca/Mayan world), Mourning Dove Song (the Old West), Legend No More (Vikings), Broken Steel, Broken Words (Teutonic knights), and Born of Titians (Romans), or at least that's how I interpreted the stories parallel worlds. (There are also pirates and Russian worlds in the other two stories which are also absorbing).
I found myself rooting for most of these protagonists to be taken by Valkyries (I won't tell you how they ended up). The characters are generally likable people who are faced with hard choices, so I had sympathy for most of them, even when they made a bad decision.
This is a fine piece of work and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
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