Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia
UK Publication Date: 20th March 2012
Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors…and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories.
In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world.
But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world? (From Goodreads, 8th February 2013)
The third book in Jackie Morse Kessler’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse is slightly different from the first two. Billy has not been chosen by death to become Pestilence but was tricked by the previous Pestilence when Billy was only a child. Pestilence is not dead however but hiding in his past, comatose, and thus unable to do the job he accepted a long time ago. Billy does not want to be Pestilence, but to escape the job he must bring the previous Pestilence back.
Billy enters the memories of Pestilence to find where he is hiding, he must learn about the life Pestilence that has lead, and why he is shirking his duties.
Through this journey Billy begins to understand his life and understand that of the ‘man’ whom has been in his nightmares for years.
This is a fantastic novel with has an amazing journey through the past, madness, illness and all manners of other topics/themes.
I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Fantastic! I cannot wait until Breath comes out!