This page represents a reprint of my chronology of Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series that was hosted on http://www.spundreams.net/~phoenix/IoIChron.html which I ported here to my site. The original page remains on Spundreams as an archive with a redirect here so I can keep all the good stuff in one location. Please note, this is considered by his own words as his official chronology of the first 7 books of the series. It is listed by URL and me by name (although Mr. Anthony thought I was a bloke) in the Author’s Note of the 8th book in the series, which takes place in the past of an alternate reality very much divorced from the first 7 books, so I never revisited the history. That being said, do enjoy the chronology as much as I enjoyed doing the research, because I’m a lore nerd.
EDIT: Feb 10, 2018: I have since learned through social media and research that a specific word is in lamentable frequent use in pop culture that refers to certain nomadic peoples once thought to originate in Egypt. I had unknowingly used this slur in this text, as it was in the books as such. However, I choose not to contribute to the ignorant use of this slur, so I have changed the references to Nicolai and Tinka’s people to call them by their polite and correct name: the Romani. For any Romani whom I had unwittingly offended by this ignorant use of the slur, I sincerely apologize and will do my best to never commit such an error in the future.
The Incarnations of Immortality Chronology
As with any timeline, sometimes dates are a bit fuzzy. With Bearing an Hourglass, this gets downright dangerous and weird. Therefore, any concrete dates are mentioned normally, and any dates that are approximate are listed with the c. for circa. Also, any events that are subsequently erased by the action of Chronos are listed as AR for Alternate Reality. All dates are considered to be Anno Domini, aka Common Era (CE), unless otherwise stated. Finally, all RL history is considered to have happened as popularly thought by current scholars unless otherwise stated.
Of course, Mr. Anthony was more concerned with story than with detailing the exact times and dates for events, so many of these will simply be listed in relative terms (X event happens Y time before Z event). Relative events will have ‘????’ for the date, but will be listed in chronological order as best as I can sort it out. Also, each event will be cited in terms of source, including page-number, using the following legend:
OaPH – On a Pale Horse
BaH – Bearing an Hourglass
WaTS – With a Tangled Skein
WaRS – Wielding a Red Sword (nice acronym, that)
BaGM – Being a Green Mother
FLoE – For Love of Evil
AE – And Eternity
The page-numbers correspond to the Del Rey first edition paperbacks for the first five, and then the Avon paperbacks for the latter two.
Finally, this chronology contains complete and specific spoilers to all seven books, so if you haven’t read them yet and don’t want to be spoiled on various keen plot-twists, please do not read further.
The Incarnations of Immortality Chronology
c. 15 to 20 billion BCE – The Big Bang. (RL scientific conjecture/AE, p. 221)
???? – Lilith was created by Samael to be Adam’s first wife. When she was rejected, she turned into the serpent who corrupted Eve and led to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden. (FLoE, pp. 167-168)
???? – One by one, the various original immortal Incarnations retire, leaving Nox the only original Incarnation still in office by 2000 CE. (FLoE, p. 117)
1190 – Parry is born in southern France and grudgingly adopted by the Sorcerer. (FLoE, p. 6)
1191 – Jolie is born in southern France. (FLoE, p. 4)
1205 – Jolie is sent to Parry by her father, and Parry invites her to be his apprentice and wife. (FLoE, pp. 5-12)
1206 – Parry and Jolie are married. (FLoE, p. 24)
1208 – The Sorcerer and Jolie are killed by Crusaders prompted by Lucifer and Parry flees to the north. (FLoE, pp. 32-39) Before fleeing, Parry meets Thanatos and the Incarnation allows Jolie’s ghost to inhabit a drop of blood on Parry’s wrist. (FLoE, p. 41) Parry joins a band of friars, using the name Brother Grief. (FLoE, p. 56)
1209 – Jolie first manifests as a ghost to Parry. (FLoE, p. 58) Parry’s group of friars joins the Franciscan Order. (FLoE, p. 59)
1221 – Parry switches to the Dominican Order of friars to focus on his revenge on Lucifer. (FLoE, p. 60)
1230 – Parry finally deals with the sorcerer who had killed his adopted father and Jolie, a man named Lord Bofort. (FLoE, p. 61-78)
1231 – Parry meets with Pope Gregory IX to discuss the need to pursue evil to eradicate it. (FLoE, p. 80)
1233 – The Pope reinvents the Inquisition, using Parry’s model for it. (FLoE, p. 80)
1241 – The Great Khan of the Mongols dies while the Golden Horde is poised to conquer Europe. Parry and Jolie ensure that the news passes to the Horde, deflecting the army and saving Europe. In doing so, Jolie animates a mortal woman and she and Parry make love, sowing the seeds for Parry’s future damnation. (FLoE, pp. 101-117) Parry decides not to confess this sin nor to quit his Order. (FLoE, pp. 119-120)
1242 – Lilah is sent to corrupt Parry. (FLoE, p. 121) Parry gives in to lust and begins his path of damnation, with Jolie retreating to the drop of blood on his wrist, unable to manifest in such evil. (FLoE, p. 139)
1247 – Lucifer summons Parry and tells him that he’ll die in three years. (FLoE, p. 149) He then traps Parry and Lilah in Hell until Parry sings them free. Lilah falls in love with Parry. (FLoE, p. 156)
1248 – King Louis IX, an impediment to the evil Inquisition, sets sail for the Holy Land at Parry’s behest. (FLoE, p. 158)
1250 – Louis is captured at Cairo, blunting the effectiveness of his kingdom to foster Good. (FLoE, p. 158) Lucifer appears when Parry starts dying and attacks Lilah when she admits her love of Parry. Parry uses his last strength to defeat Lucifer. At Lilah’s urging, he takes on the Office of Evil and becomes Satan. (FLoE, pp. 160-161) He swears vengeance on the Incarnations of War, Nature, Death, and Fate after they humiliate him when he tries to speak to them. (FLoE, p. 190) Chronos, the only Incarnation friendly to Parry, gives him a clue to who might have the spell to banish demons, a dead king named Ozymandius. (FLoE, p. 195) Ozymandius gives Parry the secret, and Parry takes official control of Hell. (FLoE, p. 202)
1331 – Setting Ozymandius in charge of reorganizing Hell, Parry decides to get back at the other Incarnations by helping unleash the Black Plague on an unsuspecting Europe. Orb’s predecessor as Gaea is worked over in this fashion. (FLoE, pp. 207-209) Per Chronos’ request, Parry spares Milan from the ravages of the plague. (FLoE, p. 209)
1348 – Parry has southern France also spared from the plague. (FLoE, p. 209)
1349 – A mortal woman begs Parry to stop the plague, and he what he can to spare her native land and the city of Prague because she resembled Jolie so much. (FLoE, p. 213)
1379 – Parry is instrumental in causing the Second Great Schism, a time when there were two Popes elected at the same time, one in Rome and one in Avignon France, both with their own courts and retinues. This problem wouldn’t be resolved until 1414 after a series of claimants to the office of Pope. (FLoE, p. 214)
sometime after 1405 – Parry decides to end the battle between Good and Evil by confronting God directly. After discovering that God’s not paying attention, he gets lost in the Void and is rescued by JHVH. (FLoE, p. 226) After speaking with JHVH, Parry decides to try and wrest power from God. Going to Heaven, he negotiates a contest with the Angel Gabriel to try and corrupt Niobe Kaftan, her child, or her grandchild. If Satan is unable to corrupt the three, he agrees to abate his effort to wrest power from God. (FLoE, p. 234)
1642-1727 – The lifetime of Sir Isaac Newton, who spent his younger years formulating various laws of science (such as gravity) and then spent his maturity doing the same thing for various laws of magic. (OaPH, p. 18)
1894 – Niobe is born in Ireland. (WaTS, p. 1)
1899 – Cedric Kaftan is born in Ireland. (WaTS, p. 1)
1905 – Pacian Kaftan is born in Ireland. (WaTS, p. 56)
1914-1918 – The Great War. (RL)
1915, early summer – Niobe is married to Cedric. (WaTS, p. 3)
1915, two weeks later – Niobe and Cedric argue about consummating their marriage. (WaTS, p. 14) Cedric admits he loves Niobe. (WaTS, p. 15)
1915, autumn – Cedric goes to college. (WaTS, p. 27)
1916, spring – Niobe is attacked at Cedric’s college; after he defends her, they finally consummate their marriage. (WaTS, pp. 34-41)
1917 – The Magician is born. (WaTS, p. 47)
1917, summer – Cedric is shot and poisoned by an agent of Satan, taking Niobe’s original fate. (WaTS, p. 53) Satan visits Chronos to find out why Niobe is so important and finds out that Chronos loved her. This ends the historic amity between the Incarnations of Time and Evil. (FLoE, p. 240) Cedric dies and goes to Heaven. (WaTS, p. 75)
1917, fall – After realizing why Satan wants her dead, Niobe gives up the Magician and becomes Clotho at age 23, replacing Daphne Morgan. (WaTS, p. 87)
1917, less than 1 month later – Niobe goes into the Void for the first time and meets Satan. He tries to turn her away from her course by telling her the other Incarnations conspired to kill Cedric so Chronos could have her. She believed what he said until the others could talk her down. Even though she didn’t love Chronos, she agreed to dally with him. (WaTS, pp. 95-110)
1923 – The Magician and Pacian are part of a pair of prophecies that foretold they’d each marry the most beautiful woman of their generation, and that their daughters would marry Death and Evil, one to save man, the other to be an Incarnation. (WaTS, pp. 125-126)
1927 – Aged 22, Pacian marries Blanche, who was not the most beautiful woman of her generation. (WaTS, pp. 128-129)
1928 – Blenda, the most beautiful woman of her generation, is born to Pacian and Blanche. (WaTS, p. 129)
c. 1928 or 1929 – Atropos retires to Ireland to spend her remaining years visiting the Magician. (WaTS, p. 130)
1939-1945 – The Nazi regime enacts its ‘Final Solution’, the systematic slaughter of millions of Jews, Romani, homosexuals, etc. in the concentration camps of Germany, Austria, and Poland. (AR) Satan tricks Chronos into saving millions of those who would have been slaughtered by the Nazi regime, with the Holy Roman Empire returning to power instead of the Nazis. Only Satan and JHVH know the truth. (FLoE, p. 265)
1942 – The Magician, for his PhD project, creates a spell that causes any harm inflicted upon the wetlands or wilderness to reflect back on the source. His college is sued by various developers and it’s quietly settled to be restricted to any area designated as parkland. (WaTS, pp. 131-132, date is conjecture based on the Magician’s brilliance and assumes he was 25 at the time)
1951 – Niobe visits the Magician and gets him to promise to visit Pacian and the water oak. He does so and falls in love with Blenda. (WaTS, pp. 133-134)
1952 – The Magician and Blenda are married, Niobe attends the wedding, and Blanche is killed by a demon from Hell. (WaTS, pp. 134-138) Due to the tragedy, Lachesis retires. (WaTS, p. 139) Satan sends a demon from Hell to assassinate a prominent ‘good’ senator but due to the intercession of Fate, he survives; however, the girl with him dies. (WaTS, pp. 141-147 – very similar to the RL Chappaquiddick incident involving Sen. Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy from 1969)
1955 – An unnamed man begins his tenure as Chronos, and Fate sees him through the transition. (WaTS, p. 114) An eight-year-old boy ends his tenure as Chronos, and Fate seems him through as well. The boy informs Niobe that her tenure as Clotho is due to end in two or three years. (WaTS, pp. 154-157)
1957 – Satan entreats Niobe to stay as Clotho, honestly not wanting to deal with the confrontation in 40-odd years. Rejecting his offer, Niobe steps down as Clotho, turning the role over to Lisa, and she marries Pacian Kaftan. The Magician turns 40, and he and Blenda announce Blenda’s pregnancy, even as Pace and Niobe announce theirs. (WaTS, pp. 187-178)
1958, spring – Orb and Luna Kaftan are born within a week of each other. (WaTS, p. 188)
1962 – Orb hears a bit of the Llano, the Songs of Morning and the River, for the first time. (BaGM, pp. 1-2)
1963 – An eight-year-old takes the Hourglass from Norton and becomes Chronos. (WaTS, supposition that there aren’t any office holders in between the two)
1964 – Niobe takes Orb and Luna to meet the hamadryad, and the two are nearly kidnapped by Romani. (BaGM, pp. 12-25)
1970 – Niobe escorts the 12-year-old Orb and Luna into the Hall of the Mountain King, where the two girls win a magic harp and paintbrush, respectively. (WaTS pp. 190-209)
1975 – Blenda dies of leukemia, aged 47. (WaTS, p. 357) After Luna and the Magician move to America, Orb takes off on her travels. (BaGM, p. 28) She eventually meets Nicolai and his daughter Tinka in Basque country and agrees to teach Tinka music. (BaGM, p. 36)
1978 – Orb meets Mym in India. (WaRS, p. 3) Mym reveals he’s a prince and his true name is Pride of the Kingdom. (WaRS, p. 21) Mym leaves the traveling troupe after his brother dies and he is summoned by his father, the Rajah of Gujarat. Before departing, he gives Orb the snake ring that Norton will one day name Sning. (WaRS, pp. 28-29) Orb finds out she’s pregnant with Mym’s child. (BaGM, p. 75)
1979 – Orlene is born to Orb and Mym. (BaGM, p. 84) Orb gives Orlene to her Romani friend Tinka to give to an American tourist family. (BaGM, pp. 85-86) Pacian dies of natural causes, aged 74. (WaTS, p. 210)
1980 – Zane enters the Mess O’ Pottage shop and purchases a Wealthstone for private consideration. After meeting Molly Malone that night, he murders Thanatos and assumes the office of Death. (OaPH, pp. 1-27) The Magician arranges for Zane to meet Luna and then dies, aged 63. (OaPH, p. 82/WaTS, p. 210) When Satan tries to have Zane collect Luna’s soul out of turn, Zane goes on strike until he fully realizes the powers of his Office and faces down the Incarnation of Evil. (OaPH, pp. 205-299) Mym agrees to marry Rapture of Malachite after spending a month in the Honeymoon Castle. (WaRS, p. 57) Orb goes to visit Luna in Kilvarough. She meets the Livin’ Sludge and Lou-Mae and goes on tour with them after they secure transport with the cursed fish Jonah. (BaGM, pp. 89-133) Orb hires the succubus Jezebel to be their housekeeper. (BaGM, p. 126) Betsy is the last member to join the traveling band. (BaGM, p. 161)
1980-1988 – Babylon and Persia get into yet another war. (WaTS, p. 261, assumption is that this is equivalent to the Iran-Iraq War in real life, corroborated by Mr. Anthony)
1981 – Niobe returns to Fate, this time as Lachesis. (WaTS, p. 217) A psychic stink bomb goes off at the UN, forcing the UN to eject the US from its body, moving its headquarters to Moscow. (WaTS/AR, p. 234) Chronos retroactively corrects the problem of the stink bomb, and Satan realizes that Niobe is Lachesis. (WaTS, p. 300) Niobe runs through a maze in Hell to reach the Magician to retrieve a lost message, finally coming into her own power as Fate. (WaTS, pp. 320-380)
1982 – Mym’s betrothal to Rapture is broken by his father. (WaRS, p. 69) Mym takes the Red Sword and assumes the office of War, keeping Rapture as his betrothed. (WaRS, p. 70) Due to a vilification campaign, Luna is never elected to office. (BaH/AR, p. 337) Luna is elected to her first political office. (BaH, p. 337, 351, 356)
c. 1983 – Rapture leaves Mym for the mortal world and a mortal man named John. Lila informs Mym that Orb had his daughter and sets him on his path to meeting Ligeia, a princess whose secret shame was that she was a siren. (WaRS, pp. 174-180) Satan traps Mym and Ligeia in Hell, where Mym instigates a revolt and frees himself and Ligeia. (WaRS, pp. 207-263) While Mym is in Hell, martial law is declared in America, obviating the need for Luna’s key vote. (WaRS/AR, p. 266) Mym then faces Satan down by threatening to use the Doomsday Clock and precipitate the Holocaust. Lila remains, no longer belonging to Satan. (WaRS, pp. 264-281)
c. 1984 – Orb meets Parry in his Natasha disguise. (BaGM, p. 172) After several adventures, and Orb’s powers expanding and various ‘tests’ to prove the goodness in Natasha, Orb takes on the office of Nature. (BaGM, p. 235) Natasha reveals himself as Satan. (BaGM, p. 236) In a fit of rage, Orb invokes the Song of Chaos, killing humanity and bringing the world to the utter brink of destruction. (BaGM/AR, pp. 237-288) Orb agrees to marry Satan to save the world, and Chronos reverses her use of the Song of Chaos. (BaGM, p. 293) Gaea and Satan are married, and Parry sings a hymn, relinquishing his Office. (BaGM, p. 299) Orb finds Parry in Hell and takes Jolie’s blood off his wrist. (FLoE, p. 300) Parry refuses to help the new Incarnation of Evil and reclaims the Office after tricking the new Incarnation into the River Lethe. (FLoE, p. 309) Jolie begins animating Orb’s body so they can tryst with Parry on the side. (FLoE, p. 310)
1985 – Jolie goes to watch over Orlene for the first time at Parry’s request. (FLoE, p. 2)
1986 – Orlene gets lost on a summer outing and spends a scary half hour alone. (BaH/AR, p. 155) Orlene gets lost on a summer outing and is rescued by Norton as Chronos. (BaH, pp. 115-116)
1992 – A demon sent by Satan prevents the accidental poisoning of Luna’s predecessor in office so she is never elected. (BaH/AR, p. 262) With the help of a woman named Helga, Chronos nullifies a demon that was sent to ensure that Luna’s predecessor in office wasn’t accidentally poisoned. (BaH, p. 263) Luna is elected Senator. (BaH, p. 221 & 230) Helga goes to meet Norton in his regular life and they spend two years together. (BaH, p. 265)
1999 – As Chronos, Norton visits Orlene and tries to warn her away from the ghost marriage. (BaH, pp. 157-164) Orlene marries the ghost Gawain. (BaH, p. 10) Gawain arranges for Norton to meet Orlene. (BaH, p. 14) Orlene gives Norton Sning. (BaH, p. 42) Gawain II is born to Norton and Orlene. (BaH, p. 53)
2000 – Gawain II dies and Thanatos speaks to Norton. (BaH, p. 62) Ten days later, Orlene commits suicide. (BaH, p. 66) Thanatos arrives and gives Jolie charge of Orlene’s ghost. (AE, pp. 3-5) Nox takes the soul of Gawain II from Purgatory. (AE, p. 16) Nox charges Orlene with a series of impossible tasks in exchange for curing Gawain II’s malady. (AE, p. 45) Luna arranges for Jolie and Orlene to reside in Vita and help her out of the gutter existence she is in. (AE, pp. 52-53) Jolie gets Vita arrested and the trio meet Roque Scott. (AE, pp. 70-74) The trio goes to Purgatory and meets each Incarnation in turn, being present when Atropos retires and Nicolai takes her place as the eldest Aspect of Fate. (AE, p. 207) They all witness the violent death of the former Atropos, using her last act to save her mortal daughter from an abusive husband. (AE, p. 209)
2002 – Norton takes the Hourglass and becomes Chronos. (WaTS, p. 234/BaH, p. 209) Vita, Orlene, and Jolie return from Purgatory after two years (due to its unusual temporal nature), and Nox makes them and Roque Scott debate the nature of the universe: creationism vs. evolution. (AE, pp. 214-232)
2004 – Orlene, Jolie, and Vita return to Earth a second time, having aged two days in Purgatory for two years of Earth time. Roque proposes to Vita. Orlene finally gives up her baby. (AE, pp. 329-334) Luna casts the deciding vote to declare the office of Good vacant. Norton is present as Chronos due to Orlene having a grain of sand from the Hourglass, allowing him to be corporeal outside his tenure. (AE, pp. 342-343) One hour later, the Incarnations inform the world of the choice of Orlene to take on the office of God(dess). (AE, p. 354)
???? – Norton’s ‘successor’ as Chronos saves the world and a monument is erected in a park. (BaH, p. 80, date is assumed not to be the 2004 denouement because Norton came out of his own tenure to be in 2004 and the 2004 Chronos was not present. This could happen either before or after 2004, there is no information either way.)
c. 750 quadrillion years – The end of the universe. (RL scientific conjecture according to the Big Crunch theory)
c. 1 plus 200 zeroes – The end of the universe. (RL scientific conjecture according to the Big Chill theory)
The Bearing an Hourglass Sub-Chronology
While researching Bearing an Hourglass, I found what at first appeared to be a major continuity glitch, focusing on Luna’s election. After careful rereadings and consultation with Mr. Anthony, we came up with the idea that there were two elections for Luna. Even in real life, it’s highly improbable that a newcomer to the political arena would get elected to such a major office right out of the gate. Therefore, the election in 1982 is for some unspecified lesser office, while the election in 1992 after the Drawkcab episode is for the Senatorial seat in a special election. The concession speech at the end of Bearing an Hourglass is for the lesser office. Here is how it breaks down throughout all the changes Norton made.
Timeline 1 (Original history): Luna is duly elected both times, despite Satan’s vilification campaign.
Norton’s Actions: Took demon(s) to the past. The text specifically states that demons can be any size, and it is the characters who assume that only two were on his person (the amulet and the color-changing one). Therefore, Satan could have planted more demons, particularly to warn his troops in the past.
Timeline 2: Luna is elected to the first office, but not elected as Senator, or won’t be until too late.
Norton’s Actions: The Drawkcab episode. Norton thinks he’s foiled Satan, but Satan’s not that easily balked and had a contingency plan.
Timeline 3: Luna is never elected to her minor office, the Senator in her state lives. Norton has a retroactive relationship to Helga.
Norton’s Actions: Forcing the recount 18 years ago.
Timeline 4: Luna is duly elected both times and this sticks because Norton’s on the ball now.