Charlie Asher was just a normal guy, until he died in battle with creatures from the underworld, but his soul lives on in a small animal—a "meat puppet"—with a crocodile head. And he's just learned that his 7-year-old daughter is now the Luminatus, a being with power over Death.
These are character's from Christopher Moore's new novel "Secondhand Souls." Moore's novels weave together action and fantasy under a lens of dark and absurdist humor. He will read from "Secondhand Souls" at Quail Ridge Books this weekend.
The book is a sequel to "A Dirty Job." It brings back several beloved characters who call themselves "Death Merchants," agents of karma. They collect souls that remain inside items of deceased people, and get them into the hands of a person destined to continue that soul's journey.
"I sort of write ironic humor, and I thought, 'How ironic would it be that that immortal part of ourself is materialistic.' It's actually caught in an object somewhere and resold at secondhand stores and so forth."
This is just one of Moore's comedic novels that draws on world religions for inspiration, but they take liberties. In "Lamb," Moore tells the stories of the travels Jesus of Nazareth takes eastward with his bumbling friend Biff. That novel examines the roots of Christianity influence by Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Hinduism.
Moore says he mines mythology, and combines elements from various sources to serve his characters.
"I just look for the parts that are interesting, and fun," says Moore, who calls himself a "Christmas and Easter Buddhist."
Moore will read from "Secondhand Souls" at Quail Ridge Books on Saturday at 7 p.m.