the golden age of death

“I could not have been more delighted with where this series has gone. Benson knows how to tell a good story, and she ratchets up the tension with every page.”

—Seanan McGuire,
New York Times
bestselling author

how to be death

“You may know Amber Benson from her stint on
as Tara, but her talents are multifaceted, making this series a favorite.”

RT Book Reviews

How to Be Death
will make you an instant fan of Amber Benson… Not only will this novel amuse you, but Benson has crafted a well-written page-turner mystery. Full of colorful characters and hilarious dialogue, this is a series supernatural fans will devour.”

Fresh Fiction

“Reads like a clever and complex whodunit… Urban fantasy fans should not miss this lighthearted, exciting series.”


“A true suspenseful mystery,
How to Be Death
is also riddled with some seriously comical moments… This is a fantastic book and a wonderful addition to the Calliope Reaper-Jones series. 5 stars!”

Pure Textuality

serpent’s storm

“Calliope Reaper-Jones is hysterical. One can’t help but root for her to get the man, save the world, and get her heart’s desire in the process. This character-driven addition to the Reaper-Jones series is truly fantastic.”

RT Book Reviews

“Amber Benson shines through her novel and entices readers. Calliope’s personality is genuine, and readers will definitely love her.”

Nocturne Romance Reads

“Fast-paced but filled with humor and pathos. A powerful, action-packed thriller.”

Genre Go Round Reviews

“Benson has brought the series to a new, impressive height—dark, startling, and [with] plenty of shocking surprises. Urban fantasy fans should not miss this fantastic series.”


cat’s claw

“Callie bounces from twist to twist as she explores Benson’s richly imagined world, where multiple mythologies blend and the Afterlife is run as a corporation.”

Publishers Weekly

“An entertaining, frenzied fantasy frolic that will have the audience laughing at the chick-lit voice of the heroine, who is willing to go to Heaven on a hellish cause.”

Genre Go Round Reviews

“Benson is back with a second helping of her refreshing take on death and Purgatory… Callie’s offbeat humor and viewpoint guarantee a madcap romp.”

RT Book Reviews

death’s daughter

“Amber Benson does an excellent job of creating strong characters, as well as educating the reader on some great mythology history… A fast-paced and very entertaining story.”

Sacramento Book Review

“An urban fantasy series featuring a heroine whose macabre humor fits perfectly with her circumstances. Sure to appeal to fans of Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series and Charles de Lint’s urban fantasies.”

Library Journal

“A beguiling blend of fantasy and horror… Calliope emerges as an authentically original creation… The humorous tone never gets in the way of the imaginative weirdness of the supernatural events.”


Death’s Daughter
, Benson provides a fun romp that defines the rules of an exciting new universe you’ll be chomping at the bit to dive back into time and again. There’s action; there’s intrigue, redemption, an adorable hell puppy, and even a hot guy or two. What more could you ask for?”


“Amber Benson writes an amusing, action-packed, chick-lit urban fantasy loaded with more twists and curves than a twist-a-whirl… Filled with humor and wit, this is a refreshing, original thriller as double, triple, and nth crossings are the norm.”

Genre Go Round Reviews

“With a creative story line as proof, Ms. Benson adds writing to her ever-growing list of talents. Set within an intriguing paranormal world,
Death’s Daughter
unfolds a seductive tale of power and deception. A great start to a series that will be easy for readers to get hooked on.”

Darque Reviews

“Opens the door on an intriguing, fully thought-out universe, with a likable main character and the potential for mayhem around every corner. It’s a lot of fun.”


“A lively and funny story packed with nonstop action… Benson’s flair for combining mythology and pop culture to create laugh-out-loud characters and incidents strongly reminded me of Esther Friesner’s
Temping Fate

The Green Man Review

“Callie is sarcastic, smart-mouthed, and overwhelmed. I liked her a lot! I found this to be an amusing book from start to finish. It was refreshing to have a lighthearted but still-suspenseful paranormal come on the scene. The mythology and settings were unique and creepy (my favorite)… Callie’s voice was spot-on for a twenty-four-year-old assistant living in New York who is suddenly dropped into the middle of Hell. I have a feeling this is the start of a series, so I will be eagerly awaiting more adventures of Callie, Clio, and Runt the hellhound.”

Night Owl Reviews

“A clever and well-told story… It’s also a step outside the current paranormal-fantasy rut but with enough elements in common to please fans of that form as well.”

Critical Mass

Ace Books by Amber Benson






the golden
age of death



Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa), Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North 2193, South Africa • Penguin China, B7 Jiaming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


An Ace Book / published by arrangement with Benson Entertainment, Inc.


Ace mass-market edition / March 2013

Copyright © 2013 by Benson Entertainment, Inc.

Cover art by Spiral Studio.

Cover design by Judith Lagerman.

Interior text design by Tiffany Estreicher.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-61953-7


Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


For “The Shamers”—
I would never have finished without you


I want to thank a bunch of people, not just those who helped push along Book #5, but people who have been integral to the creation and longevity of Calliope Reaper-Jones. To Christopher Golden, who encouraged me to write books, period. He makes being a novelist look easy—even though it’s anything but. To Ginjer Buchanan, my tireless editor, who not only gave Callie and me a home but also listens graciously to drunken, brokenhearted authors and always offers the best advice. To my agent, Howard Morhaim, the word “debonair” was created for you—thank you for fixing past mistakes and treating me like a real writer. To the ladies of Ace/Roc: Rosanne Romanello, Erica Martirano, Jodi Rosoff, and Katherine Sherbo—you gals give “classy” a run for its money. To Anton Strout, my brother-in-arms—Callie and I thank you for sharing signing space with us and only laughing at us occasionally. To Robert Busch, the best proof-pages reader around. Every typo I miss, he sees. To Jennifer Vineyard, Jordan Katz, Kate Rorick, and Sarah Kuhn—you guys read the books before the world gets ahold of them. Your love and advice is invaluable. And, finally, I want to thank my Aunt Beverly, my sister, and my mom and dad for putting up with my preoccupied and bizarre mind. I love you guys.

There are so many people out there who helped shepherd Callie along on her journey. Way too many to name in these pages—but you know who you are, and you know you have my eternal thanks.

And most important of all: Thank you to the readers. You guys are the real rock ’n’ rollers.

Nevertheless they perished, and became as though they had not been, and their souls descended into She’ol in Tribulation.


Table of Contents














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