Turn of phrase

Tim Powers, one of my favourite speculative fiction/ alternative history authors, has terrifically vivid descriptions.  His novel On Stranger Tides is book about Blackbeard, voudun, and zombie/ghost creatures that can do your evil bidding. The hero is sword-fighting with one of the zombie/ghost guys, and experiences this:

quote powers

 

I love this description almost as much as I love clawfoot bathtubs filled with buttons and doll heads.