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The Warden and the Wolf King Book Review – Part 3

wolfkingpic2

I wrote about Leeli yesterday. But, today I want to finish with three truths I took away from the story. These may not be the messages that Andrew intended, but they are messages I took away from this wonderful story. So, what did the characters and the story of “The Warden and the Wolf King” teach me?

Evil does not always take on the expected form, particularly in the beginning.

Every good story must have a compelling and dangerous villain. From book one, I have been waiting impatiently to find out more about Gnag the Nameless. Try as I might, I could not imagine what Gnag looked like. He was not only nameless, he was faceless! Was he a reptile? Was he a wolf? Was he some other hideous manifestation of animal/man crossover?

I must confess, when I finally met Gnag the Nameless I was, well, underwhelmed. This was the creature responsible for an evil wave of Fangs overtaking the world? Really? Surely we can do better than this, Andrew. But, I trusted Andrew. I knew that the best villains are not necessarily the most vicious appearing villains. The best villains are subtle, almost ordinary, and certainly instill a sense of overconfidence in those who oppose such a villain. Hmm. Sounds remarkably similar to our own Enemy. He is subtle. He moves behind the scenes. And, he assumes a pleasing or nonthreatening appearance. But, he is NOT nameless!

Andrew does not disappoint in the area of bringing out the worst in Gnag. I cannot even begin to describe the events but there is no way any reader could ever be disappointed by Gnag’s ultimate plan and his ultimate appearance.

My take on this was how the Adversary works quietly behind the scenes in our lives. He places obstacles and crises in our way to trip us up. He throws his minions at our daily lives. We get frustrated, angry, and disillusioned and we often don’t even know why. The Adversary at this stage is truly nameless, faceless, and loving every minute of it. And then, through a glimpse of Truth through the eyes of Spirit, we see how Satan has tried to stop us from doing good. And now, in the light and in the open, the Adversary becomes the Beast that he is. And that is when we must choose — fight or flight — stand and engage in spiritual battle or run away and hide. Andrew has shown us that the fight can be intimidating and we can think we are losing but God will bring us the victory over an adversary who is already defeated! Thank you, Andrew for that insight.

The plan we have for our lives is not always the plan God has for our lives.

Kalmar did not want to be a king. He just wanted to indulge his artistic expression. This desire to avoid what others wanted him to do with his life led to his big mistake of singing the song that converted him into a wolf. Of course, being a wolf placed him in the desperate situation of fighting to retain his true identity and forced him into the very situation that led him to king like behavior. Andrew deftly and authentically shows Kalmar’s struggles in the final book. He takes Kalmar literally all over the place and through the story, Kalmar grows. Not only does he end up becoming the King, but his reluctance to be the king is the very thing that makes him a good king — the servant king.

In my own personal life, I know that God has taken me down paths I never imagined. Becoming an author, a dramatist, an apologist, and a public speaker was not in my plan. But, through the years of crises and refinement in the fire of depression, God has taken me to the place in life where I have found my purpose. And, in finding that purpose, I have found true joy. Unfortunately, the joy often comes at a price as we see in “The Warden and the Wolf King”. You just need to read it to see what I mean.

Running from God will leave us confused and unhappy and out of phase with the world. When we turn toward God along the path we have been avoiding, true fulfillment happens and we glimpse the eternal plan of God and see our place in it.

Janner just doesn’t want to be the warden. He doesn’t want to have to take care of his little brother. He wants to read. He wants to settle down in the huge library of ancient books; to get lost in the lines of poetry and essays and stories. And yet, in his desire for this we see his unease, his displeasure with a sense that everything is not quite right for him. He reluctantly takes on his role as warden with disdain and ultimately guilt. Of course, we see Janner’s brave protection of his brother in spite of his inner monologue of guilt and despair. And, ultimately it is Janner’s journey I most identified with.

Ultimately, we want to do God’s will for our lives and at times, we resent that. But, we know it is the good and right thing to do so we press on. And, in the perseverance, God begins to shape us and mold us into the person He intends us to be. Then there comes that moment, when our vision transforms from the momentary to the eternal and we see through God’s eyes the grand plan unfolding from the beginning of time and our place in it and we give in to that plan; we open our mind and our heart to the inevitable; we lose ourselves in the glory of His purpose with no regard for the price. And, in that moment we are most like Christ; a pale reflection in truth but still a connection with the sacrificial Lamb that is our salvation.

Thank you, Andrew for a wonderful tale that works on so many levels to convey Truth to a world drowning in the Adversary’s lies. I know that children (and adults) will enjoy this wonderful tale for a long, long time. And, I hope that we haven’t seen the end of the Jewels of Annieria.

To Find this book use this link.

For Andrew Peterson’s official book site this is the link. And Andrew’s personal site is here.

I gladly and with great anticipation received a copy of this book for this review. Readers of the first three books may feel appropriately envious!

Check out these other reviews of “The Warden and the Wolf King”:

Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

 

And, if you would like to check out a special offer for my three books in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles, go to the order page at 11thdemon.com.

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The Warden and the Wolf King Book Review Part 2

wolfkingpic2Bitter disappoint burned in my chest. I had just found out I was being released from my 5 book contract with Charisma after my second book. It was late on the first night of Hutchmoot 2012 and I wandered the beautiful grounds of Redeemer Church in Nashville crushed and weepy. I made my way back into the sanctuary to listen to our hosts regale us with song and sat on the last pew. In front of me, a young girl, probably 5 or 6 squirmed on the pew beside her mother, restless and bored. On the stage Andrew Peterson was about to sing a number from his newest album, “Light for the Lost Boy”. He told us this story:

An artist told about growing up without knowledge of God. But, somehow he knew there was Someone to watch over him, a secret Companion. Later in life, this man came to know Christ and realized that God was always with him in the quiet, desperate moments of his life. Andrew decided to write a song about this secret companion. Then, he paused and called out to his daughter. The girl on the pew in front of me snapped to attention and with great delight ran up to the stage to sing with her father. As they sang, “The Voice of Jesus” I wept silently with joy that even in the midst of my depression and disappointment, the voice of Jesus still whispered hope and love. When she joined in with her father at the end of the song, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room and a hushed, reverent stillness gripped us all. In that moment we heard not just the voices of Andrew and his daughter. We also heard the Voice of Jesus. My despair lifted and the music calmed my soul and brought me a measure of sorely needed peace.

I tell you this because when I read of Leeli in “The Warden and the Wolf King” I hear the voice of Andrew Peterson’s daughter raised in song. In fact, song and music are integral to the story of this novel and permeate throughout the narrative. This shouldn’t surprise me. Andrew Peterson’s songs are more than catchy tunes. They are deep, thoughtful reflections on our life in this imperfect world and the redemption we find in Christ’s love.

Song is so important to the story of “The Warden and the Wolf King”. I remember reading “Lord of the Rings” as a teenager and being impatient when I came to long verses of song lyrics. Most of the time, I skipped over them. And, although the songs’ words gave some framework for the world of Middle Earth, I could have done without them.

Read the rest of this entry

The Spirit Well by Stephen R. Lawhead, A Book Review

Wherein many loose threads are tied together.

Between the death of my father at age 98 and the launch of my second book, “The 12th Demon”, the past week has proved to be very busy so I will be doing a one day review of “The Spirit Well”, Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest book in his five book series, “A Bright Empires Novel”.

First, let me say that if you have not read the first two books, you WILL find yourself scrambling around trying to make sense of the story. There is an introduction of the characters in the beginning of the book that does give you a sense of the events that have transpired in the prior two books and is indispensable in making sense of the current story, even if you have read both books. However, if you have read the first two books, this book will begin to bring things together in a much more coherent narrative.

Second, Stephen Lawhead has done a masterful job in creating this believable world, or more appropriately, worlds connected by “ley” lines. His attention to historical details, his use of period language, and his inclusion of the particular behavior of certain historical periods is spot on. To read this book is to savor each and every world.

Third, Stephen Lawhead has finally brought together some diverging, or as it turns out, converging story lines. For instance, in the first book, “The Skin Map”, Kit and Mina are instantly separated into two parallel worlds and disparate times only to meet briefly in the second book before once again losing each other. But, in the “The Spirit Well”, Kit and Mina through no device or their own find themselves reunited. Mina has grown considerably into a self sufficient, crafty person and Kit has managed to develop a strong self assurance and a “six pack” to go with his bulging biceps!

Fourth, Stephen Lawhead begins to reveal the truth behind the existence of the “ley” lines and the ultimate purpose  behind their existence. I don’t want to ruin it for the reader but it has to do with “perfecting creation” through the growth and maturity of humanity, or reaching an “Omega” point. Personally, as an apologist, I have been waiting for a more obvious nod to the Christian worldview and in this book, Lawhead delivers. He discusses the “anthropic principle” and the role humanity plays in God’s metanarrative. Here is a wonderful discussion of how God operates by “always working through the small, the insignificant, the powerless — it seems to be sewn into the very fabric of the universe.”

“Over and over again, we see that when anyone willingly gives whatever resources they have to Him — whether it is nothing more than five smooth stones gathered from a dry streambed or five little loaves of bread and two dried sprats — then God’s greater purpose can proceed.”

Or, as the story manages to drive home over and over, “there is no such thing as coincidence.”

Fifth, Stephen Lawhead finally answers the question about the skin map. It is the singular goal of Lord Burleigh and his “Burly” men. The skin map will lead ultimately to the “well of souls” where immortality, youth, healing, resurrection can be found. The skin map was once tattooed on the chest of Arthur Flinders-Petrie. In this story, we discover how it came into the possession of his offspring and how it became a literal “skin map”.

Sixth, Stephen Lawhead introduces new characters and discloses the existence of a society dedicated to bringing together those who have the genetic ability to traverse ley lines. Here, in this new character of Cass and her attachment to the Zetetic Society, the connection to Kit and his grandfather, Cosimo from book one are illuminated. After reading this book, I am more excited than ever to read book four and five. The stage is set and this book brings so many, pardon the pun, parallel story lines together. I highly recommend the entire book series. Book three, “The Spirit Well” delivers the goods!

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Book link –   http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Well-Bright-Empires/dp/1595548068/
Author Website – http://www.stephenlawhead.com/
Author Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/StephenRLawhead
Participants’ links: Be sure and check out these other reviews!

Jim Armstrong
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
 Brenda Castro
Jeff Chapman
Christine
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
http://home.earthlink.net/~wyverns/“> Emmalyn Edwards
http://projectinga.blogspot.com/“> April Erwin
http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile
http://christianfictionaddiction.blogspot.com/“> Jeremy Harder
http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com“> Timothy Hicks
http://thequietpen.wordpress.com/“> Janeen Ippolito
http://thewriterssword.blogspot.com/“> Becca Johnson
http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner
http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen
http://emileightherebuilder.blogspot.com/“> Emileigh Latham
http://blackanddarknight.wordpress.com/“> Rebekah Loper
http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/“> Shannon McDermott
http://www.bloomingwithbooks.blogspot.com/“> Meagan @ Blooming with Books
http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller
http://annamittower.blogspot.com//“> Anna Mittower
http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/“> Joan Nienhuis
http://blogginoutloud.blogspot.com/“> Lyn Perry
http://dadscancooktoo.com/“> Nathan Reimer
http://www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com/“> Chawna Schroeder
http://www.rachelstarrthomson.com/inklings/“> Rachel Starr Thomson
http://www.epictales.org/blog/robertblog.php“> Robert Treskillard
http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower
http://www.fantasyandfaith.com“> Dona Watson
http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger
http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/“> Phyllis Wheeler

The Inquisitor — A very tense thriller!

Torture does not a good story make.

After my ordeal in the hospital, I feel like I’ve had a taste of torture. I was confined to hospital bed with needles and lines all around me. I was poked, prodded, squeezed, deprived of food and sleep for twenty four hours. I must confess, I would have sold out pretty easily if someone had questioned me.

But, after reading “The Inquisitor” I am glad that Geiger was NOT one of my doctors.

 

“The Inquisitor” has created a lot of buzz on the book review circuit. It even got a good review on fictionaddict.com so I decided to give it a read. It is Mark Allen Smith’s debut novel and I must admit, I had a hard time putting it down after starting the book. I was even reading it while strapped into my hospital bed waiting for my heart catheterization.

First, let me state that this book is NOT a Christian fiction book. It has plenty of questionable language and violence. However, it is a redemptive story with an interesting plot development with multiple characters.

So, here are the characters:

Harry is a once homeless man down on his luck who made a living by being very good at research. One day while being beaten up in Central Park, a strange man comes by and rescues him. He later starts to work with Geiger in the IR (see below). Harry has a schizophrenic, quite insane sister, Lilly.

Dr. Corley is a psychiatrist suffering from extreme loneliness after his wife of many years has left him. He is intrigued by his very strange and enigmatic client, Geiger. Geiger came to him to help with understanding a series of strange dreams. But, Geiger will ONLY talk about his dreams, not his life.

Carmine is a mobster type who needed information one day and Geiger offered to help. Geiger was so effective at IR (Information Retrieval) that he became one of Carmine’s main clients and now gets referrals from Carmine on a regular basis.

Cat is Geiger’s one eyed cat.

Geiger is the central fascinating character of this story. He is known as “the Inquisitor” for his uncanny ability to retrieve information through a modified form of torture. His technique is simple and normally does not involve physical pain. In fact, Geiger is torture. He has the most bizarre personality of any character I have read lately.

He has no memory of his childhood and has become a self made man in the field of IR. He lives in a strange house with no windows and a four by four foot closet in which he routinely assumes the fetal position while recovering from his frequent crippling migraines.

His appreciation of the real world and regular life is limited. He is isolated and very eclectic. The story begins with a session of IR for Geiger and we quickly see and appreciate his unusual form of “torture”. There is only one other alternative for his clients, a man who uses much more extreme forms of physical torture from which the victims do not recover. Geiger has more “finesse”.

The opening section of the book is fascinating as we meet Geiger and see him from the different points of view of those who work with him. And, we see him from the point of view of two “clients”. The story takes its exciting turn when Geiger is asked to retrieve information from a man and the client shows up with a box containing the man’s 12 year old son. For reasons that eventually become apparent are absolutely essential to understanding Geiger’s backstory, Geiger takes the boy and goes on the run. His clients turn against him. He becomes a fugitive as he tries to protect the kid.

There are wonderful scenes with this 12 year old and Geiger in his home. Culture clash is inevitable and the chemistry between the two is well written. The story moves on with quick action and, of course, Geiger ends up the focus of IR and, of course, the torturer is his rival.

The story does move to a satisfying, if not strange conclusion and the reader is left to wonder if Geiger will continue to succeed in IR or has his life changed forever by his encounter with this young boy.

The story is gripping. The action is unrelenting. The characters are very well developed and the chemistry between Geiger and the boy are well written, believable scenes. This is a good debut novel and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in action or thriller type stories. Just remember the language my be offensive to some readers and the torture scenes are very tense, if not overtly gory.

 

The author’s website is: http://markallensmith.com/

Beckon by Tom Pawlik, Book Review Day One

My ex-brother in law would pick up “Granddaddy Long Legs” and throw them on me as a child. These long legged, spindly spiders are technically not a real spider according to Wikipedia. But, there was no such thing as Wikipedia when I was five. I was scarred for life. To this day, I hate spiders. I hate spiders! I have arachnaphobia! Snakes don’t bother me. But, spiders?

Beckon by Tom Pawlik has the grandaddy long leg of all spiders. And, he manages to combine my fear of spiders with one of my other great fears, drowning! And all of that is in the first few chapters!

Listen, this is no book for the faint of heart. It was dark. It was disturbing. It was deadly. The body count built up very quickly and many of the deaths were unexpected and sudden. I recalled a certain character portrayed by Samuel Jackson getting eaten by a giant shark in the first act of that ill fated shark movie.

So, let me divide my book review into three sections, one for each of the main characters. We’ll start with Jack Kendrick, a college student who lost his father at an early age and is now about to set out on an adventure with his best childhood buddy, Rudy, to Wyoming. There, Jack hopes to track down the markings on a strange artifact left by his father at the time of his disappearance. Along the way, they meet up with Ben Graywolf, a North American Indian familiar with the mysterious waterfalls through which his father evidently disappeared. Ben takes them into the caves in search of the elusive N’Watu people and their “Soul Eater”.

They end up climbing through the waterfall and into all kinds of endless caves until they find a hidden world in which these horrific spider creatures live. These crab like spider things are huge and quite ravenous and are being raised and herded by a hidden race of mysterious entities beneath the mountain. As Jack and his friends watch, they realize that someone, somewhere is bringing human beings into the caves as sacrifices for this hidden race of beings in exchange for some kind of precious commodity. And, the sacrifices are well, fed, to the . . .

Sorry, I don’t want to give away too much of the opening plot. Suffice it to say that Jack is almost attacked by one of these creatures; almost discovered by a fierce warrior of this hidden race; and almost drowns trying to escape from the caves. And, when he does escape, he discovers that returning to civilization is only the beginning of his woes.

The positives about this first section are the fast pace and obvious strong and surprising horrific elements. And, this author is not afraid of killing off major characters for the sake of the story so be prepared for a number of disturbing deaths. Did I say it before? The bodies pile up very quickly. Also, Tom Pawlik definitely excels at creating atmosphere from the creepy moving things in the dark cavern to the claustrophobic passages through underwater tunnels. I found myself holding my breath more than once and frankly, I had a few nightmares the first night.

Of course, this is just the beginning of a very involved story so come back tomorrow for part two.

Book link – http://www.amazon.com/Beckon-Tom-Pawlik/dp/1414338732/
Author’s Web site  – http://www.tompawlik.com/
Author Blog – http://tompawlik.blogspot.com/
Author Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tom-Pawlik/42692434035
Author Twitter account – https://twitter.com/#!/TomPawlik

Participants’ Links:

http://noahsreads.blogspot.com/ Noah Arsenault

http://kinynchronicles.blogspot.com/ Julie Bihn

http://www.oerkenleaves.blogspot.com/ Thomas Clayton Booher

http:/tulipdrivenlife.blogspot.com/ Thomas Fletcher Booher

http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/ Beckie Burnham
http://kittycrochettwo.blogspot.com Brenda Castro
http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/ Theresa Dunlap

http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/ Nikole Hahn
http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/ Ryan Heart
http://thequietpen.wordpress.com/ Janeen Ippolito
http://jessebecky.wordpress.com/ Becky Jesse
http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/ Jason Joyner
http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/ Carol Keen
http://www.slygames.net/ Leighton

http://blackanddarknight.wordpress.com/ Rebekah Loper
http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189 Shannon McDermott

http://www.domesticdissident.blogspot.com Karen McSpadden
http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/ Rebecca LuElla Miller
http://linalamont.blogspot.com/ Nissa
http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/ Joan Nienhuis
http://labornotinvain.blogspot.com/ Faye Oygard
http://justanotherbookbag.blogspot.com/ Crista Richey
http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/ Kathleen Smith
http://jessicathomasink.com/blog/ Jessica Thomas
http://christiansf.blogspot.com/ Steve Trower
http://frederation.wordpress.com Fred Warren
http://www.shanewerlinger.com/ Shane Werlinger

“The Realms Thereunder” by Ross Lawhead — A Book Review

“The Realms Thereunder” is an exciting and fascinating book of inspirational fantasy by the son of Stephen Lawhead, Ross Lawhead. The story centers around two young adults who vanished several years prior to the present only to resurface to a world that is now filled with danger. Daniel lives as a homeless waif, wandering the streets of Oxford looking out for the reappearance of vile creatures who inhabit an underground world filled with gnomes and trolls and “yfelgopes”.

Freya is trying her best to put the past behind her and her obsession with doorways and portals underscores her bad experiences from the past. For, both young adults disappeared into an underground labyrinth with ageless knights who battle a growing evil that threatens to destroy the world. And they did so simply by walking through the wrong opening!

Daniel and Freya traveled with the knights to the underground kingdom of Nidergeard. There, they meet the almost immortal sage, Ealdstan the Ancient who revealed that they alone could stop the coming war with his nemesis, Gad. The book weaves back and forth from the present to Daniel and Freya’s experiences in the past.

Freya is soon fooled into thinking she has joined a band of fighters preparing for the coming invasion and thus is neutralized. Daniel falls through another portal into a fairy land where he must commit a vile crime in order to return to our world in time to stop the coming evil forces.

The Sleeping Knights were a really fascinating and engaging feature of the story. I loved this aspect of ancient knights reawakening to defend the world against evil. I kept recalling the old knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” looking Indiana in the eye and saying “You chose wisely.” And, Ross Lawhead chose wisely. What great characters were these knights!

At first, the device of shifting back and forth between the present and the past was somewhat jarring. But, as the story progressed this feature was actually compelling as the story threads both reached a climax at the end of the novel. Well done.

“The Realms Thereunder” is well written and its fantasy worlds well realized and developed. The inspirational elements are toned down and, frankly, I would not call this book “Christian Fiction”. It functions well as a book in the secular world as well in the Christian fiction world. The reader will not be disappointed at the travails, trials, and triumphs of its two young adults. I can’t wait for book two!

 

* Book link –  http://www.amazon.com/Realms-Thereunder-Ancient-Earth/dp/1595549099/

Author’s Web site  –  http://www.rosslawhead.com/blog/

Participants’ links:

http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/“> Gillian Adams

http://tessbissell.wordpress.com/“> Red Bissell

http://www.AdventuresInFiction.blogspot.com/“> Keanan Brand

http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham

http://www.hiddenvalleysimplicity.com“> Melissa Carswell

http://jeffchapmanwriter.blogspot.com/“> Jeff Chapman

http://csffblogtour.com/“> CSFF Blog Tour

http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap

http://home.earthlink.net/~wyverns/“> Emmalyn Edwards

http://projectinga.blogspot.com/“> April Erwin

http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile

http://going-greene.blogspot.com/“>Tori Greene

http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/“> Nikole Hahn

http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/“> Ryan Heart<

http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com“> Timothy Hicks

http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/“> Christopher Hopper

http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner

http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen

http://krystisbooks.blogspot.com/“> Krystine Kercher

http://mharvireads.blogspot.com/“> Marzabeth

http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189“> Shannon McDermott

http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller

http://thebookfae.wordpress.com“> Mirriam Neal

http://www.questwriter.blogspot.com/“> Eve Nielsen

http://linalamont.blogspot.com/“> Nissa

http://www.leastread.blogspot.com/“> John W. Otte

http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com/“> Donita K. Paul

http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/“> Joan Nienhuis

http://justanotherbookbag.blogspot.com/“> Crista Richey

http://www.sarahsawyer.com/blog“> Sarah Sawyer

http://www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com/“> Chawna Schroeder

http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith

http://www.mindsinger.com/“> Donna Swanson

http://www.rachelstarrthomson.com/inklings/“> Rachel Starr Thomson

http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower

http://frederation.wordpress.com“> Fred Warren

http://www.fantasyandfaith.com“> Dona Watson

http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger

http://www.theravenquill.blogspot.com/“>  Nicole White

http://finishedthebook.blogspot.com/“> Rachel Wyant

A Book Review Day 1 — “Corus the Champion” by D. Barkley Briggs

A few months back I decided to reread “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien. I had not actually read the books since I was a teenager and that was close to, ahem, forty years ago. As I dove into the books, I was amazed at the level of fantasy; the quality of the writing; and what an awesome job Peter Jackson did in adapting the books into the movies. I am now over two thirds of the way through “The Two Towers” and I am once again enthralled by four elements Tolkien uses so well. Those elements are names, songs, geography, and companionship. So many names! Endless songs! Towering mountains and deep, macabre caverns! And fellowship!

I have spent the last two years diving into Christian fantasy and I must say that I have yet to find a Christian fantasy as satisfyingly close to Tolkien as “Corus the Champion” by D. Barkley Briggs. I will only be posting a one day review for I must confess something. I read the reviews of the first book in this series, “The Book of Names” and started immediately into “Corus the Champion”. Halfway through this new book I was so taken with the characters and so wrapped up by the story I felt I was doing the book and the author a disservice by NOT reading both books. And so, I am now halfway through the first book and I am loving every page of both books. D. Barkley Briggs has done a masterful job of evoking the kind of wonder and awe I felt reading Tolkien and that is saying a lot!

I will be posting a two day review since I am still happily reading through these two books! Here is Day 1: Names and Songs!

Names. Pay very close attention to the names in “Corus the Champion”. These names are so slippery and sneaky. They have double, sometimes triple meanings hidden in their spelling and their pronunciation. I dare not even discuss the name of the “Sleeping King” for to do so would be to ruin one of the key developments in this book! But, there are four names the reader should know. Gabe and Garrett are twins. Their older brothers are Ewan and Hadyn. These four boys live on a farm with their widowed father. And, while working in the field Ewan and Hadyn discovered a stone arch hidden in a briar patch. After receiving a mysterious scroll inviting all four boys to a life of adventure, all four were whisked away to Karac Tor, one of the Nine Worlds. And, in “Corus the Champion” each boy has found his “gift” and has been separated to achieve the purpose of bringing the world of Karac Tor to sanity by restoring the King. But, in order to do so, they must first find a Champion who will raise the King. Unfortunately, Corus the Champion is dead, betrayed by his best friend to the magical Fey folk — mischievous and mostly evil.

Songs! Ewan has a flute. It was a small, insignificant instrument in our world. But, on arrival in Karac Tor, Ewan discovered he had a power within him to deliver song to the world and these songs contain power and strength from God. And here, D. Barkley Briggs has achieved some extraordinary prose. When he writes about Ewan’s songs, the words take on a power of their own. Here is an excerpt of the song Ewan plays for Queen Marielle, the leader of the Fey folk. In the song that springs from his soul, Ewan finds himself recalling his lost mother:

“Ewan let loose with a long, slow note. A low note, like the roots of the trees in the forest around him, clawing deep into the earth. A note of heartache, of searching for unseen things and wishing they could be true. In his mind’s eye, flickering from shadows to light, he caught a glimpse of his mom. The freshness of the memory made his heart hurt, feel ashamed, realizing with shock how long it had been since he las though of her. But there she was now, inside, bright and clean.”

This is but a taste of the quality of writing in Corus the Champion. I do not want to hurry through this book. I want to savor it!

Tomorrow: Geography and Companionship

Book link –  http://www.amazon.com/Corus-Champion-Legends-Karac-Tor/dp/0899578640/ (or some other link of your choice)
Author’s Web site  – http://hiddenlands.net/index.php?Itemid=49&id=19&option=com_content&task=view
Participants’ links:

http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/“> Gillian Adams

http://noahsreads.blogspot.com/ Noah Arsenault

http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham

http://morganlbusse.wordpress.com“> Morgan L. Busse

http://csffblogtour.com/“> CSFF Blog Tour

http://carolcollett.wordpress.com/“> Carol Bruce Collett

http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap

http://projectinga.blogspot.com/“> April Erwin

http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile

http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/“> Nikole Hahn

http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/“> Ryan Heart<

http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com“> Timothy Hicks

http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/“> Christopher Hopper

http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner

http://www.molcotw.blogspot.com/“> Julie

http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen

http://krystisbooks.blogspot.com/“> Krystine Kercher

http://mharvireads.blogspot.com/“> Marzabeth

http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189“> Shannon McDermott

http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller

http://www.questwriter.blogspot.com/“> Eve Nielsen

http://www.sarahsawyer.com/blog“> Sarah Sawyer

http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith

http://www.mindsinger.com/“> Donna Swanson

http://www.rachelstarrthomson.com/inklings/“> Rachel Starr Thomson

http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower

http://frederation.wordpress.com“> Fred Warren

http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/“> Phyllis Wheeler

http://www.theravenquill.blogspot.com/“>  Nicole White

http://finishedthebook.blogspot.com/“> Rachel Wyant

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Welcome Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Blog Tour!

I want to welcome the reviews of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Blog Tour! They will be reviewing “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” over the next two days and you can find the list of websites performing reviews at this link.

Good or bad, reviews are there for you, the prospective reader to check them out.

Two things.

First, I will be reading an excerpt from my book, “The 13th Demon” this Saturday, October 29th at the Barnes & Noble on Youree Drive in Shreveport, Louisiana from 11 A. M. to 1 P. M. and I will be giving away free tee shirts. More information is available at this link. I hope to see you there! Bring you Nook and you can buy the electronic copy of the book right in the store!

Second, I promised to begin to release some special “Extras”. Check under the “Extra” tab for two things: Deleted Chapters and my short video on the history of human sacrifices and how we, as Christians should respond to such a horrendous practice.

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