If you’re looking for a novel full of high adventure [and a few misadventures], chivalry [even when it hurts], love, intrigue, and magic, but you want something infused with a Biblically faithful worldview so you don’t have to unclog your spiritual filters afterwards, A Knight from Dein is the book for you!
I had a hard time putting this bad boy down. Right off the bat, I realized I wasn’t just looking at the average hack-and-slash, hey-we-came-up-with-this-in-a-Dungeons-&-Dragons-session kind of adventure. It brought to mind such epic fantasy as the LOTR and the Dragonlance Chronicles, but with a distinctly Christian feel.
It features lots of action. There are back alley brawls, prison breaks, snow covered battlefields, impressive sieges and even a damsel-in-distress [two, actually]. There are also chases and battles against monsters and giants. The villain of this novel, the amelehq King Kemakohdu, is a certifiable evil genius backed by demonic powers and Immortal knights that shatter swords and cannot be harmed by normal weapons. In fact, the heroes spend the first half of the novel simply trying to outrun his forces. It takes a little divine intervention from Immanuel [Jesus Christ by any other name] to get them on an even keel. I rather enjoyed this element of the novel, for it put me in mind of similar deus ex machina utilized in popular epic fantasy adventures such as the aforementioned Dragonlance novels [in which a god acts on the heroes’ behalf in the guise of the bumbling wizard Fizban and gives them weapons to defeat previously invincibe enemies].
In fact, that’s one of the more unique things about this novel. It takes place on a planet [Farwold] in which elves and amalehqs [orcs, more or less] were given the same choice God gave Adam and Eve. In this case, amalehqs disobeyed God and followed the Black Dragon who deceived them, but elves did not and remain in tune with their Creator. Meanwhile, some humans [including a dwarvish race] were scattered to Farwold as part of God’s judgemnt on Babel and have since learned of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection through the Seven Elven Apostles. As a result of this odd scenario, spiritual warfare takes place rather physically in most cases.
As a Biblical creationist, my only concern is that if the whole cosmos fell in Adam [as per Romans 8:22], how can there be a second Garden of Eden type test? We note that foxes and rabbits play together in the unfallen elven lands of Stone’s Farwold, so he seems to recognize that there was no pre-Fall carnivory. In fact, humans and dwarves fall under uncomfortable conviction simply by passing into the relatively unfallen realm of the elves. Of course, this also leads to the secondary issue of salvation. The elves do not need it, having never fallen. The amalehqs do not seem to have been offered the grace of salvation. They couldn’t simply accept salvation by the god-man Christ, for that sacrifice has only been offered to the offspring of Adam [and therefore only humans and dwarves in Farwold]. Perhaps Stone will explore these matters in future novels in the series. That’s the rub of exploratory fiction: The genre often raises more questions than it raises, but it gives us possible answers in the event that something we considered impossible becomes observably true! [There were men who said man would never get to the moon because God stopped us from building the Tower of Babel!]
The cast of characters is well developed, as is the world Stone has created. I would like to have seen a map [available in newer versions of the book], but I had no trouble visualizing the rich world of Farwold. It is obvious that the author has done his homework when it comes to medeival culture, chivalry and warfare. Modern readers may find the book’s protrayal of the extremes of chivalry and honor unconvincing, but only because they lack such historical context. The characters convincingly deal with the dangers and doubts they face. Even when given incredible weapons, the dangers they face are very real. Once the action picked up, A Knight from Dein was extremely hard to put down. This is exactly the sort of rich fantasy adventure I’ve been looking for ever since I became a Christian.
You can find out more at http://aknightfromdein.blogspot.com/.
-Rev Tony Breeden
From the Bookwyrm’s Lair
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”