One thing that became obvious as I read this book is that author Brae Wyckoff is both a fan of fantasy adventures and a man dedicated to using his writing craft to convey Biblical truth.
The story centers on the friendship and adventures of thieving halflings Bridazak and Spilf and their dwarf friend, Dulgin. In the grand spirit of most role playing games, they pick up an odd assortment of travelling companions along the way. I had a rollicking good time reading this book because I was, once upon a time, a DM [dungeon master, to the uninitiated non-geek]. As turned the pages of first book in Wyckoff’s Four Horns series, I encountered many, many details I’d forgotten from those old campaigns: portal hopping wizards, terrifying bone dragons, armies of undead, wild dwarves, thieving halflings, surly dwarves, magical weapons and… well, I could go on and on! The very idea of a mega-dwarf had me howling [a giant dwarf is just seriously wrong and comically inspired]! Fans of fantasy adventure series like Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance will love the world of Ruauck-El as much as I did.
Christian readers, especially those who enjoy apologetics fiction or speculative faith novels, will enjoy the adventure for its own sake, but will appreciate the deeper allegory the author has woven into this tale. The Orb of Truth does a wonderful job of retelling the gospel from Creation to Christ. There’s even an imaginative nod at the translation of Enoch on page 111.
There were only two things I did not like.
On page 110, a character named Xan tells of Ruauck-El’s version of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, saying, “The Tree was a gift that has now turned into a curse. It was never meant for mankind to touch, because it was pure and holy.” This is a partial allusion to Eve’s response to the Serpent in Genesis 3:3 where she says that God has forbidden them to eat of or even touch the Tree; that’s not what God said. Eve’s zeal is to be commended, but she religiously added that “do not touch” to God’s simple prohibition against eating from the tree [Genesis 2:17]. This oversight doesn’t really do damage to the plot or to doctrine; Wyckoff simply stumbled onto one of my pet peeves. On the other hand, there’s a good re-affirmation of Romans 2:15 on the very same page.
The second thing I did not like is probably more of a sticky point for Wyckoff’s Christian and teen readers. There’s a good bit of cussing in this novel. Most of it is what I term pulpit cussing: words you generally find unacceptable unless your preacher uses them from the pulpit. There’s also several references to, well, poop by any other name. I normally don’t care if obviously unsaved characters curse – and most of it comes from the dwarf Dulgin [because why should we expect unsaved characters to act like evangelical Christians or whatever?] – but The Orb of Truth definitely has appeal for young adult readers, so I feel the need to give parents a heads-up. Also, I’m not really sure why the dwarf calls out his own race when he cusses (eg., dwarven h*ll, dwarf poop, etc]; it would make more sense to call out another race/species when cussing [ie., “Oh, orc turds!”] and leave your own race unmentioned as the standard assumption, so to speak [“Oh, turds!”]. Maybe I’ve overthought this… ;]
Nitpicking aside, The Orb of Truth is epicly entertaining, well-paced and thoughtfully written. I definitely recommend it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the Four Horn series.
You can find out more about the The Orb of Truth at http://braewyckoff.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.”