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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Return of the Guardian King, by Karen Hancock

Return of the Guardian King is the fourth, and last, in a series of novels. The first three all won a Christy Award. This one didn't, and my own take on why it didn't is that it was too Christian. I'll try to explain what I mean by that, and I am going to give away parts of the plot in doing so.

See here for my post on the second and third novels in the series, and here for my assessment of whether they are, indeed, Christian novels.

God the Father is represented in these books by Eidon. Tersius, who died and was resurrected, and, in doing so, paid for sin, is God the Son. There isn't a God the Holy Spirit. The bible is represented by the Words.

In the first three books, Abramm, son of the late King of Kiriath, escapes a murder attempt. He becomes a slave, and, during this time, also becomes a formidable swordsman, which is a radical change from his earlier life as an apprentice priest. He comes to see that the priesthood is mostly apostate, and has been trying to take over the kingdom. He becomes a Terstan. He returns to take the kingdom from an evil younger brother. He also falls in love with Madeleine. Abramm is overthrown, and condemned to death. Some friends arrange to have the death faked, and Abramm leaves the country. His wife and two young sons also do, separately. They don't even know for sure that Abramm is alive. Abramm hears the voice of Eidon, telling him that he will regain the kingship, and his wife.

In the fourth book, that prophecy comes true. Now comes the "too Christian" part. Abramm hears the voice of Eidon quite a few times. He also has a lot of other miracles in his behalf. A lot. There were too many of these miraculous events to suit me. I don't really think you can be too Christian. But I think that you can invoke miraculous assistance too often. My disbelief had trouble being suspended.

As I indicated earlier, I thought Hancock invented new bad animals as needed. She wasn't done -- there's another one, or two, depending on how you count, in this book. Also, I had thought that the Eshurites and Black Moon were the villains. It turns out that they are co-villains. Another arch-villain is revealed in this fourth book. 

On the positive side, the novel can be taken as a long illustration of keeping faithful, no matter what, on the part of Abramm, Madeleine, and even their two small sons.

Thanks for reading.

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