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Monday, March 17, 2014

Waylander, by David Gemmell

I recently read Waylander, (New York: Ballantine, a Division of Random House. A Del Rey book, 1986.) by David Gemmell, who passed away in 2006. There is a Wikipedia article on the book, and also one on the author. For more on the plot and characters, read the Wikipedia article on the book. I prefer not to give away much of the plot.

I believe, but am not sure, that I purchased my used copy of the book because I had read that Gemmell is at least influenced by Christianity. See here for a discussion, in this blog, of what makes a novel Christian. The Wikipedia article on the author says this: 
The consistent presence of redemption in Gemmell's work reflected his Christian beliefs. He claimed that all of his novels have a religious basis, calling them "essentially Christian books" . . .

What evidence is there that Waylander is an "essentially Christian book?" Here's some of it:

Waylander presents a number of choices between good and evil. The main character, Waylander, chooses to rescue a Source priest, and a woman who is trying to save three children from the ravages of war and bandits. Such behavior is uncharacteristic of him. A couple of characters, who are hired assassins, or who have preyed upon suffering people, bringing them to financial ruin, unselfishly choose to help Waylander.

There is also hope in the face of seeming despair. Dardalion, the priest that Waylander helped, believes that evil can be vanquished. Orien, who was the king, has hope that a quest, which will help a general defeat the forces of evil, can be fulfilled.

There is evidence that some of the characters believe in a god, or God, the Source. Toward the end of the events in the book, Dardalion reflects on what has happened:
"It was all a pattern, created from an interweaving series of apparently random threads. Dardalion fell to his knees." (p. 288)

Clearly, Dardalion believes, and he prays. (So do other characters.) On one occasion, he prays that he and his companions will not hate their enemies.

The Wikipedia article on the book, which is a stub, does not mention any of these things. I may add them myself.

Waylander was not marketed as Christian fiction. But it has Christian elements, and seems to have been written from a Christian world-view. I'm glad that I read it. I expect to read more of Gemmell's work, including two sequels to this book.

I should say that the book has a lot of violence in it. It is, I suppose, rather typical sword and sorcery fiction.

Thanks for reading!

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