Friday, January 20, 2012
Historical Fiction From A Modern-Day Christian Perspective
LYNN AUSTIN is a skilled and polished writer with a well-developed knack for grabbing a reader in the first two pages and pulling them in by presenting a dire situation for characters we have only just met, yet somehow, we already care about. In this case, the book opens with gentle children being threatened by a band of tough soldiers who storm into their bedrooms and take them captive.
The horrible plans for those children quickly become apparent - they are to be burned alive as an offering to a pagan god. And the author does not flinch from the brutality, or let her readers look away. She dutifully has the young boys tossed into the brass maw of a bestial idol, where they scream horribly as they are engulfed by flames.
If this sounds like raw, edgy, cutting edge fiction, well, maybe it is, but this is Christian literature. I almost never read this genre because I am not a Christian, but I am willing to read anything with an open mind as long as a compelling story is being told. And this book delivers that - for the most part.
For me, again, not a Christian, I found many of the scenes rather preachy and repetitive of the basic Christian themes that the "True God" is one of "endless love and compassion" and that those who turn away from Him to worship false gods will face calamity in their lives, and so on. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this - it's what Christian readers enjoy reading and what they want to read. They like reading a compelling story, while also having their belief system reinforced for themselves.
However, as an objective reviewer, I have to make other readers aware of what they are getting when they purchase this book. Yes, it's a historical novel, a take on the ancient Kings of Judah in and around the years 700 B.C. to 800 B.C. - but one needs to know that this is historical fiction, but more accurately, fiction as seen through the lens of and colored by a modern day interpretation of a rather fundamentalist Christian belief system.
So if you are a believing, practicing Christian, this is almost certainly a top-flight read. For the rest of us, well ....
Ken Korczak is the author of: THE FAIRY REDEMPTION OF JUBAL CRANCH