Book Review: ‘The Realm Beyond the Storm’

The Realm Beyond the Storm (Wind Rider Chronicles Book 6) - Kindle edition  by Reid, Allison D.. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

We know Allison D. Reid as “Weavingword,” a long-time member of our blog community, and this is Book 6 of her “Wind Rider Chronicles,” The Realm Beyond the Storm. I’m going to review it for Chalcedon, but I wanted to do it here first–warming up to the task, as it were. And Christian fantasy writers need our support!

This is her best book so far. It features a very strong climax, laden with suspense, and is infused with the wisdom of the Scriptures: the alert Christian reader will find many echoes of the Bible. Another plus is her intimate study of medieval life and culture, which serves to make her fantasy world convincing.

The continuing story in the series is a war launched ultimately from Hell, with plenty of human servants who think they’ll profit by it (sound familiar?), and the travels, toils, and perils experienced by God’s servants. The chief protagonists are three sisters: Morganne, a scholar and a seamstress; Elowyn, an eccentric middle child who may turn out to be a prophet; and Adelin, who was still a baby when the series started and has yet to grow into any definite role. But I have a feeling that she will.

These are believable and sympathetic characters, each with her own voice and her own part to play, with none of the usual and mostly unbearable fantasy cliches attached. Allison has a gift for making her characters come alive. As I read, I can see and hear them as if they were characters in a movie playing in my mind. I do love it when that happens.

Don’t ask me to summarize a plot that has taken six books to present, so far. Suffice it to say that the war’s stakes are the survival of the human race and maybe even Creation itself. There are supernatural forces at work throughout, some for good, some for evil. And let me say there’s at least one major and unexpected plot twist that has me eager to find out what happens next.

Allison’s Wind Rider books are available on amazon.com. They’re self-published, but don’t let that put you off. I root for the day that sees them professionally published for a bigger market. Which they deserve.

 

Talkin’ My Books (with Jon Dykstra)

The Last Banquet (Bell Mountain, #4) by Lee Duigon

Jon Dykstra, of Reformed Perspective, did a wonderful job of interweaving some of my blog posts and some of my answers to his questions into a seamless, easy-flowing article. It first appeared in 2017.

After Lewis and Tolkien

I’ve also been asked why I bother writing fantasy while America is being eaten alive by Democrats; but that question doesn’t come up in this article. I’ll have to answer that another time.

For now, Mr. Dykstra’s editorial skills still have me going “Wow!”

I hope he makes you want to read my books.

 

‘BBC’s Old “Narnia” Series Was Better Then the Movies’

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I guess that next blockbuster Chronicles of Narnia movie isn’t coming, after all–even though they made a trailer for it, which is kicking around somewhere in the archives, I haven’t found it yet.

Those movies! I rooted so hard for them to be good, for them to succeed. But they never came close to matching the BBC Chronicles of Narnia from the 1980s.

BBC’s Old ‘Narnia’ Series Was Better Than the Movies

The movies spent a lot of money on special effects, but frittered it all away by cringing from C.S. Lewis’ story as he wrote it, in which “Aslan” clearly represents Our Lord Jesus Christ. Never mind what that bog-hopper Liam Neeson said about Aslan being Mohammed and Buddha, too. Really, sometimes I wonder what actors use for brains. Soggy cereal?

The old BBC series may have relied on unconvincing costumes, but one thing they did get right was the spirit of the enterprise.

It’s why so many of us keep going back to it.

Wahoo! Here Comes the Book

His Mercy Endureth Forever

Huzzah! (Can’t say “wahoo” twice.) I’ve just received my author’s copies of Bell Mountain No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever. Now I can mail Watchman and Ina their comment contest prizes.

Dig that cover by Kirk DouPonce! Is that cool, or what? That’s Ellayne being attacked by the giant Ice Age hyena–and if you want to know what happens, you’ve got to read the book. The prehistoric hyena was an awesome predator that mostly ate rhinos. The horse is Dulayl, who’s been with us since Book 1.

I haven’t yet gotten the sign to start writing Book No. 14, and meanwhile No. 13, The Wind from Heaven, has to be edited; and we have to dream up a cover for it. Busy, busy, busy! But it’s the kind of busy I like.

Soon (I hope) His Mercy will be available via amazon.com and other outlets; but for the time being, you can order it from The Chalcedon Foundation/Storehouse Books at http://www.chalcedon.edu/store/ . Support award-winning Christian fantasy! Support me. End of commercial.

And now I’ve got to go see what Joe Collidge has gotten up to.

Hot Off the Press! ‘His Mercy Endureth Forever’

Well, it took long enough to get printed, but it’s finally ready to go–the 12th book of my Bell Mountain series, His Mercy Endureth Forever.

It’s not on amazon or Barnes & Noble yet, but you can order it directly from the publisher at https://chalcedon.edu/store/ . I admit the paperback costs $18. But heck, how much does a movie cost, that turns out to be a real turkey? And as long as we’re all under The Great Quarantine, what better time to catch up on your reading?

Please, don’t be like the guy who said, when I told him one of my books had just been published, “So when’s it gonna be a TV movie?” Cheap, cheap, cheap! And it probably won’t ever be turned into a video game, either. Although that could be kind of cool… Certainly way cooler than a TV movie.

(Stop it, Lee! You’re starting to sound like Byron the Quokka.)

Come on, now–how many books have you seen with an Ice Age hyena on the cover, attacking a girl on horseback? Yeah, that incident is in the book–along with plenty more excitement where that came from. (Now I sound like I’m trying to sell a book.)

And if you really, really like this book… Well, there are a dozen more in the series!

‘My Books Have a Mission’ (2012)

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This seems a little pompous to me now, what I wrote eight years ago; but at least it’s still true.

My Books Have a Mission

Our culture’s in an awful lot of trouble, eight years later. It’s more important than ever to re-connect with God.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that that was the overarching theme of all my books.

Like I’ve said a hundred times, my books are smarter than I am.

‘How to Write a Fantasy Novel’ (2010)

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This piece appeared in Chalcedon’s print magazine in 2010, shortly after Bell Mountain was published. I’ve had a lot of practice writing fantasy novels, since then.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/how-to-write-a-fantasy-novel

There’s still a great unmet need for Christian fantasy, especially for Young Adult readers.

My books would appreciate some company!

 

‘Christian Reconstruction… and Fantasy?’ (God’s Providence at Work)

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In this 2014 Chalcedon magazine article, I traced some of the many steps of God’s providence by which I came to write my Bell Mountain novels. It started with a young R.J. Rushdoony reading Cornelius Van Til, and starting a correspondence with him–while I was still, literally, in knee-pants.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/christian-reconstruction-and-fantasy

You have to view these things in retrospect, because you can’t detect them while they’re happening. God’s work is subtle: best to view it from a distance. Get up too close, and you can’t see anything.

Anyway, here’s how my books came to be written, and why they’re written the way they are.

 

‘Christian vs. Almost Christian Fantasy’ (2015)

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Maybe this year I’ll find some really great, current, Christian fantasy to review.

Christian vs. Almost Christian Fantasy

I have to be careful about going into the theology shop, because I’m not a theologian, I might break something.

But a demon-hunting hit squad? If that seems a familiar motif, it’s from a book called Pax Demonica about “a demon-hunting soccer mom.” I know, I know–but really, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. But the theology was way, way off.

Is it really necessary to warn anyone that learning Christian doctrine from paperback novels is probably not a good idea?

What is ‘Christian Fantasy’?

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Too much of what is labeled “Christian fantasy” is only “Christian” on the outside. But then you can say that of some churches, too. And people.

What is ‘Christian Fantasy’?

Just as it’s possible for a politician who supports and publicly funds abortion to say “I’m a good Catholic!”, any publisher can call any book a Christian novel. Sayin’ so don’t make it so.