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Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1) Paperback – July 1, 2003
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*Starred Review* Hancock's intriguing Arena [BKL Ap 15 02] drew a great deal of praise for the originality and starkness of its alternative universe. In The Light of Eidon, she begins a fantasy series called Legends of the Guardian King that is more clearly a Christian allegory but is so crisscrossed with subplots and deceit that exactly where the light of Eidon shines may baffle the reader. It certainly baffles young Abramm Kalladorne, Hancock's hero. He is the little-valued fifth son of the king of Kiriath, a vivid kingdom that seems a bit like medieval England, with a bit of ancient Rome. Abramm is drawn to the religious life, but after eight years as a novitiate, he discovers that his spiritual leader is a fraud and that the true path to Eidon's light lies elsewhere. But upon leaving the monastery, he finds himself in the middle of court intrigues, and his brothers sell him into slavery in a faraway, barbarous land. For a while, Hancock's novel seems like a gladitorial epic, but then Eidon, or Jesus, makes his truths known. A great battle ensues, but victory is not complete and many questions remain. Readers will certainly return for the second installment. John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"...an exciting allegorical fantasy ...Hancock's writing, often eerie and suspenseful, is rich in sights, smells and sounds." -- Christian Retailing
"...the future should be bright for this promising novelist." -- Publisher's Weekly
"TOP PICK-Four and a half stars." -- Romantic Times
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All of his life, Abram Kalladorne has known the truth. His hunger for Eidon (God) quite frankly would put most of us to shame. And that's why he's been training with the Mataian brotherhood for the past five years. Besides, as the fifth son of the king of Kiriath, it's not as if there's anywhere else for him. Especially as he's always preferred his books to anything else, so the army's out.
But when Abram returns to Kiriath's capital for full initiation in to the brotherhood, he slowly comes to realize that all is not as it seems. What ensues is an odd combination of 'Ben-Hur' and 'The Hunger Games' (which no matter how strange it sounds, works) that completely shatters Abram's faith. But perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to Eidon and his plan than Abram ever thought possible, and his trials are also going to reforge and strengthen that faith.
Several other reviews have mentioned the extra-marital sex scene. Does it conform to Christian morality? Absolutely not. However, as the characters involved are not what I'll call 'saved', for lack of a better term in the book, at the time, that opens up a whole new can of worms. It is not explicit. It is regretted after, and it actually plays quite an important role in character development. To me, that and the point I saw the author trying to make with the scene, also make it not gratuitous. The author is not attempting to encourage or condone sex outside of marriage.
In some ways, then, this is something of your standard fantasy fare, in which the main character discovers the strength inside themselves and becomes not so useless, after all. Thing is, there's nothing wrong with that formula, because who doesn't want to see a character grow? And when you throw faith into the mix... Anyway, a wonderful story of 'what you intended for evil, God intended for good'.
Abramm's bitterness--and without giving the plot away by telling why he is bitter--leads him to atheism, and while he's at this low point, he falls in love with the girl. One reviewer of this book said it couldn't possibly be a Christian book since Abramm sleeps with the girl, and the writer is therefore glorifying sin. Well, #1, even real Christians still sin sometimes, and to acknowledge it is not to glorify it, but #2, Abramm was not even a believer in God at all when he was with the girl. The girl changed his life, found Eidon herself in a tragic moment, and indirectly led Abramm to discover the real Eidon as well, so I'm not going to fault the author for that.
But to portray this book as a simple Christian allegory would be to do a disservice to the story, because it's also a rollicking action-adventure (there's one point where Abramm is betrayed/rescued/betrayed/rescued/betrayed again that it is almost dizzying, and many things are not what they seem in the story. Give it a try, and don't be put off by the girl incident. Stay with the book until the end before you decide.