- Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Baen (March 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671578618
- ISBN-13: 978-0671578619
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,037,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Year Of The Warrior Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2000
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That said, I was completely surprised by the book. It turns out that many theological questions are answered in it. It's not preachy, though, and the leading character, an Irish captive who is asked to serve as a Christian priest in a pagan culture, has his flaws. But he is also trying to really serve God -- to do the right thing, towards the oppressed, and keep others from doing the wrong thing. The most important theological question is this: Should people be baptized against their will? That is, should a conqueror, or ruler, insist that all he is over be baptized? Should a priest resist this sort of thing?
There are real spiritual battles in the book. Thor makes a brief appearance. There are witches and wizards, and powerful spirits. I've never read anything like this, and I'm glad I did.
I'm not sure where the "Year" of the title comes in. The narrative covers more than one year.
I have a particular interest in Vikings (being Norwegian), as well as Christian history (being Christian), so the "historical fiction" aspect of these books is especially appealing to me.
I also love fantasy, and while these stories do not fit neatly into the fantasy genre, they deal with the supernatural in a way that transcends both the spooky horror or triteness of most modern supernatural thrillers, and never sink into the lame cheesiness of most "Christian fiction." These books answer the question of what happens when the servants of the Christian God (who is real) enter a pagan land and encounter the forces of pagan "gods" (who are also very real). The spiritual clash is gripping and exciting, as is the emotional journey of the mere mortals who are sometimes caught in the middle.
The characters are fascinating, never two-dimensional, and their dialog is usually witty and delightful. While never outright comical, I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions (thanks especially to the dry sarcasm of the main character, Father Aillil).
I cannot recommend this book more highly, to believers and infidels alike!
The other reviews go into sufficient detail so I will keep it brief. Lars Walker does what so few Christian novelists do: he makes the faith foundational to the tale so that it permeates everything yet without discarding plot and character for the purpose of evangelizing. I cringe at Christian novels and films that wear their faith on their sleeve and sacrifice good storytelling. In fact, it is for this reason I tend to eschew the term "Christian" as an adjective. A good tale, much like Christ's teaching, should provoke thought by challenging presuppositions or at least help the reader see things from another perspective. Lars Walker has accomplished this and is one of my favorite fiction writers because of it. I especially appreciate the fact that he answers emails.
The trilogy is an interesting blend of history (many of the characters in the books are historical, and is based on the actual history of the period of the Vikings' conversion to Christianity) and fiction (of the sword-and-sorcery genre). It would appeal to readers who like historical fiction as well as to those who like fantasy.
Walker's writing style is good and he draws vivid verbal pictures of (most of) his characters.
Not Lars Walker! Walker is telling his own story -- and what a storyteller he is -- but his imagination is drawing on a much richer compost than (it seems to me) most authors command. Walker knows the Icelandic sagas, and has adapted the terse saga style for the modern fantasy reader. Thus he provides us with a series of memorable supernatural incidents -- pagan gods, werewolves, ghosts -- and battle scenes, but he doesn't "write them up" in pulp magazine style. You may find yourself going back and reading again some of these scenes, to savor how really eerie or violent they are. His locales are generally convincing; they do not seem to have been invented by a writer who is making things up as he goes along.
There's human depth here, too. Walker gets me interested in characters without halting the story for extended patches to "work up" the description of the person. Here are men and women with blood in their veins.
I'm teaching an undergraduate course on modern fantasy. If I'd known of this book in time to include it in the reading list -- where it would have been in the company of Tolkien, Le Guin, and Peake -- I'd almost certainly have done so. I would have liked to include an example of really worthwhile swords-and-sorcery fantasy -- and that's what we have here!
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