Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Light of Eidon

Last week, Helene let you all in on our dirty little secret.  We love fantasy and sci-fi novels.  Can't get enough of them.  Aliens, swords, spaceships, dragons, we devour them like small boys inhale M&Ms.  I have to admit, though, that I am often a less thoughtful reader than Helene.  I usually just read for the story.  How does the good guy end up winning?  Does the boy get his girl?  Who is going to die and make me cry like a baby?  Typically, I pass right over the deeper themes the first time I read any novel. In The Light of Eidon, however, I found a different kind of read.  This book kept me turning pages to see the next step in a journey of faith.

The journey is taken by Abramm, and his story starts much like the Biblical story of Joseph.  The next to youngest of several sons, he is sold into slavery by his brothers.  Unlike Joseph, Abramm is the son of the king and, knowing he would never actually take the crown, he renounces any claim at kingship and joins a religious order.  Having spent much of life dedicated to this order, he is crushed to find out that the religious leaders have been conspiring to make Abramm their puppet and put him on the throne.  To avoid this, his older brother captures him and sells him into slavery, along with one of the members of the king's guard.

The guard member, Trap Meridon is really the character I can relate to. Because he was betrayed by a religious man, Abramm turns his back on all forms of faith.  He is initially repulsed to find out that Trap, his comrade in slavery, is a Terstan, one of the most reviled religious groups in the land.  However, he soon finds that Trap is a brave and honorable person.  As slaves, they become gladiators and fight side by side as friends.  

In all this time, Trap never preaches to Abramm or even attempts to convert him.  He answers questions about his faith; he uses the power it gives him (this is a fantasy novel, after all).  He lives with full integrity, even as a slave, and earns his friend's respect by his walk, not his talk.  Eventually, when he can see that Abramm is ready to hear about what he believes, he is fully ready to explain it to him. 

Can you see why I relate to Trap Meridon?  Not because I have as much integrity, but because he embodies the kind of follower of Christ I want to be.  Trap had the power to heal himself and others, and even though this ability marked him as a Terstan, he was unafraid to use it where people can see.  While I don't have miraculous powers, I do have the power of prayer.  I want to pray for my non-believing friends in their hearing without shame.  I want to live in such a way that they know where I stand and that they know they can ask me about Jesus at any time, and I'll be ready to answer.  I want my life to point to Christ as Trap's life pointed to Tersius (the son of Eidon, a direct parallel to Christ the son of God).

If Trap Meridon lived in such a way, why were Terstans so reviled in the land?  At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to followers of Tersius who are very ill, both mentally and physically.  Abramm believes this is the fate of all Terstans.  ***SPOILER ALERT***  We find toward the end of the book, though, that the only ones who become ill are those that have chosen to walk a path opposed to the will of Eidon.  The parallels are striking.  How many Christians turn people away from Christ because they are no different from the world?   

The parallels in Light of Eidon to Christianity are not quite as subtle as the masterfully crafted Chronicles of Narnia, and it is certainly not aimed at children. (The slave trade, gladiator style violence, and implied sex take it off the kids' list)  I've barely scratched the surface of the plot as a fantasy novel.  Without the ribbon of faith running through it, the book would only be a so-so quest story, like hundreds of others out there.  But the ideas running through it about evangelism, power, and doubt certainly made it worth the read for me, even giving me a case of bookworm's bottom!

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