THE SPIRIT WAR: BETRAYAL AND HOPE- the most vivid, intense retelling of the Nativity Story I have ever read.

Posted: September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
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One of the most oft-asked questions in regard to Christianity and literature is “Should/Can/Is it good for Christians to read fantasy fiction?” Some followers of Christ have been very vocal against a genre long associated with magic or sorcery. However, there are those who know and love fantasy as a fine vehicle for The Truth, The Way, and The Life. J.R.R. Tolkien, for example, was a devout Christian, and used the power of imagination and his scholarly background to craft a tale which has been widely discussed as a Christian allegory, beloved by secular readers as well. The Lord of the Rings is one of the most influential work in all of literature, an epic brimmed with myth and grounded in Truth that has enjoyed staggering popularity due to its big screen adaptations.

The same can be argued for C.S. Lewis. An established Christian apologist, he penned the famous Chronicles of Narnia, a fine series teaching children the values of Christianity, once again with the use of myths and fairytale figures. None of these books ever mention Christ by name, yet are alive in His spirit, managing to inspire the heart and capture the imagination.

I have long wondered whether someone would ever have the courage to actually write the story of Christ in the same manner in which literary colossi Tolkien and Lewis wrote their classics.

The four gospels are said to contain “the Greatest Story Ever Told”, and perhaps this should serve as a means of calming for those who attack fantasy as “foolish stories”.

Inspired by his love for Tolkien, Costa  Rican author Fernando Quiros has penned a trilogy known as THE SPIRIT WAR, and in my honest view, having read the first book,(for the e-copy of which I wholeheartedly thank the author), I think we’re dealing with the most ambitious work of Christian fantasy since Tolkien and Lewis. This is a book that will definitely make its readers mouth a huge WOW! It starts right in the middle of intense, dramatic action, as the battle between the rebellious forces of Lucifer and Archangel Michael’s Life Company is described so vividly that one feels as though they’re eyewitnesses to the War in Heaven. Lucifer, left in charge with organizing the Universe, uses the power of Death, thus attracting the wrath of the Creator, who casts him and those he rallied out of Heaven. I loved the spin that Mr. Quiros put on Lucifer, whose madness for power makes him cut the Tree of Life, the center of the Garden of Eden, down. The promise of a Savior for mankind, now subject to corruption, thus becomes necessary.

One would probably think that at this point, the novel moves to the story that everyone knows, and yes, it does. But the great thing about this book, and the reason why it represents a gem for Christian fantasy, is that this genre allows the author, as well as the reader, to experience an old story in a completely new manner. The novel shifts perspectives from angels, humans and demons, putting the early human life of Jesus into a context that to my knowledge has never been explored in this manner before. This is the Nativity story written by someone with a perspective that is Catholic in etymological essence(meaning “universal”), rather than in dogma. This is the story of the first Christmas written for those who find delight in reading tales of epic battles. Witness the forces of good and evil playing crucial parts in the destiny of Christ. Meet the Holy Family as you’ve never seen them before: two young parents struggling to protect their child. Explore the friendship of Joseph, Mary and Ciprianus Longinus, the future Centurion whose proclamation changed history. Glimpse into the mind of raving tyrant King Herod and Gul-Shamar, the cruel, demented assassin who slaughtered the Innocents. Discover the unexpected, brilliantly created link between the prophecies foretelling His birth and the Essenes. Bear witness to the Magi and their gifts(again, a pleasant surprise in the shape of a nod from the author to one of the other religions that have shaped mankind…read the book and see what wise man comes from what tradition).

This book is a gift, in more ways than one. It is a read not meant to preach, but to entertain and inspire, and I, for one, find myself a richer person after having read it. Give it a try, whether you are a believer, doubter or unbeliever. For those who want their faith explored in a different manner, as  well as those who have had dull moments in church, this is the book to start with. No amount of stars could do it the justice it deserves as the beginning of what could well be the series that Christian fantasy has always been in need of.

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