by R.J. Larson
Fantasy Meets the Old Testament in a novel that will reach readers of all ages.
Against his wishes and desires, Akabe of Siphra has been chosen by his people to be King. But what does a warrior know of ruling during peacetime? Guided by the Infinite, Akabe seeks to rebuild the Temple in the city of Munra to give the sacred books of Parne a home. But dangerous factions are forming in the background. To gain the land he needs, Akabe must forsake the yearnings of his heart and instead align himself through marriage to the Thaenfall family.
Meanwhile, Kien Lantec and Ela Roeh are drawn still closer together…while becoming pawns in a quest to gain power over the region. As questions of love and faith become tangled with lies and murderous plots, each must seek the Infinite to guide them through an ever more tangled web of intrigue and danger.
☻☻☻☻☻ (5 out of 5 smiles)
First, let me say that I seldom read YA fiction—and never speculative. However, R.J. Larson’s ability to weave Old Testament tales with imaginary kingdoms and lovable monster-horses has been an incredible journey that I’ve enjoyed immensely.
Book #1 of the series, Prophet, introduced us to Ela of Parne, a young girl charged with the huge task of speaking the Infinite’s message to whomever whenever He commanded. Also in that first offering, we met Kien Lantec, a spoiled and brash nobleman who matured through suffering and became the main character of Judge, Book #2 of the series. Now, in Book #3, we meet a friend of both Kien and Ela’s, King Akabe, who finds himself in a circumstance similar to that of one of the Old Testament kings. Akabe of Siphra never wanted to be king in the first place.
QUICK! Can you think of an Old Testament king that was crowned unwillingly? Give up? Check out 1 Samuel 10, and there may be others.
Prophet, Judge, and King use subtle Old Testament inferences to keep Bible-lovers alert for golden threads of biblical stories woven throughout. Each book is a biblical treasure hunt, challenging the reader to apply scriptural truths in a make-believe world that then translates meaning into our daily lives.
Why make-believe? Why fantasy? Larson’s kingdoms of Siphra and Parne seem quite Victorian, and though some of the woodland and desert “creatures” are most definitely speculative, they’re used appropriately for the lessons being taught and learned. The best reason I’ve discovered for reading speculative fiction? Because when I see a concept at its barest level, without real life complications, I can then apply it more effectively to my life. Applying biblical principles to a completely fictional circumstance allows me to focus more keenly on the principle.
Here’s one example: As the book description says, Akabe of Siphrah doesn’t want to be king, but because the Infinite commands it, he obeys. A young princess, Kien Lantec, and Ela of Parne are similarly reluctant in areas of their lives—facing choices between their will or God’s will. As the story plays out, I can assess each character’s struggle to obey or disobey with utmost objectivity because I’ll never be a king, a princess, a warrior, or a prophet. I’ll never fight scalns, be held captive in a dungeon, or bring down an empire. ☺ But I WILL be called to obey my God, and this utterly fantastic story taught me more about obedience.
To find out more about the Books of the Infinite series by R.J. Larson, visit: illuminatingthewordthroughfiction.blogspot.com