Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Song of Albion

Today on the Christian Fantasy literature tour, I wanted to talk about Stephen Lawhead (I feel like one of those PBS hosts). He is considered by many to be one of the premier fantasy writers in Christian fiction to be sure. He also has a following outside of the CBA from my understanding.

I read the Song of Albion series around 1998 or so. It starts with The Paradise War, and continues in The Silver Hand and The Endless Knot. It follows the adventures of a graduate student at Oxford who is drawn into a Celtic fantasy land and slowly over time becomes the hero and ultimately, its savior. It is a powerfully written narrative. The first and third books are written in the perspective of the hero Lewis/Llew, while the second book is written from the perspective of the trusted bard Tegid. The first two books really drew me in. I can still recall my own imaginings from these books, 8 years or so later. Unfortunately I found that the third book was more plodding in pace, but in pushing through to the end I was rewarded with the connection evident in all three books that was skillfully woven into the story the whole time.

I've read more of Stephen Lawhead's books, including book one of the Pendragon cycle that chronicles the legend of Arthur (these books would also appeal to the fantasy reader as well). It seems that Lawhead can be spotty - I eagerly jumped into the 2nd of the Pendragon cycle only to really lose steam from the previous narrative. I noticed this pattern in a historical trilogy he wrote as well. However, he remains an excellent fantasy author, and I do recommend the Albion series.

Like I said earlier, I haven't read much in the genre of fantasy. I don't know why, as I've enjoyed all my forays into them. I really admire those writers of fantasy and science fiction, because it takes so much imagination to conjure up whole worlds and mythologies associated with them. I have trouble enough keeping my own real world plot threads from tangling! I have appreciated being part of the Christian Fantasy tour, and there are several books that have been highlighted through other tour participants that are now on my radar (where I'll find time to actually read them is another matter). Be sure to check out the other participants listed in the preceeding couple of posts. I noticed one more blog I haven't linked to so far:
Sharon Hinck's blog
And we also had Karen Hincock join in with a post (unofficially).

Unless I get any other bright, fantastical ideas, it will be back to normal in the next post. Whatever that means...


  1. Steven Lawhead isn't one I've read so far, so I need to add him to the list. The ever-growing list. ;-).

    I also need to add Sharon Hinck to the blog list-thanks for posting.

    Unseen Worlds blog

  2. I agree. The Endless Knot seemed rather, well, endless in places. Most of the events of the journey in the Desolate Land (or whatever it was called - it's been a while) were unnecessary to the plot and seemed put there to fill pages. A nice reminder, as my own WIP has a long journey, to try to avoid the same problem.

  3. I've enjoyed stopping by!

  4. Thanks, Jason. You've done a great job highlighting Tim's site, fantasy in general, and these particular books. I'd be curious which others are now on your radar screen. I hope you'll be able to make room for them!


  5. I've been reading Lawhead's The Dream Thief, and well, "plodding" is the right word. I think "wooden" and "stereotypical" would work too.

    There are whole chapters where the thing picks up but then it crashes again. I hope his later books are better.

  6. What muppet suggested you read that then, Elliot?

  7. Oh, some British guy... ;-)

  8. Jameson3:15 PM

    A movie needs to be made.
    Louis = James McAvoy
    Simon = Jesse Eisenberg
    Nettles = Ben Kingsley