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Home arrow Books arrow The Light of Eidon -- Karen Hancock

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The Light of Eidon -- Karen Hancock Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
ImageThe Light Of Eidon is the first book in the Legends of The Guardian-King series by Karen Hancock.  As a fantasy book it does an excellent job of combining all the elements of the fantasy genre (magic, mythical creatures, swords, and heroic quests) into a fresh, new story.   It also presents a deeper and more complex view of humans than many books do. 

The story spans about 2 years of the life of the main character, Abramm, also know as Eldrin.  At the beginning of the story Eldrin is preparing for his initiation into the religious order.  On the eve of his induction he is betrayed and sold into slavery.  His owner plans to train him and use him as a fighter in the gladiator fights.  

At first Eldrin is considered too small and scrawny to be able to survive in the fights.  It is assumed that he will die very quickly.  To everyone's surprise, and his owner's delight, Eldrin shows considerable skill in the arena.  His skill and courage spark a rebellion.  Many of the slaves are from a race that was overrun by the owners in the past.  The slaves begin to see Eldrin as their Deliverer and make plans to have him set them free.  Shortly after Eldrin was sold his twin sister began a quest to find him and bring him back to his homeland.  She is always a step or two behind as he is travelling from city to city for the games.  Eventually she despairs and assumes that he has died.  The book works up to the predictable climax of the slave revolt and revolution but along the way Eldrin is sidelined.  He was the spark to start the change but his life destiny lies along a different path.

I have tried to give an overview of the story without giving much away.  It is much more involved than what I described in a few sentences.  And that's one of the things that makes it such a captivating story.

The story essentially revolves around a good vs. evil and this can sometimes become too simplistic.  Hancock's story shows a much more realistic view of people.  No one in the story is all good or all bad.  Even the strongest and purest of characters has flaws and weaknesses.  Even the notion of what is good or evil is turned upside down at times.  These complexities don't weaken the basic idea of good and evil as much as they show that people aren't so easy to judge.

The book has much of the feel of Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle but without any reference to Arthurian Legend.  I couldn't really pinpoint what was Lawhead-esque but there was still something subtle about the book that had his flavor. 

The world that Hancock has created for this book is full and rich.  Long and elaborate histories provide a backdrop that fills out the story.  And like Tolkien, Hancock doesn't explicitly lay out these histories, instead, they are implied through breif glimpses offered by characters from time to time.

The text on the back cover suggested that this story was an allegory.  If so, then it is a very loose allegory.  Readers familiar with Christian doctrine will recognize many similarities between Eidon's world and historical Christianity.  But I don't think it goes much further than that.  This is certainly not as strong as an allegory as Lewis presented in the Narnia stories (especially The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe).

I found only one little issue with the book.  It lacks any sort of glossary or list of places and characters.  An epic like this has so many different names it becomes hard to keep them all straight.  A bit of a quick reference at the back of the book would help immensely. 

Clearly Hancock has immense talent as a storyteller and writer.  I am very eagerly waiting for the next book in the series to be released.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 July 2005 )

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