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Home arrow Books arrow The Shadow Within -- Karen Hancock

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The Shadow Within -- Karen Hancock Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Friday, 11 November 2005
The Shadow Within is the second book in the Legends Of The Guardian King series by Karen Hancock. With her first book in the series (The Light Of Eidon) Karen Hancock set the bar quite high for adult Christian fantasy and with this book she raises it even higher. The story continues a year or so after the first book ends. By this time Abramm Kaladorne has determined it is time for him to take his rightful place as the king of Kiriath. His first task will be to unseat his brother who has taken over the throne through deceit and treachery.
Abramm's appearance surprises many. Not only are they surprised that he is still alive, they are surprised at how he has grown and changed. Through his obvious desire to do the right thing and the strength to back it up he wins the hearts of most of the people of the kingdom. The religious leaders see their empire failing. They see that Abramm's rule means the end of their influence and power so they fight back.
Hancock makes much use of the fact that the "good" guys are actually the "bad" guys while those marked as "evil" are really the righteous ones. This aspect of the story along with the way the religious leaders are portrayed is one of the outstanding attributes of this book. There is a clear correspondence between the religious leaders of today and the Guardians in these books. In particular it points out the very significant difference between those who society identifies as "religious" as opposed to those who are sincerely following the true God. Evangelical Christians like to say that their belief is a "relationship" not a "religion" and this book sharpens that contrast by putting the Terstans against the accepted religious institutions.
While having some things to say about the state of the Christian and religious world today, this book is far from preachy. Hancock has a point to make in the way she characterizes the different groups in her book but she doesn't beat anyone over the head with it. Like all good fiction, it causes one to stop and think and maybe reconsider the way they view the real world.
As I stated above, this book raises the bar of acceptable adult Christian fantasy. I am eagerly waiting for the next in this series.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 July 2006 )

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