Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka - Part 3

CSFF Blog Tour: The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka, Day 3

As the tangled threads of story come together in the last part of the tale, I have finally realised what a master storyteller Bryan is. Hints dropped throughout previous pages are now gathered up, questions are answered, and surprises abound – such surprises as make perfect sense, built upon the scraps of history we know already. Nevertheless, the astonishment is great. It is a masterful weaving of carefully laid clues and precisely revealed secrets, creating the build-up to an inevitable climax. The power of prayer is an ever-present awareness as the pastor fights in the Spirit for the life of his faraway daughter, even while parishioners berate him for his apparent lack of action.

This is a strong theme that comes up again and again: God is strongest in weakness, and his wisdom is foolishness to those on the outside. More than once, a decisive victory is attained by giving up, by surrendering to evil – yet it is this apparent powerlessness we see overcoming that very evil. Christ crucified, the beginning and end of every struggle.

The twists in the end of the tale are violent, redemptive, and shocking, yet they are appropriate to the overall drama. Climactic swordfights are entrenched in a spiritual reality that impacts the warriors even during the highest moments of tension. Although the thrusts and parries are quick and sharp, the slow-motion “camera” effect reveals the truth in their hearts in the blink of an eye, in the flicker of a flame, in a sudden recognition of reality.

After victory won, the stunning pace of action gives way to rest and relief – a slight anticlimax follows, though this is quickly balanced out. Hope is seen through tragedy, and Packer gains everything he set out to seek. This is the stuff of golden dreams, of allegory, fantasy and fairytales, and the hero has come to his reward. There are plenty of questions left over afterwards, though – more than enough to furnish the books to follow.

I was interested to note that Bryan studied under Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland – no doubt this has contributed to the depth of his personal spirituality that shines through every page he has written. The government of Nearing Vast, while providing a firm foundation for a fanciful realm, also bears more than a passing resemblance to the somewhat bumbling bureaucracy of European authorities. (I should know – I work for one!)

Summing up: This book is not like anything I’ve ever come across before. It’s an absolutely unique mingling of real biblical Christianity with a fictional, historical-type fantasy world. Take a look. You won’t regret it.

Here are the other participants:
Trish Anderson - Brandon Barr - Wayne Thomas Batson - Jim Black - Justin Boyer - Amy Browning - Jackie Castle - Valerie Comer - Karri Compton - Frank Creed - Lisa Cromwell - CSFF Blog Tour - Gene Curtis - D. G. D. Davidson - Janey DeMeo - Merrie Destefano - Jeff Draper - April Erwin - Linda Gilmore - Beth Goddard - Marcus Goodyear - Russell Griffith - Jill Hart - Katie Hart - Sherrie Hibbs - Christopher Hopper - Jason Joyner - Kait - Karen - Dawn King - Tina Kulesa - Lost Genre Guild - Terri Main - Rachel Marks - Karen McSpadden - Rebecca LuElla Miller - Eve Nielsen - John W. Otte - John Ottinger - Robin Parrish - Lyn Perry - Deena Peterson - Rachelle - Cheryl Russel - Chawna Schroeder - Mirtika Schultz - James Somers - Steve Trower - Speculative Faith - Jason Waguespac - Daniel I. Weaver
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