The Juice Bar

My muses, thoughts, ideas, and whatever

Monday, September 22, 2008

A review - The Lamb Among the Stars trilogy, by Chris Walley

I have recently finished The Lamb Among the Stars trilogy by Chris Walley, and I believe this is an excellent work of faith-based science fiction. It stands with such excellent works as C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy and the Fireberd trilogy by Kathy Tyres. The trilogy consists of three books: The Shadow at Evening. Dark Foundations, and The Infinite Day.

This story unfolds ten thousand years in the future. After a massive rebellion against the forces of good in the early 21st century, the evil forces were defeated, and this ushered in a time of peace in which the human race has expanded to distant planets. Technological advances have allowed mankind to create forests, cities, and an atmosphere on what were formerly barren pieces of rock, and these planets are progressively becoming earth-like worlds. Travel throughout these worlds is accomplished by a hyperspace gate system that allows distances of many light-years to be accomplished instantaneously. The newest "made world" is the planet of Farholme, which is fifty light-years away from any other made world and hundreds of light years away from Earth. The thirty million inhabitants of Farholme live quiet peaceful lives in making this planet into a habitable society. A humble forester named Merrill D' Avanos lives a simple life, working on expanding forests throughout the rocky terrain of the further reaches of the planet, with a family and a girlfriend, and a faith in God.

In the first book, The Shadow at Evening, things change when evil begins to manifest itself in subtle ways. Faithful people found to have engaged in small acts of deceit. Soon mysterious creatures are discovered that bring a sense of foreboding. Then the gate between Farholme and the rest of the universe is destroyed, leaving them stranded.

Merrill is forced to team up with a friend of Earth, who is of a race of people called the Sentinels, who are watchers over the universe looking for any possible uprising of evil. When Merrill and his sentinel friend are attacked by an army of mysterious otherworldly creatures, and a spaceship of unknown origin is discovered to have landed on the planet they must create and enlist defense force to fight this uprising of evil. To teach the citizens of Farholme how to fight the kind of evil that they have never experienced before, becomes a challenge, and provides a framework in which theological concepts of sin, vigilance, testing, and perseverance are explored.

In books two and three of the trilogy, this evil force is discovered to be much larger than simply one rogue spaceship. Another collection of worlds discovered, and a dimension of spiritual evil is discovered that threatens the other planets, and even ancient Earth itself.

This is superior science fiction first and foremost, with believable world building. The characters are real human beings with human flaws, yet they possess a moral grounding that gives them the courage to choose what is good. Of course, due to the theological basis of the storytelling, this would be classified as “Christian fiction”, yet this is writing of a quality far superior to the kind of novels that are usually thought of as "Christian fiction". The themes of this series of books raise important moral, theological, and ethical issues: the natural rebellious nature of mankind, the need to divine grace from God, the sacrifices and faith that are needed to defeat evil, the need for courage to make right decisions, the corruption at the heart of man-centered political systems, and the transformation of a humble man into a mighty leader. Merrill D'Avanos, throughout this series of books, learns to embrace a call from God to become the mighty leader of the forces of good. An angelic advisor who leads him to first conquer the sin in his own heart, and then to develop his leadership skills until he becomes the leader of the forces of good advises him.

All in all, this series of books is an excellent, thought-provoking read. It is well worth reading 1500 pages between the three books. But once you enter this world, it is too fascinating to leave.


Blogger Chris said...


Thanks for this which Google Alerts picked up. As the author I am really not going to argue with your kind and thoughtful praise!


Chris Walley

9:10 AM  
Blogger Jim Sanders said...

Thank you for your reply. It's always good when someone notices my blog, especially an author of a book I like!

3:36 PM  

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