Book Review Archives

June 1, 2007

Check Out "The Lamb Among The Stars" Series

I want to give a thorough review of these books at some point in the future, but I cannot put off mentioning them any longer. Chris Walley has definitely become my favorite fiction author with his three two books: The Shadow And Night and The Dark Foundations. The "true fans" of the series know that the first book, The Shadow And Night, was originally two books called The Shadow At Evening and The Power Of The Night. It seems that these two books became popular enough that the publisher gave the go ahead for a complete trilogy, but wrapped these two books into the new The Shadow And Night volume, made the new books hardcover, and marketed the books as... um, I guess "normal" adult fiction (I'm not sure of the technical term for that, but in comparison, the books were originally marketed as juvenile fiction).

I cannot describe the basics of this series better than Chris Walley has done on his own web page:

After an unparalleled spiritual revival (the ‘Great Intervention') the human race survives the 21st century and during a long period of grace, peace and blessing, spreads out among the stars. Then, in the year 13,851 evil returns to the most distant of the inhabited worlds and once more men and women must battle with the sin and wrong.

This story is a science fiction tale (which appeals to my nerdy, rocket scientist engineer nature). Walley has done a marvelous job of telling the story without overwhelming the reader with various sci-fi lingo and gadgetry. In fact, the only "future tech" item I can recall at the moment (it has been several months since I finished reading these books) is the device referred to as a "diary" and it may as well be an iPhone. Rather, an iPhone may as well be the diary that Walley invented for his stories because he came up with it first. (To be fair, Walley's diary does a lot more than the iPhone is likely to do and has much better battery life.) Beyond this device, there are indeed spaceships and fancy computers, but like I said, none of it overwhelms the reader.

On the cover of each of the books is the phrase "A fantasy in the tradition of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien" who are also some of my favorite authors. While it is true that Lewis also wrote a sci-fi series known as The Space Trilogy (which is a good series too), Walley's books bring a little more of the sci-fi element into play. If I may be so bold as to say it, The Lamb Among The Stars series is much more "sci-fi-ish" than Lewis' trilogy, but I mean no disrespect to Lewis' work.

Tolkien's most popular works, The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings tend to get high acclaim because of how deeply and richly they are written (I think The Lord Of The Rings is written at an 8th grade reading level--maybe higher). While I would agree that Tolkien's stories do deserve such adjectives, I think it would be very unfair to say that Walley's books lack depth. I was so drawn into the story that I read the original first book in two days and a friend whom I recommended the books to read the first one almost as fast. Most of the reviews I have read on forums seem to indicate a similar level of enthrallment with the books.

Most refreshing of all, Walley has written a story about Christianity and he is not shy in doing so. Unlike a lot of Christian fiction I have read in the past, Walley's books are not "corny" (don't tell me you don't know what I mean). One of the most remarkable story elements to me was how Walley introduced a society and cast of characters who were born-again Christians that had collectively not had any experience with sin for thousands of years, but suddenly, sin is interjected into their lives. Walley has really done a superb job with this story element.

If you want to get to know more about Chris Walley, read his blog. He is not shy about posting on forums about his books either. Even though these books have achieved a significant measure of success (most evidenced in my opinion by the honor of re-issuing the original books in hardcover), Walley is always humble and thankful to his fans. I think it is great that he's written these books, experienced significant success with them, and yet is not "above" his fans.

I hope to do individual reviews of the books in the future, but if you are looking for a good Christian science fiction story, The Lamb Among The Stars series comes highly recommended. The third and final volume of the series will be available... well, it will be available at some point in the future.

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