Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Monday, August 29, 2011

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE !! Review of Peter Dudek’s Debut Novel

Let   Your   Light   Shine   !!!


A Review of


Peter J. Dudek Forsaken Kingdom:  City of Prophecy (Alliance, Ohio:  Carnation City Press, 2011) 311pp   ISBN: 978-0-615-23201-0


Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz


     Peter Dudek enjoys reading Tolkien, his model for the writing of his own fantasy stories.  If you liked The Lord of the Rings you will also like City of Prophecy, Dudek's debut novel and the first book of his Forsaken Kingdom series about the world of Arvalast.


     I am a fan of Tolkien and I like Dudek's story but am dissatisfied with the title for its failure to indicate the light-versus-darkness conflict, which constitutes the prominent motif of the story.  This prominence soon becomes apparent to the reader of  the story, and is also indicated by the book's jacket:  the front cover displays a picture of the Illumina and the rear jacket blurb begins with these words in large bold face type -- The days have grown dark


     This blurb -- which is an excellent synopsis of the story, by the way -- tells us that these Illumina are "phials of  holy, pure light that Arvalast citizens carry with them".  The blurb and the story itself both show that darkness encroaches ever more upon the land as the light in the Illuminas grows dimmer as the people's faith in their righteous King grows ever weaker.  The light in a man's Illumina indicates the strength of the spiritual light in his heart and also serves as a potent physical weapon against demonic-like attackers.  If you think a laser is powerful, then you need to learn about what a white-hot Illumina can do, which you will find out when you read the story!


     The light-versus-darkness conflict is especially dramatic in the lives of Woodend Governor Willerdon and his wife and his son and his daughter, who are four of the main characters in the book.  And their spiritual struggles -- both in their hearts and their Illuminas -- are crucial to the unfolding of the story.  And the spiritual conflicts in the other characters are also depicted in terms of the battle of light against darkness.


     The reason the Kingdom has become forsaken is because the darkness has been more and more overpowering the light.  And the prophecy refers to great spiritual warriors who will soon begin arriving on the scene to turn the tide of battle against the darkness and toward a victory for the light. 


     This apocalyptic battle will NOT be won until the citizens proclaim and follow this motto:  LET  YOUR  LIGHT  SHINE!!


     The next book in this series, entitled Harrowing Memories is expected to be published soon.


     Information on Peter Dudek and his novels is found on his website,

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Review of Yvonne Anderson Stars Novel

Feisty  Heroine  Dassa  Enters  SF  Scene


Via  Yvonne  Anderson's  Debut  "Stars"  Novel 





A review of


Yvonne Anderson The Story in the Stars (Beaverton, OR:  Risen Books, 2011)

                            281 pp   $16.99   ISBN-13: 978-1-936835-04-1   ISBN-10: 1936835045


Reviewed by:  Forrest W. Schultz



     Today's literary scene is filled with fesity female characters, some of whom accomplish very heroic feats.  Very few of these women have ever had to deal with the kind of Herculean challenge facing Yvonne Anderson's character Dassa.  Dassa's namesake -- Hadassah (Esther) -- exhibited heroism as she took the steps which resulted in saving her people from destruction.  Dassa confronts a far worse situation:  she is the sole survivor of a plague which has killed every other person on her planet, Gannah.  And to top it off, the other planets regard Gannahians as bloodthirtly villains! As if this were not enough, God then gives Dassa the task of returning to Gannah to repopulate it!!


     As a Christian Yvonne Anderson believes that God can do miracles and still does them today.  But in her story she uses miracles sparingly and never in a deus ex machina manner.  Anderson belongs to the new breed of Christian writers having a strong concern for realism in their stories, which they do not wish to have associated with the kind of christian fiction of the past which has often been (whether rightly or wrongly) regarded as unrealistic.


     I shall not argue with anyone who claims that the concept of all by one person on a planet being annihilated is unrealistic.  I will merely point out that this same concept was found in one of the best SF works of the twentieth century (Ender's Game) authored by one of its best writers (Orson Scott Card). 












    One thing that is incontestable is that Dassa is a very interesting, very well-developed character, whom I would love to meet -- provided that she was not mad at me!  Also well-developed, especially regarding his surprising maturation during the story, is the Karkarian Dr. Pik, the physician employed by the League of Planets, who traveled in a special spaceship to Gannah, arriving just in time to save Dassa, but none of the other Gannahians.  The most succinct description of Anderson's character development -- depth with subtely -- was supplied by Gina Holmes.  Anderson's characters and story also have a very strong verissimilitude:  the reader really gets into the story and becomes ever more engrossed and interested as the tale unfolds.


     I recommend Anderson's debut novel The Story in the Stars to anyone wishing to keep up with the best in new science fiction writing.  The story is book one of the Gateway to Gannah series.  She has recently completed book two, which will probably be published near the end of the year.  She is now working on book 3, which will probably be published next year.  Information about the author and her book is available on these websites: and  For anyone interested in becoming acquainted with the "new breed" of christian writer referred to here, I suggest the Lost Genre Guild, which is where I became learnd of Yvonne Anderson and her book.


     According to the Auhtor's note at the rear of the book, the title refers to the concept that the constellations originally were intended to tell the Biblical creation/fall/salvation drama, which is found in the book Anderson used as her source, Joseph A, Seiss's book The Gospel in the Stars published by Kregel.