Van Til Tool

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

Friday, April 20, 2012


Prophet:  A Gem of Christian Speculative Fiction 


A review of


R. J. Larson Prophet (Bethany House, 2012)

 $14.99   352 pp   ISBN-10:
076420971X   ISBN-13:


Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz 



     The number of Christians writing science fiction and fantasy (and other forms of "speculative" fiction) continues to rise.  The latest addition to these ranks is R, J. Larson, who debuted this month with an other world fantasy Prophet, the first in her Books of the Infinite series.


     Like Keven Newsome's Winter, Larson's Ela is an eighteen year old woman called by God to a prophetic ministry.  Unlike Newsome's story, which is set in contemporary America, Larson's is situated in a context like our ancient world.  As such it can provide some insight into what it was like to be an Old Testament prophet.  In fact, one of the discussion questions at the back of the book asks the reader to compare Ela with the OT prophets. 


     A word needs to be said in praise of the magnificent art work on the front cover of the book.  On Larson's website, are found two more gems, a map of the land in which the story takes place, and a picture of one of its vicious animals, the Scaln.  These should be placed somewhere in the book. 


     Comparing Ela to the Old Testament prophets is not as easy as it might sound.  Contrary to what some people might think, there was considerable diversity among the OT prophets.  Jonah, for instance, was very atypical.  What I shall do here is the same thing I did in my review of Winter, namely conclude that Ela can be compared favorably with the paragon of OT prophecy, Elijah, because of her godliness, her sharp logical mind, and her sense of humor.    


      Her verbal dexterity is also worthy of note.  Consider how she replies to the query posed to her by the Istgardian king (p. 101),


"How do you know it is the Infinite who speaks?


"He tells me everything I don't want to hear, sends me where I don't want to go, and aks me to fulfill tasks I consider impossible."


I love that -- one of the most memorable and significant things in the book!





     The story itself is well developed and the characters are skillfully crafted to provide us with a picture which is in some ways unique and in other respects quite similar to the history depicted in the Old Testament -- although this is another world, it has the same old same old sins and their ruinous consequences which are present in our world, and the same opportunities for new life for those who repent.  And the same kinds of hardships experienced by the OT prophets also befall Ela of Parne.


     One thing which is different is the romance which develops between Ela and the Tracelands Ambassador Kien.  To find out how that develops, one will need to read the sequel, Judge, the second book of the trilogy, which is expected to be published fairly soon.  I plan to read that one also!


This is a must-read book if you want to keep up with the best in Christian  speculative fiction.





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