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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Angels Featured in J C Lamont's Creative Re-Telling of the Biblical Epic

Angels Featured In

J C Lamont's Creative Re-Telling of The Biblical Epic

A review of

J C Lamont Prophecy of the Heir: Book One of Chronicles of Time Trilogy (Crimson Moon Press, 2012)

620 pp $18.99 ISBN: 978-0-615-62320-7

Reviewer: Forrest Schultz

J. C. Lamont's Biblical fantasy epic is like some of the other retellings of "the old, old story" in making its characters and events come alive for the reader, but it is unlike most of them in that its point of view is that of the angelic beings behind the scenes. Since the Bible says so little about the particular events transpiring in this super-natural realm, writing a story which focusses on it is a great challenge requiring a lot of imagination. The author emphasizes the book's Heavenocentric focus by having the angels refer to Heaven as natural, and to the Earth and universe as sub-natural. That is quite striking, something I had never heard of before, and, I believe, is to be expected -- a good insight into the angelic point of view!

However, her depiction of angels -- both the good (unfallen) ones and the bad (fallen) ones -- as little different from immature, macho-posturing, status conscious men is bound to raise serious objections. When she portrays Satan and the other fallen angels in this way, I believe she has a great insight into their character -- it has the ring of truth. This, indeed is what we would expect of disgusting beings such as the Devil and Chemosh and Marduk. But to portray good angels such as Gabriel and Michael as bickering teenage boys does not sound right! But, since we know so little about angels, we cannot be dogmatic, and there have been those who have found fault, rightly I believe, with some of the traditional portayals of angels. And there is some humor in her portrayal of this rivalry that, I guess, is acceptable, but I believe her concept of the nature of the good angels is seriously flawed. This is not to be unexpected. It is not too difficult to portray what is equal to or less than us. It is very difficult to accurately portray what is superior to us. For this reason, I am also not always satisfied with how she portrays God and Christ either -- often it does not have the ring of truth but then often it does! I do not want to too critical because, frankly, I really do not know a whole lot about angels and God and Christ either! I believe her intention is good: she wants to give us a realistic portrayal, something often sadly lacking in traditional portrayals. But then she defeats her own purpose by a different kind of unrealistic portrayal -- angels are angels; they are not men!


There are also challenges to some of our other normal ways of thinking. For instance, in her story the six days of work followed by a seventh day of rest is not just for humans, but is also followed by angels in Heaven ! They call it the Seventh Day Ceremony. Do angels really need to rest?? Another one is how she depicts the soul as something that can be removed by angels reaching in and pulling it out, which is similar to the personification of Death in Piers Anthony's On A Pale Horse who at the designated time of death reaches in and pulls out the soul and places it into his soul bag! As fantasy, I have no problem with that, as long as it is not regarded as being the Biblical anthropology & psychology!

Now, some Christians are uncomfortable with the usage of any mythic and fantasy elements in telling the Biblical story. I understand this because when I was a young man the main theological enemies we had to fight were those like Bultmann who labelled the Bible as "myth" in the pejorative sense meaning that the Bible stories did not happen but were made up. Apparently Lamont shares a concern for this because she prefaces her story with this quotation from J. R. R. Tolkien: "The story of Christ is simply a true myth; a myth that really happened." Redemption was accomplished by what Christ did here in history climaxing in His death and resurrection. This is why God was determined to see to it that it happened and why Satan tried to prevent it from happening. This is the theme of the first book in Lamont's Chronicles of Time Trilogy, Prophecy of The Heir: Satan tries to wipe out the lineage of Christ to prevent Him from being born, and God continually thwarts Satan's efforts to do so. Now this theme only makes sense if historical events matter. This first book in the trilogy concludes with the birth of Jesus. Satan is defeated in this first round because God successfully has caused the birth of His Messiah. But, the Devil does not stop fighting against God. These future battles are dealt with in Lamont's second and third books. I look forward to reading them.

Although this book does, I believe, have the flaws indicated, I believe that on the whole it is worth reading and that the author is a good writer who knows how to spin a good tale, and to convey some helpful information and insights in doing so. In the rear of the book is a section in which she gives sources for some of the ideas she uses in the story. This is not surprising because she is a scholar as well as a storywriter.

Information is availble on these websites; and



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