Friday, April 1, 2011

Wings of Dawn



I re-read this book by Sigmund Brower  a couple weeks ago as a just-for-fun book. I've found that as nice as it has been to have a book-reading guide to keep me reading quality books, I need a break from the serious reading every now and again! Wings of Dawn was a nice change of pace.

Thomas, a youth who isn't quite a boy anymore but isn't yet a man, is on a quest. Raised in a monestary in mideval Britain, his nurse had given him an education far beyond what even kings and queens of his day recieved. A hard but loving taskmaster, she had taught him secrets of science that were completely unknown to most in his day, had schooled him to fluency in many foreign languages, and had given him access to a vast and secret store of books--in a time when books were rare treasures. Before she died Thomas' nurse had also given him a mission. Use the resources of knowledge she had obtained for him to retake a small country, Magnus, from userpers who had murdered her parents and stolen their throne.

Thomas sets out, armed only with the knowledge she has given him. His companions are reluctant--a grimy pickpocket, a mysterously beautiful girl who is both deaf and mute, and a knight from the land of the sun. Against all odds they are able to reconquer Magnus--and only then does Thomas realize that reconquring the land was only the beginning of his battle--and of his unanswered questions.

Who were Thomas's parents? What is the secret of Magnus? What is the true identity of his childhood nurse? Who is the mysterious old man who has been dogging his steps? What about the old man's beautiful companion? Who can Thomas trust? And what must he do to stop the evil that is spreading from Magnus to encompas all of Britain?

 The story-telling itself I found to be somewhat repetitive. In the same way that a book in a series will repeat facts from previous books to get the reader up-to-speed, Sigmund Brower repeated facts from previous chapters. I think this 400 page book could have been cut a good 15%-20% if these repetitons had been left out. The storyline itself, however, I found sufficently enjoyable to overlook the definciencies in writing.

While this book is considered Christian fiction, it is not overtly Christian. The main characters profess faith in Christ and pray often, particularly in difficult times. Thomas comes to faith in Christ. However, this is not an element of the story that permiates every page of the story. It struck me as if instead of starting with Christ and determining the best way to glorify him in story form, the author started with a story and then determined the best way to add Christ to it. This isn't necessarily bad, but the two methods of writing are quite different.

Overall Wings of Dawn was a fun read. It is nice to have a change of pace, and I enjoy the occasional adventure story.

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