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Return of the Guardian-King

by Karen Hancock
Series: The Legends of the Guardian-King #4
461 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jenny

A powerful portrayal of a man losing all, and finding his all in God.

Plot

Torn from his family with his kingdom lost to him, believed dead by all, Abramm takes himself far into the north to wait for his next move and to wait on the Lord, learning, as he does so, a deeper humility and trust than he had ever possessed before.

Meanwhile his wife is pressed to remarry by her royal family, and the old enemies of Esurh are on the move, aided by the rhu’ema and shadowspawn in a bid for absolute power.

Morality

Once again, the morality is excellent. There are instances of believers caving and doing evil, which is an accurate depiction of the struggle between the law of God and the law of man within. Trust, patience, and strength in the Lord are qualities well praised within this book.

Spiritual Content

There is a great deal of spiritual content in this story. As in the other books, men and women press forward in their faith in God, and juxtaposed to that are heresies and pagan beliefs. Included are the demon rhu’ema and shadowspawn, and the new players which are dragons, considered to be the bestial manifestations of the oldest demons of all. One dragon in particular is obviously meant to be construed as the devil himself, but in a refreshing twist the author makes it plain, reminiscent of the biblical account of Job, that without God’s permission this dragon cannot touch a single saved soul.

Violence

One again there are fights on varying scales, death, starvation, and sickness. The most vivid of these are accounts of those shot with arrows poisoned with a powerful shadowspawn: the infected person exhibits irrationality, depression, horrible doubt, and attributes normally ascribed to unbelievers.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is consumed; poison is used to kill people.

Sexual Content

Men and their wives have intercourse, but this is described delicately. One shadowspawn is known for rousing men’s affections, and this can get very awkward for the reader.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Mild oaths are used.

Conclusion

Some people have wished there was more beyond this book, but the author leaves the future open to the characters, giving the readers a glimpse of bright promise at the end so that it ends on a high and biblical note. Like Job, Abramm has everything torn away: his family, his throne, even, in some senses, his life; and he comes to realize that all he needs is what he is left with: his God and his service to his God. Having given all into God’s hands, he finds himself receiving more than he ever lost, which is what makes this story shine as it does with truth. Beautifully vivid, this fantastical tale helps sing out the praises of a biblical truth so little pondered.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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