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The Valiant Papers

by Calvin Miller
156 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Lily A.

The story of a life, compliments of Guardian Angel progress reports. Contains mature content.

Plot

The author discovers and copies an intriguing document: the official reports of a young man’s guardian angel. The angel, Valiant, chronicles the joys and frustrations of trying to care for his latest assigned human, and guide him closer to our beloved Logos before his time on earth runs out.

Morality

The narrator is quite clear on the difference between right and wrong. However, he also has access to the inside of the main character’s mind — and for much of the book, the main character and most of his associates are unsaved. This means that, clarity of spiritual plumb line aside, there is a lot of immoral behavior portrayed in the book.

Spiritual Content

The premise of the book is inherently spiritual, dealing as it does with an angelic narrator. God is accorded great respect, although His people are sometimes looked on with confusion or frustration, both because of real problems in human behavior and because Valiant has strong opinions on things like musical styles and witnessing tactics.

The terms used are generally not the familiar ones, although they are recognizable contextually. Angels refer to Jesus as Logos (Greek: word, speech, reason), Lucifer as Daystar, Heaven as Upperton, and Earth as Muddyscuttle. The immediate superiors of Guardians seem to be some form of angelic committee.

Ancient polytheistic religion and nihilistic atheism are both referenced in the light of beliefs held by past charges of Guardians.

Violence

Automobile accidents are referenced as significant events in characters' lives, but are not described in any detail. A house burned: the fire killed two people and imperiled the life of a third.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Many people drink socially and get drunk. A man at a company party is looked down on for being a teetotaler. An unmarried couple makes a practice of drinking before getting physical.

Sexual Content

J.B. becomes sexually involved with a young woman, and romantically interested in her, in that order. Their behavior is not described in detail, but the gist of their behavior is clear, and both of their guardians are disturbed. Valiant references multiple instances of J.B. lusting, speaks of how prominent sexual temptation is in our culture, and compares “lust” and “love.” A guardian compares the sexual mores of his present charge and one of his past charges. A girl refuses to “loosen up” when she has been undergoing a spiritual change. An illustration shows a couple sitting next to each other in bed, with their guardians on the headboard behind them. An angel speaks of the messiness of the birthing process.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Characters curse, but the words are not given. The Lord’s name is sometimes used in vain. Valiant uses terms such as “a devil of a time” and the colloquial “infernal,” and apologizes afterwards.

Conclusion

With an epistolary story containing reports by a spiritual entity on a mortal client, comparisons to The Screwtape Letters may be inevitable. Is this the heavenly counterpart to Screwtape’s devilish point of view? Well... I would not say it soars to celestial heights. But it is not a bad book.

It is respectful of our Lord. It shows sin as sin. It can be insightful, or at least, I know several times when it made me do a double-take, stop, and listen. I also appreciated the expressive, hatched black ink illustrations, and the snippets of poetry (beautiful to me, although tastes may vary) with which Valiant signs off each letter.

Mature Christian readers interested by the premise may want to give this book a chance (if they can find it).

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: adult

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