For swords and sorcery fans, this book is exciting. This is nearly epic fantasy. But it’s very dark, and all about the battles. It’s a spiritual battle between demons and the people they possess against humans and the followers of El known as the Elsworn for control of a large area of the world. It’s named Na Ciria—hence the Cirian War saga. There are many other gods. The dragons have believers known as the dragonsworn. There are five dragons in five colors: red, blue, green, grey, and gold. The bad guys control three of them: red, green and grey. There are many other lesser gods with no power demonstrated.
Spiritually this book is dangerous!
First the bad guys
The really bad guys are called the Embraced. They’ve volunteered for demonic possession because of the power available. However, they are outside the control of human government. They are unknown until they are seen releasing their power.
Some are red priests out of the dragonsworn [maybe]. Some are military traitors. They are depicted fairly accurately according to the spiritual truths we know as Christians. Their power is a bit over the top. They can produce red fire through their hands and throw red lightning bolts and balls of red fire.
The possessed relationship is two persons living in the same body. The demon spirit is definitely dominant, but the human can set limits—a little bit. When the human dies, the demon is kicked back to the outer darkness.
Second, the good guys
They are called the Attul or the Elsworn. They serve a God named El as mentioned, though once He is referred to as El Shaddai. They do not know this god that they serve. But they trust Him and live to serve Him. They have no scripture. All they have are swords which glow white with spiritual power when they are wielded by a believer. To a non-believer, they are just lifeless swords. To one whose faith wavers, the white power fades in and out.
Some questionable parts
THE DEMONIC: These demons can read thoughts. They can control dreadhounds with their minds: these are ravenous dogs who eat human flesh. In fact, some of the demons are shapeshifters and can assume the role of dreadhound—though they can be known by the glowing red eyes.
The demons can also read the minds of humans around them. Traditional doctrine would say this is not possible. Our enemies can inject thoughts into our minds, but they cannot read our minds.
They get their power by killing people and absorbing the life power out of their heart and blood. This is the basis of much satanic ritual, so it’s not far outside reality.
All of is close enough to reality that it has the impact of truth.
THE BELIEVERS: They are lost—running on blind faith and ancient history. In times past [several centuries ago], the Attul defeated the demonic hordes. But in the world today they are either unknown and unseen; or they are feared as strange. True Attul are very rare in the earth. There is an old sanctuary for the Attul, but few know where it is and they have not been heard from for a long time.
There is no savior, no Messiah, no Holy Spirit—no knowable God with whom to have a personal relationship. These believers are delivered out of nowhere for no reason or they defeat the Embraced with their swordwork. The swords obviously have the power to defeat the Embraced, but there are not enough to do any good. There is no way to recognize a true believer except by his or her sword. Prayer is a desperate afterthought. Planning is all done in the flesh or received from Guardians, who might be Attul, but we’re never told.
There is no spiritual equivalent to the demons. An angelic foe would be bad, because angels don’t work that way. But these poor believers have nothing but blind faith. They are very unrealistic.
These tenseness of the warfare comes as the reader learns that no one can really do anything about the demonic rulership
Humans are kind of a joke, though they can be truly heroic. Almost all are Embraced or deeply and nastily sinful. The Attul are not a real threat.
However, the book ends on a note of hope… A non-believer takes a step of faith and wins the day. But there is no precedent for this in the rest of the book. it is presented as basically a religious victory and nothing spiritual.
As mentioned this is a very dangerous book spiritually
Without a mentor or personal spiritual maturity, this book could easily lead someone astray. There is some hope that the next book with be better spiritually.