Christian fantasy book review: The Stonegate Sword by Harry James Fox
This very enjoyable book is challenging to categorize [as many of the new christian books are these days]. It is definitely Christian. It is a futuristic medieval-style of fantasy which is neither apocalyptic nor dystopian, yet American society has been destroyed in an un-defined disaster. As Mr. Fox says in the Afterword:
The tale of Stonegate takes place a bit more than a century in the future after the collapse of civilization in North America.
Now I could quibble about how far things could have fallen in a mere 100 years or so. That this is theoretically possible is beyond doubt as the Jewish calendar gives us a possible 224 years before it reaches 6000. Now I believe we are much closer than that, but no one knows the day nor the hour. We are just commanded to be ready. This issue is not touched upon in the book. It is simply an enjoyable futuristic medieval fantasy into which I was immersed within a page or two.
This book is a very fun ride
It basically a coming-of-age tale of dire straits and war within a strangely feudal and some what democratic system which remains after the collapse. It centers around the area in the south-central Colorado Rockies where the Christians fled to survive during the collapse. The hero is not a believer and comes from Stonegate, where religion is not mentioned and Christians are for sure hidden and or killed. The enemy of all is the Prophet and his minions. They are evils and have some religious characteristics, but they are mainly into conquering all.
It takes Don, the main character, quite a while to be transformed from a scholar [lore-man] to a warrior. He meets a girl he’s smitten with. She’s kidnapped and he goes to save her. In the midst of that he meets a believer who rubs him the wrong way—though she’s obviously taken with him. Eventually, the tale is primarily a military one, culturally. Once the boys (there are two of them) have arrived in the Haven, the story turns to warfare almost exclusively. There’s not a lot of gory detail and the battle and campaigns are well-done. Much of the suspense comes from how much of the old technology can be made ready for use. There’s not much left of that. There are many twists, and the action is compelling.
Spiritually, it’s definitely Christian
However, it’s well done though definitely not in your face. There are no dramatic conversions and no spiritual power demonstrated, so that makes it mainline, but I have to give it nearly four stars.
If you like good, clean fantasy with a strong military component, this is a good one for you to read. It will work well for early teens on up. They might well have end times questions, though.