This month we are featuring The Shadow and Night by Chris Walley, first volume in a deliciously hefty trilogy being published by Tyndale. I own this as two separate paperbacks, as it was originally published, The Shadow at Evening and The Power of the Night, subsequently re-released when Tyndale adjusted their imprints.
This series could best be described as science fantasy, set in a future beyond our earth in a utopian, ideal society where all worship the One True God … but then things start to slowly go wrong. Pastoral settings and space battles, this series has it all—and both my husband and oldest son (aged 15 at the time) loved the first two (original) volumes. That alone gives the series points in my book. I’m ashamed to admit how long it too me to read them yet—they sat on my To Be Read shelf forever, and then I lent them to a friend, whose family also enjoys them.
Some may be put off by the slow beginning and Chris’s slightly archaic (to American ears) writing style, but to me, this just added to the charm of the books. Chris is British—Welsh to be exact, which I find endearing simply because I claim a bit of Welsh descent myself—and his style is truly reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and perhaps George MacDonald. His premise is fascinating, if a bit disconcerting to someone raised with a hardcore Hal-Lindsey-influenced eschatology. Chris does well in portraying a Christian utopia without being insipid, and tracing the moral and spiritual decline with such fine horror that it seems almost a second Fall.
I may not be able to post all 3 days of the tour (I’m on call to do labor support for my massage therapist as she awaits the birth of her first baby, due last Tuesday), so let me add a couple of things here …
A while back, Chris did a month-long interview with Christian Fandom that was a lot of fun. (Keep checking the link … for some reason the interviews haven’t been updated, even though I submitted the finished pages some time ago; my apologies. If I’m able, I’ll post excerpts of the interview here on Tuesday and Wednesday.)
And, in several months of following Chris’s personal blog, I discovered that although I might disagree with him on a few theological and political points, he never fails to make me think more deeply and in the meantime respect his position. (Hey, we all come at things from the slant of our own experience and education.)
In the meantime, please check out the other tour participiants:
Carol Bruce Collett
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Heather R. Hunt
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
John W. Otte
Christopher Hopper says
I love your use of the word “charming” when it comes to describing the obvious uniqueness of Walley’s writing style. That’s fitting! I’m really enjoying this read a lot!
The theology can be disconcerting to a Reformed gal, too…
I found several parts that I found myself arguing about. But then, I sat back and laughed at myself. The fact that I felt like arguing about them meant that Mr. Walley had done his job and gotten me engrossed in the story. Best regards.
Michael A. Heald
Mike Lynch says
Other bloggers seem to agree with your assessment of the book — slow going at first, but then it picks up over time.
Valerie Comer says
Interesting that you met the stories so long ago and that your guys enjoyed them. Mine isn’t showing much sign of leaning over and picking it up. Maybe I should try him again!
I’ll have to check out the interviews at Fandom. Haven’t been by there for quite awhile. Busy life.
Oh, laybor coach! Fun stuff! Good luck!
This is a good encouragement to read the book, Shannon. And now you’ve got me all curious about Mr. Wally’s theo-lology. 😛
E. Stephen Burnett says
I’m ashamed to admit how long it too me to read them yet—they sat on my To Be Read shelf forever, and then I lent them to a friend, whose family also enjoys them.
Shenandoah, did you write that sentence or did I? That’s one of those blog post portions at which I have to make a double-take.
Just the other day I finished The Shadow and the Night, and enjoyed the second half much more so than the first. Perhaps it’s because folks are behaving more badly and fighting their wicked inclinations, which is always interesting. But it may also be because more is going on, and the climax is much more satisfying. Though I thought I wouldn’t be with this book, I was up until 2 am one night while Merral was finally sneaking onto the starship …
‘Tis likely that much sooner, I’ll be getting to Walley’s sequels.
(Now, though, I can’t think of his last name without thinking of a tiny little recycling robot droning in friendly manner, “Wwwaaalllll-eeee …”