After the digital information revolution, you’d think the world would have a better handle on living, but reading the news reveals a grim truth. Knowledge can’t save us.
In an era where the very fabric of morality stretches thin, our souls cry out for sanity. Give us truth to light the path, and in a thirsty land, rain from heaven. Help us to escape.
Reading separates us from the cares of a troubled world. It informs our lives and influences our thinking. On deep levels, it changes us. Speculative fiction engages our imaginations and draws us into landscapes of the mind. Here delightful creatures dwell but also monsters, the worst and the best of us.
The best epic fantasy novels take us on a voyage of the heart toward a treasure trove of self-discovery. Although fantastic, these tales brim with the stuff of life. When Samwise Gamgee in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, refuses to abandon Frodo and accompanies him all the way to Mordor, we learn about self-sacrifice. When Frodo becomes ill and Sam proclaims that while he can’t carry the ring, he can carry Frodo, we understand something about love.
DawnSinger, my epic fantasy novel, evokes medieval Europe in the 13th century, a time when chivalry reigned. The story pits Shae, a spirited princess, and Kai, her sworn guardian, against their own desires. At stake is the greater good of Elderland, a divided land in need of a Savior. As the story unfolds, Shae and Kai must choose whether to accept the call to an impossible quest. Failure will cost them everything, but so also will victory. Sometimes, as the book’s tagline declares, victory comes only through surrender.
The idea of honor at all costs speaks to with me, but how would epic fantasy readers respond? I have to admit to being a little nervous about launching a story with honor as its main theme into a world where clarity of mind and self-sacrifice seem in short supply. Interestingly, writing this novel required me to exercise these same characteristics.
Sometimes a story takes hold of an author and demands to be written, no matter what, and that was the case with this book. I thought my novel would find readers, but I wasn’t prepared for overwhelmingly favorable reactions. I can only conclude that the medieval concept of honor resounds within the human spirit still. To illustrate this point, here are some comments from reviewers:
“Ms. Voigt used her story to show, in a way, the foes we face, the heroes we can be, and the adventures we can make of our own lives.”1
“The author’s use of life’s paradoxes is integral to the story. Serving rather than being served, surrendering to Lof Yuel [God] in order to gain victory, and commitment to the journey despite the hard times, to name a few. 2
What does it mean to live life as a quest adventure, to serve rather than be served, to surrender to God? This is what Christians are called to do. Coming to grips with this reality truly changed my life. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in the Tales of Faeraven epic fantasy series, exist because I answered my calling to write novels. I’m just putting the finishing touches on Sojourner, book three in the series and plan to write DawnKing, book four, this year. I won’t say the way is always clear or the path easy, but the journey is always worthwhile.
Honor is not dead. It lives on in you and me. Have you found your own path? I hope so, because the world is in need of the hero that only you can be.