Sadly, since I’m no longer running the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog
Tour, I don’t have quite the awareness that I once had regarding new speculative novels coming out. When I do hear of one from Christian publishers, and think our visitors might be interested, I’m happy to give a sneak peek of the book.
Today’s sneak peek is at award-winning author, Patrick Carr’s new novel, The End Of The Magi. Yes, the title refers to those magi. Clearly the book is a departure from Carr’s previous fantasies (The Staff and the Sword trilogy and the four book The Darkwater Saga) and is a dip into Biblical fiction, while still retaining an element of fantasy.
Kind of a departure from a lot of other books these days, Carr’s Magi does not have pages of endorsements in the beginning. In some ways I like that. I mean, it’s apparent that the author and the publisher have faith in the book, that it can stand on its own merit, that it doesn’t need well-known people to weigh in and tell readers ho good the book is.
Of course, the other side of that coin is that there are no reactions to the book to give you an idea of what to expect. For instance, in a book I recently read, nearly two pages were filled with endorsements, and all of them heaped praise on a character that is not even in the first chapter. So who was this mysterious person and why does this character, not the protagonist, get such accolades? Those endorsements let me know what to expect but also made me a bit curious.
So a danger in a book like Magi is to assume we already know the story. But this is fiction. And I wouldn’t exactly call it Biblical fiction, from the description. I mean there certainly are Biblical events and people from the Bible, but mostly this is speculative story-telling about fictitious characters, set in first century Palestine.
Which is another cool thing a good sneak peek should let you know: there’s a good map! I’m a firm believer in maps, and especially for fantasy. While this story does not take place in a make-believe world, it does include ancient places that may be unfamiliar to modern western readers, so the map is a vital tool to help us navigate from location to location.
Now to the story itself. Here’s the sneak peek of the back cover:
Centuries before the magi arrived in Bethlehem, a prophecy sets a young magus on his path . . .
Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel’s promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.
Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.
With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can’t forget and the promise that the world will never be the same.
Sneak Peek of Reviews
If there are others who would like to know what other readers thought, here are a few excerpts from reviews:
a well woven story, that pulled me in from the beginning and had me thinking about another side of the greatest event in history. Were it just a story, like Patrick’s other books, I would have been pulled in and enjoyed it; but because it was another viewpoint of the birth and life of Christ, it brought it to another level. It was very well written, kept my interest and even kept me up a couple of nights when I just couldn’t force myself to put it down. It captured me and in my personal opinion, it’s Patrick’s best book yet. A great Christmas read or just a great read, I highly recommend it. (Amazon)
The characters were complex, likable people who reacted realistically to events. The story was very suspenseful from start to finish due to the danger to Myrad and the people with him. God’s hand was seen subtly working events (Christianbook)
One more, though there are many. At Amazon, the book has received 4.5 stars and at Christianbook, 4.6.
Patrick Carr’s “The End of the Magi” is the powerful story of prophecy, keeping faith, miracles, fulfillment of prophecy, and, rarely imagined or told, what happens after. Carr’s story reads like a travelogue with added human dimensions of wonder, pain, joy, fear, puzzlement, satisfaction, sweat, and all the other small and great struggles of everyday life. (Amazon)
I haven’t combed through all the reviews (this is, after all just a sneak peek), but hopefully this quick look at the book gives some insight into this newest from the skilled novelist, and into what people who have read it think about the book.
One thing that seems apparent from the title: this is a great read for Christmas.