Lars Walker’s new Viking novel: free

Lars Walker, who frequents this blog, is a notable novelist who is also a  Christian, yea  Lutheran,  a master of  historical fantasy.  His fiction is generally wildly entertaining, while also being thought-provoking and spiritually edifying.  He has a new book out, a sequel to his wonderful Viking saga West Oversea.  The new book is entitled Hailstone Mountain (The Erling Skjalgsson Saga).  And you can get it as an electronic book for Kindle for FREE if you download it today only, April 16!  Get it here.

I haven’t read it yet, but am anxious to do so.  Here is a reader review by Phil Wade:

This is an absolute ripping yarn, as ripping a yarn as you are likely to find, and unlike some TV series, it’s steeped in solid historical detail. Do want a fun sense of how Vikings lived in 1000 A.D.? Read Lars’ Erling novels.

This one is the fourth, but the first two are combined into one book, The Year of the Warrior. Next comes West Oversea. . . . And here, Hailstone Mountain. brings us the courageous, noble Erling Skjalgsson stepping into the battle of his life. [Read more…]

The end of [fill in the blank]

Carlos Lozada writes about the publishing trend of books that announce “the end” of something.  Here are some recent titles:

The End of America
The End of Sex
The End of Men
The End of Money
The End of Lawyers
The End of Work
The End of the Free Market
The End of Nature [Read more…]

Shakespeare the capitalist

One of the many unfortunate legacies of Romanticism (there were some fortunate ones as well) is the mystification of the artist, as if, say, a literary genius were some ethereal sensitive soul far above the crass material realm of everyday life.  Whereas in reality, actual literary geniuses–like Chaucer, Jane Austen, Dickens–tend to be of solid, down-to-earth middle class stock.  That certainly was true of William Shakespeare.  Recent research into the abundant records of his business dealings show him to have been a rather ruthless capitalist. [Read more…]

Jonathan Swift and the Jesus stompers

You have doubtless heard about the college that had students stomp on the name of Jesus as an exercise in a class on cultural understanding.  I noticed the parallel to something that happened in Gulliver’s Travels in which the satirist Jonathan Swift portrays Dutch traders as being willing to trod on a Crucifix as a way to convince the Japanese that they weren’t Christians so that they could trade with that country.  Of course, the Dutch, being Calvinists, considered the Crucifix to be an idol, so stepping on it didn’t bother them.

I wondered how much of that was true and how much was Swift’s lampoon.  The Dutch were the only Europeans the Japanese would trade with.  Whether that was because they would trod on the Crucifix because of their iconoclastic theology, I’m not sure, but Swift, an Anglican priest, lambastes them.  Anyway, I was glad to see that Anthony Sacramone, who has taken up blogging again, makes that same connection and tells us more about the requirement for blasphemy in the context of Christian persecution, now showing up in a college classroom.

(There was only one student who objected, by the way, and he was a Mormon.  Did the Christians in the room just go along with it?  Surely, desecrating the name of Jesus would bother even iconoclasts whose distaste for physical images never extended to the use of language.)  [Read more…]

The woman who anointed the feet of Jesus

Thanks to Frank Sonnek for introducing me to this sonnet about the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50.  It’s by the son of the great Romantic poet Samuel T. Coleridge!  (Just as the great hymnwriter Christopher Wordsworth was the nephew of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth.  Both Romantic poets, who together penned the revolutionary Lyrical Ballads, would become conservative Christians.)   The title of this poem is Latin for “she loved much,” since, as Jesus said, “he is forgiven little, loves little,” and vice versa.  This makes a fine meditation for Holy Week.  (If you know of others, give a link in the comments.)

“Multum Dilexit”
Hartley Coleridge (1796–1849)
SHE sat and wept beside His feet; the weight
Of sin oppress’d her heart; for all the blame,
And the poor malice of the worldly shame,
To her was past, extinct, and out of date:
Only the sin remain’d,—the leprous state; 5
She would be melted by the heat of love,
By fires far fiercer than are blown to prove
And purge the silver are adulterate.
She sat and wept, and with her untress’d hair
Still wip’d the feet she was so bless’d to touch; 10
And He wip’d off the soiling of despair
From her sweet soul, because she lov’d so much.
I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears:
Make me a humble thing of love and tears.

Lars Walker on Christian Fantasy

Friends, you simply must read the essay that friend-of-this-blog Lars Walker has written on Christian fantasy for The Intercollegiate Review (edited by another friend-of-this-blog Anthony Sacramone).  It’s beyond excellent in its account of what fantasy is, what it does, and what’s involved in writing a good one.  It defies summary, so I’ll just give you the beginning after the jump and encourage you to click over to the Intercollegiate Review site to read the rest of it.  (I would just add to his list of good Christian fantasy authors the name of Lars Walker.) [Read more…]