The Paradise War by Stephen Lawhead

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Book Information  
AuthorStephen Lawhead
TitleThe Paradise War
SeriesThe Song of Albion
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by 
(Feb 13, 2007)

From reading Byzantium, and the Pendragon Cycle (King Authur & Merlin), I know Lawhead to be a superb history fiction/mythic fantasy writer. He leaves no stone unturned in his quest to bring the myths of human history to life. The Paradise War is no different.

The story starts in a most unexpected way - with two graduate students at Oxford. Lewis, an American, is thankful for every pound of grand and scholarship money he can get to keep himself in his studies, and Simon, who is at Oxford because thatís what rich British boys do before living off their families fortunes. Through an odd course of events, Lewis and Simon find themselves at a gateway during the times inbetween times. Falling through the gateway, they end up in the archetype Celtic mythic world: Albion.

Even Lewis says itís ridiculous: walk through a dumb gateway and end up in Albion? In another universe? Another time and place? Whatever. Lewis spends a few days trying to convince Simon that they donít belong there, that something is very wrong, and they need to try to find a way home, right now. But as the months and years go by, Lewis realizes that Albion isnít all bad, in fact, itís quite nice. As he begins to forget about the ďrealĒ world, Lawheadís readers do to. As this new way of life becomes perfectly natural to Lewis, it all becomes perfectly normal and natural to readers the readers too. This is what I love about Stephen Lawhead. When he tells a story, it becomes real. Lawhead is a talented bard of his own right, and I believe every word he tells me because it adds that much more beauty to my life. And Albion has itís own collection of bards, who sing the lives and legends of their people, and hold the power of kings in their hands. Along with traveling bards and warrior schools, Albion also has itís fill of feuding kings, political intrigue, jealousy, and betrayal Ė many things not unfamiliar to our world, and Lewis and Simon get dragged into all of it. Simon is himself, a spoiled rich boy. But Lewis much choose between something he thinks is his friend, doing the right thing, and leaving the only world heís ever felt at home in.

Lawhead easily brings Celtic legends to life, the powerful Dagda, the beauty of the bardís life and passion, and the filth of those who would seek to destroy it all through the monstrous Coranyid. Through his words, I could have been there. Through his words, I was there.

I did not expect this book to sing to me, but truly, it did. Lawhead may be the most skilled story teller among us right now. The Paradise War is the first book in the Song of Albion trilogy, all which have recently been re-published by WestBow Press. One of the best things about this edition is that itís got a great little afterward by Lawhead, and the transcript of a short interview with him.

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