Friday, February 15, 2013

C.S. Lakin’s “The Crystal Scepter”

A frantic mother, facing the planned murder of her new baby by her husband (and the baby’s father), sends the child out to sea in a watertight cask. A fisherman finds the cask entangled in his nets, and believes he’s the replacement for the son who died. When the boy is 15, events force him to leave behind his father and the life he’s known to do battle with evil and – unknown to him – save his kingdom.

For from the beginning of C.S. Lakin’s The Crystal Scepter, we know what the boy, who’s name is Perthin Quay, does not – he is an heir to a kingdom.

For the past two years, C.S. Lakin has been publishing her Gates of Heaven series – and convincing me there’s a lot more to fantasy than I realized. She has created a world that’s familiar – but one that’s also very different than the reality we usually encounter in fiction (or life). These are wonderful stories, but they’re not written chronologically. Instead, Lakin is taking different aspects of this world she’s created and diving deeply into it.

The Crystal Scepter has all of the excitement of its predecessors in the series – dragons, sea serpents, a magic land buried under ice, an evil king and a desperate queen, and a young hero who does not seem to fit the role of hero, physically at least.

Lakin has utilized a number of Biblical and mythical themes. The story of Perthin, for example, includes both elements of the story of Moses and David. She also blends mythical stories as well, like the Gorgon or Medusa (the one who could turn you to stone if you looked at her face directly). A heavenly army merges to help Perthin when he faces what looks like the insurmountable forces arrayed against him.

Underlying the story and its sub-stories are the themes of grace and redemption, of using “the least of these” to accomplish great things, and the hidden royalty in all of us.

The Crystal Scepter is a rollicking good story.


My reviews of the other Gates of Heaven novels:

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