The Merchant of Alyss

The Merchant of AlyssThe Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke
Series: Legends of the Realm
Genres: Fantasy
Published by Revell on January 1, 2016
Pages: 354

 

About The Merchant of Alyss (from the back cover):
Beneath the hills of a primeval city, a vanquished enemy is gathering power.  As this new threat arises, can Hyam summon his true heritage and overcome the forces of evil? 

When Hyam reluctantly returned to the Long Hall, he never imagined how his life would change.  Latent powers were honed, chance encounters brought new wisdom, and even love found a way into his heart.  With his wife, Joelle, he now makes a home in Falmouth Port.

Hyam is slowly recovering from his battles when a mysterious shipment of Milantian scrolls arrives.  Soon he is haunted by dreams of mythic beasts and coming conflicts.  When Joelle falls under a sorcerer’s spell, he must venture through the desolate lands to save her – and his community.

One particular scroll seems to hold the promise of new powers, but it also carries a hidden warning about an unfathomable threat.  As Hyam sets out on another journey, he is keenly aware that he must rely on all his abilities – and his forbidden past – to succeed.  His quest could bring deliverance…or devastation.”

The Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke (a penname for T. Davis Bunn) is written for fans of fantasy fiction.  I am not one of those fansI chose to read and review this book because my children seem to enjoy the thrill of these epic stories, getting lost in other worlds, and feeling challenged by the hero’s actions.  I thought that if I read some of these books, I would be able to understand their perspective and appreciate their taste for fantasy.

The Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke (a penname for T. Davis Bunn) is written for fans of fantasy fiction

Sadly, just the opposite happened.  I do not understand this story at all, either its actual tale or any supposed meaning behind it.  And I do not at all appreciate the elements of the story – magic in all forms, dragons, demons, and species and worlds, all who possess more knowledge and wisdom than any human.  Rather than draw me into this fantasy world, I was repulsed by it.

I chose to read and review this book because my children seem to enjoy the thrill of these epic stories, getting lost in other worlds, and feeling challenged by the hero’s actions.

Looking at it from a Biblical point of view, there is really nothing redeemable about it.  Never do the characters draw upon God for help or wisdom; in fact, there is no mention or recognition of the existence of God.  The characters only rely on their own abilities and magic.  If any good choice is ever made, it is intimated that the inherent goodness of the characters is responsible, again, to the neglect of God.  Although most of the situations are clearly fictional – battling huge beasts, crossing impossible stretches of desert, and so on – at least one of the issues that the hero faced was very human and real – lust and fornication.  Rather than addressing the issue Biblically, Locke instead chooses to focus on the will power of people.  And truly he never resolves the sin; he only diminishes any impact for good it could have had by portraying its end as a heroic choice.

Never do the characters draw upon God for help or wisdom; in fact, there is no mention or recognition of the existence of God.

Reading this book has frustrated and angered me, but I am glad that I did it.  I will be screening my children’s books much more closely from now on.  While I do not condemn every book in this genre, I will be more careful in making choices for our family.

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