I apologize that there will be no devotional/meditation today, as this marks the last day of the CSFF Tour of The Wolf of Tebron by C. S. Lakin (AMG) and I am finally done and ready to review. (And I don’t have the energy for two posts today.)
The Wolf of Tebron introduces us to Jordan, er, Joran, the youngest son of woodcutters (I think) who doesn’t really fit in with his family and is often made fun of. He gets in a jealous rage, believing his wife, Charris, has cheated on him, and sends her away back to her parents. Only she never arrives, whisked away by magic. A loony goose woman spouting prophetic rhymes tells him his bad dreams about Charris have trapped her and only only Joran can release her. After realistic huffing and doubts, he sets out to verify that she really never arrived, frees a wolf from a trap, and learns, yes, his wife did literally disappear. Joran then sets off on a dangerous journey to the castle of the moon (and eventually the sea) to learn what has befallen his wife.
Oh yes, did I mention he’s Dr. Dolittle, er, can talk to animals telepathically?
The Wolf of Tebron is a beautiful, thought provoking tale that starts a bit slow (even for me) but will eventually capture you and draw you in.
If you’re concerned about such tedious things as theology, she does draw on the philosophies of man (as well as usually sound theologians like Chesterton and C.S. Lewis) and the book makes subtle positive references to the atheists’ creation myth, which is commonly mistaken for sound science and hence some Christians mistakenly think they need to embrace the crown jewel of a fundamentally anti-Christian worldview. Scientifically, the theory is untestable, unreproducible, and hence unprovable. It also contradicted by other proven scientific laws, microbiology, and, yes, the Bible.
The Bible tells us nothing died until after Adam and Eve fell at a point in time the genealogies indicate was a bit less than 6000 years ago. Not only this, everything already existed before the fall in a state of complete perfection, a state from which we and creation can only devolve. No literal Adam and Eve means no literal fall, no literal fall means no sin, no sin means no need for the very Savior that Tebron desires to point us toward.
Sorry for the rant. Commercially speaking, Lakin would have been wise to avoid any references at all to the origins of creation and fossil fuels, since her theme does not necessitate raising that issue. So, if that is a hot button issue you care about, within the book, it’s a minor reference and shouldn’t factor heavily into your buying decision unless you avoid all literature that contains any references to this bad science–and good luck with that.
Another point some readers might care about is the author slips in human philosophies and accidentally gives them equal weight with scripture by putting them on the tongue of her Christ figure. Though I will admit it took me a while to pin down precisely what was bugging me. So keep watch and be discerning, engage the material and decide what to accept and what to politely disregard.
A few specific points I was concerned she could be taken wrong on, that I want to correct:
- The bible tells us plainly all creation groans under the curse of the fall, and awaits the redemption. Animals do suffer secondhand, and are more innocent than we are, but before we sign them up for sainthood, we should also consider some creatures are known for devouring their mates or even their own offspring.
- Satan is a specific fallen angel, not a nebulous force. Darkness is used to represent the enemy in scripture in the same vein as light represents Christ. Jesus is a specific personality, too.
- Giving up our fallen sinful nature as we exist now would not mean losing our humanity, rather it means becoming fully human.
Relatedly, on further reflection, someone could possibly take the implications her Christ figure had a sin nature to lose badly wrong. Of course, it is only an analogy and one can even get into trouble with Christ’s parables by over-analyzing them. This may or may not be a fair question, depending on the exact role the Wolf of Tebron plays inside his own story universe, whether he is truly a mere symbol, or intended as a purely speculative alternate incarnation of the Lord, as is the case with Aslan.
I will admit, for my tastes, she imitated a bit too much the storytelling style of traditional fairy/folk tales. Early on especially, this slowed the pace by stopping the forward motion cold to backtrack. The style also regularly distanced me from an otherwise lovable and relateable hero and cheated us out of experiencing his emotions by simply telling us what he was feeling.
Please don’t get the wrong impression. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Tebron is also a beautiful, entertaining story with positive morals on love, anger, despair, and fear, and, other than the above theological issues, presents as decent a symbol for God as anyone but God Himself can be.
Others on the Tour:
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson