CSFF Blog Tour – By Darkness Hid, Day 3


A year ago CSFF Blog Tour maintained the policy not to feature print on demand books. Our administrative team revisited that position, in large part, because of Jill Williamson’s urging. Happily we changed the policy to include any books published by royalty paying houses. As a result, we’re privileged to spotlight By Darkness Hid (Marcher Lord Press, 2009).

I say “privileged” and I mean it. First, as CSFF member and regular participator Phyllis Wheeler pointed out, this wonderful book is batting 1.000, or nearly so, when it comes to positive reviews and recommendations:

“This tour is unusual: everyone who posted loved the book. Last time that happened, it was Stephen Lawhead who was the author.”

I love when this happens. CSFF aims to feature good books so readers can find them and so publishers can see there’s interest in good speculative fiction. We stress the importance of each blogger saying what they want about the books they review. Consequently, it’s usual to get some of us taking issue with writing or subject matter or entertainment value or worldview. Not so, for the most part, this time around.

The fix is not in. Bloggers are quite specific about what they love—from the characters to the Christian content to the fast pace to the intrigue to the unique world.

Simply put, By Darkness Hid is the kind of book that makes it fun to be on the tour.

But there’s more. It’s a privilege to feature By Darkness Hid because Jill Williamson is such a gracious author. Not to mention that she’s also an active CSFF Blog Tour Member.

First she’s been available for a number of excellent interviews. They’re all good, but I might specifically recommend the two part-er John Otte posted here and here. In addition, Jill has done a wonderful job touring our sites and leaving comments. It’s been a delight to see her interact with so many.

And all this was to be set up for what I actually wanted to talk about. I wanted to follow up a little on the power issue I brought up in my last post.

A group of people seeking power for themselves anchored a key choice with the argument that they acted for the good of the country, regardless that they were going against the law. King Axel, they said, was a weak king because he treated the lowly with kindness. In so doing, he nearly destroyed the nation.

In answer, the king’s brother says, “Do not confuse compassion with neglect … My brother was loved by the people.”

The issue was rule of law vs. a strong, stable government, which the Council said could not take place if compassion for peasants and slaves was the guiding principle.

In some ways, this same conflict seems to be behind today’s illegal immigration debate (something we here in California are attuned to). On one hand is the rule of law, but in contrast to By Darkness Hid the opposition is (apparent) compassion for illegal immigrants.

In the novel, rule of law and compassion were on the same side, making the “it’s good for the country” argument suspect. In the illegal immigration argument, two important values seem to be on opposite sides of the fence. But do they have to be?

Honestly, Christians turning a blind eye to compassion for the sake of Law come across as far from the Grace we see in Scripture. What is it that God says He wants? For us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God.

Can we do all three? I don’t see how, apart from God’s strength and guidance. But depending on Him for wisdom to look at this issue in a different way than the world looks at it might be the very thing that sets Christians apart. We love differently, even those who are “Strays,” or at least we ought to.

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