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.


  1. Great thoughts!


  2. The illegal immigration situation is not what the media would have you believe. There is a significant difference between protecting the weak and the defenseless, as was the issue in Darkness Hid, and allowing people to cross the border illegally who by and large are doing so in an effort to retake most of the southwest back under Mexico’s control. The majority have no interest in becoming Americans, they hate “gringos” and cause mayhem and violence in the areas where they are settling.

    My point? Please consider the concerns of those who are against illegal immigration before you accuse us of lacking Christian compassion. We have do have compassion–for the people these criminals are hurting, such as those left waiting in line forever who actually want to become Americans. We should all have open arms to legal immigrants who want to come to this country to actually become Americans.

    The sticky situation is those persons illegally brought to the country as young children who allegedly have assimilated. It certainly doesn’t seem compassionate to make someone go back to a country they don’t remember ever being in and had no choice about leaving, does it? I would support legislation aimed at making it possible for that demographic to become legal citizens. But the issue in general is not as simple as many on both sides make out.


  3. That’s an interesting correlation between the book and our current culture. Yes, we should have compassion for all, but the laws should be obeyed as well, provided they don’t go against the Word of God. Nuff said.

    Thanks, Becky, for all your hard work in organizing these tours. As you said, this month’s book makes it a pleasure to be involved. 🙂


  4. Thanks for the discussion.

    Dona, I agree the laws should be obeyed. I cringe every time an amnesty advocate comes up with our treatment of poor “law abiding” illegal immigrants. There’s even a movement to rename “illegal immigrant” to remove the stigma of the law-breaking aspect of their presence in the US.

    I also cringe when the Mexican President says the people of his country admire the illegals, though he also said they want them to come home.

    That being said, I still think we Christians need to have a better response, one consistent with God’s grace and mercy, than a call for better law enforcement. We should be leading the way in solving the problem, not exacerbating it. We shouldn’t be giving “air time” to lies and innuendos that color all Hispanics with one brush stroke. Undoubtedly there are many and varied reasons for a Mexican to cross the border illegally—as many reasons as their are people, I suspect.

    To say that “they” are trying to take back the Southwest is to assume every illegal alien has a political agenda when in fact some have personal criminal intent, some have personal economic reasons, some have personal family issues, and any number of other motivating factors.

    My question is, How can Christians do better than what the world is advocating, either on the right or on the left, because both those extreme views fall woefully short of a real solution.



  5. Becky, Our pastor last week said what I think is the answer. We Christians need to be known for what we are FOR, not for what we are against. We are for law abiding citizens, to work and vote, and help make this country better. That is not however what a majority of the illegal immigrants are doing. That is the biggest problem. Weeding out the ones we should keep, and the ones who should be sent home.


  6. I think your pastor made a great point, Sis. The truth is, illegal immigrants, by the very act of coming here illegally, are not law abiding, and not citizens. But what does that mean for us as Christians? I think we need to be for law without neglecting compassion.

    Micah 6:8, which I think referenced in one of these posts couples doing justice and loving mercy as both things God wants from His people. Seems like in this immigration debate, even Christians are coming done on the side of one or the other. I don’t think God wants us to be one-sided Christians. 😀



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