A DRAGON, A DREAMER AND THE PROMISE GIVER

Joyce Strong, Author
Joyce Strong, Author . Destiny Image $12.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7684-2182-8
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Using a biblical framework to portray the human condition and the battle for the soul is a familiar device in evangelical Christian fiction, but prose problems keep this novel from reaching its full potential. Strong (Of Dreams and Kings and Mystical Things) shapes her story around the life of Solomon, imagining the historical context and impetus for his possible writing of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. The young king grapples with inner turmoil as the "Promise Giver" and the "Traeh" (Dark Dragon) supernaturally vie for his heart. Although Solomon's legendary father, King David, is portrayed as having an unquenchable passion for God, Solomon finds this passion an elusive mystery. At the end of his life, Solomon has accomplished much, but finds comfort only in the "Promise Giver." Unfortunately, the reader's enjoyment of the story is hampered at every turn by the writing style. Unnecessary subheads and superfluous adjectives, adverbs, and phrases proliferate ("He sighed as he deftly brushed a straying strand of jet-black hair back into place with the palm of his right hand"). The use of the omniscient third-person viewpoint makes it difficult for the reader to engage with the characters. Some of the plot lines feel tired (especially the "king slips away in disguise to mingle with commoners" ruse), and there are historical problems (there was no month called "June" in ancient Israel). However, some evangelical Christian readers will appreciate the author's use of supernatural scenes throughout the story. (Apr.)

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