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Review: The Written by Ben Galley

On Books In Progress

Ben Galley is a fantasy author and staunch defender of independent publishing. The Written is his first book, and the first in The Emaneska trilogy.

I have to say I was expecting some fairly standard sword and sorcery tale here, a bit of magic, a few fabulous beasts slain, the usual wise grey beards and prophecies. As a first book that would have definitely been the safe option, and would still have been a good read.

Needless to say this isn't what you get. You get a slew of mythical creatures - dragons (I suspect on the Pern novels exceed the sheer number in this book), werewolves and more besides. You get heroes and villains. You get magic. You get sword fights. But all of these are put together in a way that's different from the norm. Rather than trying to subvert all the fantasy tropes it is as if Galley dropped them and they smashed and in putting them back together they aren't quite the same as they were before.

The basic story concerns the theft of a spell book which, in the wrong hands, can be used to summon a mighty and powerful evil. Farden, one of the Written (a sort of magic user that has spells tattooed onto his back) has to try to prevent this happening. I won't give any more details as there are many twists and turns as the story unfolds.

Farden is a powerful mage and a tough fighter and although he is heoric he also has personal demons that could cause his mission to fail. He is a loner with little patience for others. He doubts his own abilities and judgement. As the reader you feel you want to give him a good shaking sometimes to get him to act. This makes him a very complex character, realistic and interesting to follow. The other main characters are also fully realised with their own mannerisms and momentum.

Engage and Win

On Family Minister Wannabe

In the 1997 NBA Finals the Bulls were playing a tough fought game 6 against the Utah Jazz. Wtih 25 seconds to go, the score was tied at 86 and the Bulls had the ball for what everyone thought would be the final shot of the game. Everyone in the world thought that final shot would come from a guy named Michael Jordan (maybe you’ve heard of him). The shot went up and fell in for a 88-86 lead that ended in a 90-86 win and the 5th NBA Championship in 7 years for the Chicago Bulls. But, Michael didn’t take the game winning shot the point guard, Steve Kerr, took it and buried it. Steve Kerr was the hero of one of the best NBA Finals games in history.

This is a great lesson for us as parents! You see, everyone, including the coach, Jordan, and Steve Kerr expected Jordan to take the final shot. Kerr, after passing the ball off to Pippen, could have and maybe should have disengaged. He could have just stood away from Jordan to give him space and time to take the shot. BUT HE DIDN’T! He was fully engaged in the play! He got to a spot where Jordan could pass him the ball if he needed to pass and when Jordan did pass, Kerr took the shot he was presented and nailed it for a win.

We have to be this way as parents in all things with our kids, but especially when it comes to their spiritual lives! We must be ENGAGED! It’s easy to look to the church or the Youth Minister (see what I did there, made myself Michael Jordan in this illustration) and watch or disengage and let others do the work, but that’s not how God designed it! God gave your children to you for you to disciple and that has always been the plan!

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

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