Day 1 Sunday
Treasure of Spiritual Lessons
Caprice Hokstad is one of the most unique and interesting writers that I've had the pleasure to read. This is in no way putting down other writers, but is my assessment of her work, her dedication, and her insight, both as a writer and as a person. Interestingly enough NOR IRON BARS A CAGE, her second book, and the second one toured here, follows TIME MASTERS, BOOK ONE: THE CALL, by Geralyn Beauchamp. I find this extremely interesting, because these are both, basically, romance in a fantasy setting. It seems, as far as the books are concerned, however, that's where the similarities end. Beauchammp was content to stick to planet earth and travel back and forth through time. Her fantasy input had to do with the introduction of the Muiraran race. Hokstad goes beyond that in her fantasy setting.
As in her first book, THE DUKE'S HANDMAID, she includes a map so we can visualize the places she's talking about. This is a bit Tolkienesque, and I like it. Above the map are the words “The Continent of Raeru on the World of Byntar”. The main focus is on Duke Vahn Rebono of Latoph and his secret wife kee. The world she creates is full, rich and vibrant. Although much like ours it is very much different, as mentioned last Summer when THE DUKE'S HANDMAID was toured here. I would liken it to one of the worlds that Digory never made it to when he and Polly used his Uncle Andrews magic rings to travel to different worlds. Readers of C.S. Lewis' CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, in particular THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW, will recall this account. The rings didn't bring them immediately to another world, but a “world between the worlds”. In that in between world there were pools. When entering one pool you entered a different world. Lewis had these children entering Charn and Narnia (at its birth), but the idea that there are all kinds of other worlds that were never explored gives basis to all fantasy worlds, including Byntar.
After reading the book once, and then going back over it again, I am amazed at the amount of spiritual knowledge that is hidden within the pages of this wonderful book. You really never can say the Duke is Jesus and kee is the Church. Perhaps one way of looking at it s that they are both different aspects of the church working together to give a fuller picture of Jesus. Both are flawed, yet both exhibit qualities that we should as Christians. Take for instance the case of Captain Zinto, right at the beginning of the book. Here is a poor ship's captain who has been commandeered by King Arx, the Duke's brother. Little thought has gone into acquiring the vessel other than to supply transportation for the king. Zinto is furious, but he dare not show it. He has a shipload full of silk and if he takes the king, which he really has little say over, he will be stranded in the north just as the storm season sets in. His silk will be lost, and with it his income. Duke Vahn arrives and is apprised of the situation. He says if he can't persuade the king to another course he will personally by the silk from him. How like Christ this is, to extend mercy and grace even when none is looked for. He even offers the use of his own ship. As writers I wonder how much we realize we are speaking to ourselves as well as to our readers. For surely Caprice Hokstad has extended mercy and grace to all who will but open the pages of this book and bask in its many wonders.
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