Jeremiah W. Montgomery
Reviewed by: Katharine Olinger
The Dark Faith, by Jeremiah W. Montgomery. (The Dark Harvest Trilogy, Book One.) Published by P&R, 2012. Paperback, 367 pages, list price $14.99. Reviewed by OP member Katharine Olinger.
It seems that every book in the epic fantasy genre includes outlandish names, an unexpected journey, and cloaks. In this respect, Jeremiah Montgomery's The Dark Faith does not disappoint. When we first meet the young monk Morumus, he has just been given the task of translating Holy Writ into Grendannathi, the language of the barbarian lands, and is setting out with his mentor, Abbot Grahem. And, of course, they wear things like cloaks and robes (they are monks, after all). As the story continues, allies are added, villains threaten, and Morumus's mettle and faith in Aesus are tested.
There is a bit of violence in the book. I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but in spite of the full-fledged battle scene in the movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the most carnage you get is a bloody nose on one Pevensie and a bloody lip on another (Edmund, I think). A film production of The Dark Faith could not get away with this. While most of the violence is moderate, there are some gruesome scenes. My favorite was when Urien, the female character of the story, fell into a well of blood. Now that's exciting. Being the teenage girl that I am, I enjoyed (and longed for more) chapters from this character's perspective and felt that the story really could have used more females in general. But I am probably not the target audience.
Still, I was intrigued by the structure of the world that Montgomery fashioned. Ecclesiastical and theological terms are all slightly slanted, such as "Holy Writ" in place of "Holy Bible" and "Aesus" instead of "Jesus." The political system is all twisted up with the equivalent of the church of the Middle Ages.
The best parts of the book focus on the difference between the dark faith (the faith of Urien) and the true faith (the faith of Morumus and his comrades). Urien serves a mute goddess who demands blood and offers nothing in return. Morumus serves Aesus, who offers his own blood for his people and gives life. When Urien hears about Aesus, a deity that actually lives and speaks and gives, her life is changed.
The Dark Faith would make an interesting read for the teenage/young adult epic fantasy fan who is mature enough to handle a few eyeballs being gauged out.
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