A Blog About Christian Fantasy and Christian Historical Fiction

Christian Fantasy and Christian Historical Fiction, A Blog

Today we launch a new blog theme. The subject? Stories. Swords. And Scepters. “Stories” refers to Christian fantasy and historical fiction, my two main writing interests. “Swords and Scepters” refer to my preferred historical setting in medieval times.

What is Christian Fantasy?

Someone asked me recently exactly what is Christian fantasy? So here’s a definition—stories where magic or the supernatural play a role in the plot, theme, or setting; but the power of God must also be on display, often in opposition to magic, which is usually, but not always, wielded by the bad guys. The tale can take place in an imaginary world or in this world, but the rules are always different. Above all it must either lead people to or glorify Christ. (See Robert Treskillard‘s post on this subject: What is Christian Fantasy?)

Should Christian Historical Fiction Contain Fantasy Elements?

Then we have Christian historical fiction. medieval-villageToday most such novels are set in the Regency era, the period from 1795 through 1837, although some occur in the American Civil War, the old west, and in biblical times. We find few in my chosen period. I seem to be paddling against the tide. Yet I like what I like.

Are there, or should there be, elements of fantasy in historical fiction? Only in the sense that we live in a supernatural world where the forces of light battle the forces of darkness. God versus Satan. And when the power of God is on display, we as writers should not hesitate to show it in all its glory, mystery, and power. We should not shrink back from showing miracles or visions, where history says they happened. The rules for our historical world, of course, are based on history, culture, and truth and cannot be changed.

Above all, readers want a compelling story, not dry history. They want to immerse themselves in another world, to escape, if only for a moment, to another time and place. And in the process, perhaps the writer can show the glory and majesty of God and how he sent his Son to redeem a lost and fallen people.


Walking the Line Between Fantasy and History

My books walk the line between fantasy and historical fiction. In The Bonfires of Beltane, my novel set in ancient, Celtic Ireland in AD 432, french-castleI tried to make the culture of the ancient Celts as accurate as possible. I attempted to follow faithfully events in the life of St. Patrick, as much as we know about them. Which isn’t a lot. Patrick did indeed see visions where God warned him of future danger. God led him, first to escape slavery in Ireland, then to go back and preach the gospel. The legends about him are many. Surely some were true. This was a man fired by the Holy Spirit to bring the pagan Irish out of spiritual darkness. We can liken him to the Apostle Paul. And if God works in the world, as he must surely do, then we should expect miracles, signs, and wonders. That’s what happened in the book of Acts. And I believe that’s what we see in the life of Patrick. Thus the book might read like fantasy to some. But that’s only because we do live in a supernatural world where light fights with the dark. And when the soldiers of good meet the forces of evil, and the Holy Spirit steps in to join the battle, God changes the rules and performs miracles.

What’s Next?

So that’s the plan for the blog. What will we see here in the months to come? Book reviews. Snippets of history. Perhaps the life of St. Patrick. Discussions about Christian fantasy and historical fiction. Forays into the cultures of earlier times. Comparisons to our world. And now and again, a Bible verse. It will be less theological than my past posts, more a potpourri of interesting subjects related in some way to the writing of Christian fantasy and historical fiction. I hope you’ll join me. We’ll talk about stories. Especially where swords and scepters are concerned.