Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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Eye of the Oracle
by Bryan Davis

Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

"Eye of the Oracle leaps “off the map” in ways Christian Fantasy probably wouldn’t have been able to do ten to fifteen years ago..."

In 2004, Bryan Davis opened up a brand new world of wonder and adventure with the release of his first novel, Raising Dragons. It spawned the Dragons In Our Midst series, which took a unique spin on Arthurian legend and dragons lore. Weaving Biblical truths with fantasy in an entertaining, natural way not seen since C.S. Lewis’s beloved Chronicles of Narnia, Davis created a fantasy world safe for young, Christian minds, but satisfying for all. Rarely preachy, often imaginative, the works functioned as true pieces of fiction, not thinly-coated devotionals for Sunday school class, which so many Christian Young Adult novels often turn out to be.

September 2006 featured the release of Eye of the Oracle, the first novel in Davis’ new series, Oracles of Fire, which is a prequel series to Dragons In Our Midst. The book promised to readers the history of dragons; how they fit into the Biblical creation story, their respective roles in Biblical history, the treachery within some dragons’ hearts that lead them to betray men, and the salvation plan for dragons after their fall.

Eye of the Oracle delivers this and more. Starting at the very focal point of humanity’s history, outside the Garden of Eden, Oracle delivers a resounding, epic tale of dragons and their service to humankind and God. Davis takes some truly creative leaps in his narrative, which spans the course of thousands of years, and he continues to use classic, well-known Arthurian figures: Morgan, the Lady of the Lake, Merlin, Excalibur, even King Arthur himself, giving them a decidedly spiritual, Biblical twist.

However, as with Raising Dragons, Eye of the Oracle leaps “off the map” in ways Christian Fantasy probably wouldn’t have been able to do ten to fifteen years ago. The creation of Morgan’s underground lair, as she plots her revenge against the world of men and dragons, is an astounding work of fantasy that can be placed alongside some of the best moments in the secular fantasy market. Also, Davis naturally weaves high points of Biblical lore into the framework of the story; dragons defending Noah’s Ark from a demonic attack, to the fall of the tower of Babel; classic Biblical characters such as Noah, Shem, Enoch, and many others are featured. Also, we see touches of classical literature: echoes of Dante’s Inferno resonates in his depictions of the Abyss, the seven circles of Hades, and the different layers of the underworld Morgan’s slaves toil in.

One thing making this an even more enjoyable read than Raising Dragons was the complexity of the narrative, plot, and writing. Raising Dragons is a solid fit for the Young Adult market, good for those in fifth through eight grades. Eye of the Oracle is a deeper, more complex novel, and should have a much wider appeal to all ages. At six-hundred and nine pages, this isn’t one of those “kid books” you can knock off in a weekend; it’s a hearty, encompassing tale that enhances the Dragons In Our Midst series with history, giving it a mythology much like the Similarion does for the Lord of the Rings trilogy – but it’s much less ponderous than Tolkien’s unfinished historical work of Middle Earth.

Eye of the Oracle is also the “perfect jumping off point” for new readers – it meshes with the existing DOM storylines flawlessly, but familiarity with DOM is not needed to read this novel. Eye of the Oracle expands the DOM storyline to epic proportions.

Kevin LuciaKevin Lucia Kevin Lucia writes for The Press & Sun Bulletin and The Relief Journal. His short fiction has appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner, The Relief Journal, All Hallows, Darkened Horizons Vol. 3 & 4, NexGen Pulp Magazine Issues 1 & 4, From the Shadows, Morpheus Tales Magazine, Bohemian-Alien, Shroud Publishing’s horror anthology, Abominations, and Tyndale House’s inspirational anthology Life Savors. He’s currently writing a novella for Shroud Publishing’s upcoming novella series, The Hiram Grange Chronicles. He resides in Castle Creek, New York, with his wife Abby, daughter Madison and son Zackary. He teaches high school English at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, New York; and is finishing his Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at Binghamton University. Visit him at his website and Myspace page.