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From Arx Publishing.  [July 24, 2003]





[]  Like a cohort of marauding orcs, the fantasy genre has conquered popular culture.  With the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series, the demand for fantastic adventures shows no sign of abating. Yet, though sprung from Christian roots, fantasy today has largely been co-opted by the postmodern, the neo-pagan, and the anti-Christian.  And for all its flaws, Harry Potter seems mild compared to the blatant occult-inspired offerings which may be found on the same shelf at the local bookstore.

Emily C. A. Snyder is happy to buck that trend. Her new novel, Niamh and the Hermit, is a wonderfully authentic revival of the classic fairy tale complete with all the imaginative complexity of a Tolkien-esque subcreated world.

What's more, Emily is not shy about her Christian influences.

Fantasy is the wonderful marriage of truth and storytelling, she opined in a recent interview. It is the splendor of God's creation, but through a glass darkly. Whereas much postmodern fiction despairs of the glass, fantasy looks to the truth beyond and turns the darkness to a strange and lovely pattern. And indeed, Niamh and the Hermit is a strange and lovely tale of beauty and deception, valor and weakness, hope and fury.

Professor Joseph Pearce of Ave Maria College, author of Tolkien: Man and Myth, commented that Niamh and the Hermit takes us through Celtic mist to a world of mystic wonder: "Imagine Gandalf wandering in the footsteps of St. Patrick. Imagine Middle Earth coloured in forty shades of Green."

In a pre-publication review appearing on Catholic Exchange, Kathryn Lively, author of Little Flowers, called Niamh and the Hermit:


"a rich narrative of various subplots which intertwine to offer the reader a vivid look at author Snyder's gift for world-building. The interworkings of fantasy and faith are seamed nicely into the story. The influences of Eddings, Lewis, and other writers of the genre are evident in Snyder's style, though Niamh is uniquely her own -- an ambitious debut and highly recommended to fans of fanciful tales."


Emily C. A. Snyder is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is a teacher in Marlborough, MA. Her short story, "Better Seen Than Heard," has been published in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress No. 19. Emily is creator of the Christian Guide to Fantasy.


See: Hollywood Christians: Hard-Boiled Films, Soft-Pedaled Message.


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