Have you ever started reading a book, enjoyed it, but had to put it down? A few summers ago, I started to read the celebrated “Game of Thrones”, by J. R.R. Martin. I was in Vernon, British Columbia on holiday and managed to read about 250 pages or so before I just set it down. It was an interesting read, the characters came alive, and I was dying to find out more about the plot. But it was just too dark…for a holiday in Vernon anyway. I’m fairly familiar with mediaeval English history, and Martin seemed to use this epoch as a model for his fantasy novel. The story is like a replay of the Wars of the Roses between the rival houses of Lancaster and York; but with one difference. Imagine such a time without any of the moderating influences of the Christian faith, and you have “The Game of Thrones.” It’s a novel about a fallen world with fallen heroes and villains where there is no possibility of redemption. Why? Because the Redeemer is absent. Perhaps in this work, Martin has hinted at our own postmodern, uber-existentialist generation where he proposes that every last deity has died and the landscape reveals an unyielding, unforgiving blackness.
“Eh…objection, Your Honour?” I say, as I tentatively rise up (as John Mortimer would put it) ‘on my hind legs.’ And I thought Aedistamen was dark! Mr. Martin has outdone me in bleakness. You see, I have this naïve penchant for happy endings. I am such a wuss! I have to find the good somehow. “The Voice of Aedistamen” has slavery, betrayal, infant sacrifice, battles where innocents are slaughtered, fallen heroes and villains too. It even boasts a mythical beast that has a taste for human flesh. But it has something more: the Ghaedesh-Mor: the Holy One of the Bladowrete, the God of Aedistamen.
I know, it’s all that God-stuff again. As one lawyer friend said to me, “Why don’t you just grow up, Tony, and accept that there’s nothing.” I guess it’s because I believe that there’s something, or Someone. And I just had to put Him in Aedistamen as the main Character. And what’s with all this butch stuff anyway? We pop out of the womb helpless, squalling and squawking, and we exit stage left, still dependent on our care-givers, with more questions than answers. Yeah, “homo sapiens” is really tough. Right! Anyway, rant over with, I’m determined to finish “Game of Thrones.”
So I suppose it all depends on your worldview. Mine is biblical. And, like most readers, I took a sneak peek to the end of the Instruction Manual. And guess what! There’s a happy ending! So if you pick my book up, please don’t put it down. Unless it’s to go grab the Haagen Daz!
Tony Hilling is a retired pastor, lawyer and writer. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland and now makes his home in Western Canada. “The Voice of Aedistamen” is his first novel. You can reach him at: