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author Bryan Davis
www.Daviscrossing.com

Purchase Raising Dragons from CBN.co

 
BOOK REVIEW

Can Dragons Make Christian Fantasy Fly?

By Sharon B. Siepel
Guest Reviewer

CBN.comWhat kind of book makes your kid turn down fast food, walk into walls while reading, or forget about playing Playstation for a day? Wouldn't you love it if that book were infused with Biblical principles and great theology? Raising Dragons is that kind of book.

Raising Dragons, a contemporary fantasy, centers around a teen named Billy whose breath suddenly has the capacity to set off fire alarms. Flaming halitosis would mortify any youth. However, the harassing he gets at school is only the beginning of Billy's problems. There is his family's secret dragon past, a friend with an equally disturbing deformity, and the men that are trying to kill them all.

As it turns out, Billy's father is a dragon turned human 1,500 years ago. Merlin, who is portrayed as a Christian prophet, helps to transform a group of good dragons into humans in order to save them from the evil dragon slayers. The dragons must have faith in The Maker alone in order to be transformed. Yet, a millennium later the slayers are still intent on eliminating all dragons and their offspring. In this first book of the series, Billy comes to see that sacrifice and faith are necessary elements of salvation.

Bryan DavisNot since C.S. Lewis has Christian literature produced an author who could weave ancient legends, ancient truths, and modern characters into such a compelling story. Young people won't be able to put this adventure down and adults will delight in the depth of spiritual truths they can draw from this book.

Raising Dragons, by Bryan Davis, is to be released July 26, 2004. It is the first of four books in the Dragon in Our Midst series. The second book, The Candlestone, will be available in September. The quartet is to be an allegorical look at the Biblical story of redemption.

Bryan Davis began dabbling in writing some ten years ago in an attempt to teach his seven children how to write well. While attending classes and writing conferences in order to improve his craft, he received positive feedback from editors. Believing God was asking him to dedicate his life to writing, Mr. Davis quit his job of twenty years as a computer technician to write full-time. Within a year after making this leap of faith Mr. Davis had contracts for two non-fiction books as well as the four books that make up the Dragons in Our Midst series.

Recently I was able to ask Mr. Davis about Raising Dragons and his thoughts regarding Christian fantasy.

Sharon Siepel: What prompted you to write Raising Dragons?

Bryan Davis: I wanted to reach children with the Truth. I asked my own children what type of book to write. My oldest son immediately suggested fantasy. I wasn't a fan of fantasy, because it seemed to me that the characters would develop magical powers to get them out of the situation they were in. I wanted my characters to use the gifts God has given them along with strength of character, faith and perseverance to work through their problems. So my son said to write a fantasy like that.

Siepel: What are some of the spiritual truths you are trying to convey in Raising Dragons?

Davis: This book helps young people understand their ability to gain victory in spite of what they might perceive to be handicaps or weaknesses. It shows them how spiritual truths are to guide us, and that faith in God is the way to conquer evil. It encourages young people to pursue high ideals and trust in God-inspired truth.

Siepel: What is the difference between good fantasy and bad fantasy?

Davis: Good fantasy is a blend of survival and worship, the use of God's gifts to bring glory to him. It is a vision, the mind's dramatic sketch of what we were meant to be. It demonstrates faith, hope, and love--the three abiding gifts--wielded in integrity and nobility, and illustrated in ways that our culture will never forget.

Siepel: When you walk into a Christian bookstore and search for books geared toward young adults, you don't find much of a selection. Do you think there is an audience for this type of book?

Davis: The audience is there. I hear from parents all the time who are searching for great stories that point their kids to God. The reason I wrote this book is because there is not enough out there. A lot of the current books center around a bad kid who learns to be good in the end. I wanted to write stories about good kids, kids that have been raised with decent values, who are challenged. I like stories where the conflict comes from the outside and the characters are forced to draw on their strengths and faith in God to overcome.

Siepel: Still, fantasy might be seen as kind of risky among Christian circles.

Davis: The Christian publishing world has been slow to embrace fantasy. Harry Potter has made fantasy a pariah in some circles, and many are cautious about the effects fantasy can have on impressionable minds. Even if a story creates heroic characters who honor virtue and point to God as their source of strength, a publisher may still balk if it perceives a difficult market. The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings have proven, however, that virtuous fantasy has tremendous potential. These works have been treasured by millions of people all around the world.

Siepel: What do you say to parents who may be wary of introducing their child to the world of fantasy?

Davis: We have an opportunity to create strong soldiers for Christ by using the power of story, even through the pages of the impossible. If parents will allow fantasy its proper place, as an inspiration toward holiness, allowing powerful images to create God-honoring models in children's minds, authors will be moved to create more of those fantastic images. As the market grows, as book-buyers seek heroes displaying faith-empowered integrity and strength, more publishers will have the freedom to take a chance on these works. Working together, we can use this genre to capture hearts and minds with champions of virtue, images that will reach in and ignite the flame, setting free the hero or heroine that God has implanted in the hearts of children.

Siepel: Why dragons?

Davis: Kids are fascinated with dragons. Also, in the Bible Job describes a dragon-like creature. I wanted to write a book with a fantasy element, but one with a strong reality feel. That is also why all supernatural elements in this book are clearly shown to be from God, not magic or witchcraft.

Siepel: You dedicated this book to your oldest son, James. What part did he play in the writing of this book?

Davis: James, now twenty-one, was fourteen when he suggested that I write a fantasy novel for young people. He actually wrote the beginnings of the story. We brainstormed together and I used his input. Without James, this book would not have been written.

Siepel: The main character of the story is a teen named Billy. Who is Billy?

Davis: Billy is a compilation of my three sons. He stems from the strengths I see in my boys. As a father, I desire nothing more than for my children to come to Christ. I wrote Billy as an unbeliever who is seeking. Through him I wanted to show a realistic spiritual journey from a masculine perspective.

Siepel: What are your hopes for Raising Dragons and the rest of the Dragons in Our Midst series?

Davis: My prayer is that young people would see the potential they have in Christ. They would see that God has given us all the ability to do great things for Him.

Will Raising Dragons send the market for Christian fantasy soaring? Given Bryan Davis' mastery of storytelling, it certainly has the potential to give this genre new wings.


Sharon Siepel is a freelance writer from Goshen, OH. You can contact her by e-mailing ssiepel@cinti.net. You may learn more about Bryan Davis by visiting his Website at http://www.daviscrossing.com.

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