The quest has taken Hawk and Skaytha and her three guardians across the world - over the ocean we now call the Atlantic, from shore to shore of the country we now call America, and from what we now call the Pacific coast to China and Mongolia. Yet there are still thousands of miles to travel while being assaulted by some of the most dangerous foes in earth or hell. But the most dangerous is the trackless desert - will Hawk and the four women be able to endure the scorching heat, the sandstorms, the lack of water, and the sand and the rock and the exhaustion or will their bones wind up bleaching in the desert sun for thousands of years, the quest never fulfilled, the human race never set free?
The Guru's Review:
The journey of The Five continues across continents and different lands. As Morah, our narrator states,
Hawk and Skaytha and her three guardians-Canach, Fia, and Africa-had left the Isle of Skyrl on the first of May, in the year of our Lord 517.
They had voyaged with the Danes across what we now call the Atlantic, fled from them at the shores of what we now call America, traveled across that continent in all seasons and over two years, and been carried by angels to what we now call Asia and to the land we now Mongolia.
At this stage of their journey and quest,
Hawk believes the evil that was trying to stop them could take two forms- natural and supernatural. It could come at him and Skaytha in the form of spirits or it could come at them in the form of men and spears.
In this volume, the reader is subjected to a brief history of the Mongols and the various warring tribes that seek to control this land. Here we are introduced to the Rouran tribe where its holy man, Naranbaatar, acts as a spiritual guide to them in the next phase of their journey. He gives Skaytha, the chronicler, a scroll that has marked places in the Persian Empire and their destination is
...a city where a great god died and did not die. This puzzles me....
However, The Five know this as Jerusalem where Christ died and rose again. Now their journey involves crossing a harsh, killing desert and this map will guide them to hidden springs and oases to aid in a successful journey.
Across the lands they are to travel, Narandaatar, instructs them on the two religions they are to encounter, that of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, and it is with this knowledge that they learn more of their own faith and benefits of Christianity. Hawk uses this to instruct the others more of God's nature,
He is a wild lion. He cannot be leashed or caged in by our wishes or demands. Witches cast spells to control the spirits and get what they want. You cannot cast a spell on God and prayer is not a charm or an enchantment that bends him to our will. Prayer is a request from a subject to a king, yes, even from a friend to a king. But it can never be a command. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He rules. He is greater than Attila the Hun who Naranbaatar spoke of, greater than all the rulers Persia has produced, far mightier than the mightiest of them all, Alexander the Great. He is a God. Our God. We have to fulfill his wishes. In doing so, we are free.As they traveled further across the land, circumstances allow Hawk and Skaytha's relationship to grow deeper and they understand each other better including their relationship with God.
Pura introduces an interesting discussion concerning the inclusion of the books in the bible and at the end of this, Pura has Hawk stating the following and for me it is quite memorable and significant and true to this day,
The Bible has to be read on your knees. It's not like other books. It's not like a parchment on treating ill horses that you follow step by step. It's not like a treatise on forging the proper sword. We're coming ace to face with such an incredible being, such an overwhelming entity-a god, our God, the Lord of heaven and earth. So you must find his words the way you'd find gold in the dirt, by digging it out, digging out God's words from among our words. Not everyone is good at this. That's why there are so many disputes, God forgive us, so many shoutings, and railings, and even bloodshed over what people say God said or didn't say.
Pura also develops the warrior side of Skaytha further where she now exhibits her eyes glowing or "as torches or real fire" when required to defend themselves against other bandits or thieves. Hawk helps her understand this gift better as a gift to fight evil,
When the dark angels strike at us again the fire will burst from you and overwhelm them. In a way different than what you have seen me do.
What will that look like?
I have not idea. But we must have a need your fire or the gift wouldn't have been given to you.
Pura then has Hawk explain more of the type of spiritual warfare that they face and this is just as relevant for us and it is for them. Again Pura does a great job of educating the reader in the tenets of spiritual warfare throughout this novella and this is one of the things I love about this series and about Pura's passion as an author.
I have a feeling that the event that happens at the last few pages will be a very nice opening in the next volume: Jerusalem and I can see this volume revving up again in preparation for the finale in volume 6, The Cross.