Friday 28 July 2017

Daniel And The Sun Sword by Nathan Lumbatis

Daniel And The Sun Sword

Thirteen-year-old Daniel is about to be adopted. But when he learns his new family wants him as a slave, he runs away with the help of his new neighbors, the naïve and cowardly Ben, and Raylin, a mysterious girl with a shady past.

He begins to second-guess his decision when the cave they hide in transports them to the ruins of Machu Picchu, where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between ancient gods of Life and Death. To top things off, the God of Life draws Daniel into the fray by adopting him as his son and setting him on a quest to complete a broken, mystical sword, a task that will pit him against the god of the underworld. 

Now, Daniel and his friends have just one weekend to find the shards before a hoard of supernatural enemies catch up. But that’s not all they face. A trap has been set that even Daniel wouldn’t expect, and he just took the bait. 

Will the power of his Heavenly Father be enough to save them?

The Guru's Review: 

The author asked me to review this novel in 2015 when it was about to be released but I was unable to due to a long list of author requested reviews. I have been able to now as he requested a review of the next novel in the series about to be released over the next few weeks. 

Now that I have read this debut novel, I realise what I have missed. This is a wild ride for a debut novel in this genre. Lumbatis writes as one who is a seasoned novelist. It is very hard to distinguish that this is his debut. On all the infrastructure that makes up a novel, a tick can be applied. The pace never slows down, the action never stops, the characters are well developed. Worldbuilding provides a solid foundation upon which everything rests. This is developed well and believable. The supernatural elements are based firmly in Biblical foundations. They are also rooted in the mythology of the geographical location and culture depicted. This is not surprising seeing that Lumbatis is writing from a Christian/Biblical worldview. 

In relation to the supernatural elements, I loved Lumbatis's take on the Gospel message. The same for those of angels and demons and their various forms and names. Using poetic licence that includes artefacts that are supernaturally empowered by God to assist in defeating the power's of darkness, does not detract from the Gospel message or compromise its tenets. To me, this shows Lumbatis's motive to adhere to his faith and belief in the Bible and its doctrines. 

One thing that Lumbatis does well in this novel depicts the correlation between Incan mythology and the Bible. Here is what he had to say in a guest post in 2015 on my blog: 
Speculative Fiction begins by presuming the basics of a Christian worldview and then asking "What if?". One of the central "What if's...." of Daniel and the Sun Sword, and the Sons and Daughters series as a whole, has to do with the origin of worldwide mythologies: What if every culture's myths grew out of man's fallen memory of the one true God and his plan for redemption? Wouldn't there be traces of the thread of redemption in those ancient stories?`
No doubt some believe as much. ....For nerds like me, the real fun starts when you begin to untangle those similarities and consider how the cultures of ancient societies lost the truth.
So, what are we looking for? Let’s set our parameters as the following:
1) An all-powerful Father-God
2) A race of lesser beings; mortal and in peril
3) A god-man who plays some sort of saviour role
4) A god or an immortal filled with evil and postured as an enemy of mankind.
Here (is one) myth that fit the bill, the Incan myths woven into Daniel and the Sun Sword:
Viracocha: The Incan creator-god. After creating the natural world and the cosmos, he turned his mind to mankind. His first attempt at creating people displeased him, as the first versions were brainless giants. So, he wiped them out with a flood, and created a less barbaric race. Then, he took to wandering the world as a kindly beggar, helping those in need, and appearing in times of trouble.
Mankind: Men were created when Viracocha breathed life into stones. They were seen as his children, and he loved them as a father.
Inti: The god of the sun and the son of Viracocha. After being sent to earth by his father, he and his sister-wife, Mama Killa, taught mankind the basics of life and founded the great city of Cuzco.
Supai: The Incan god of the dead, king of the demons, and the ruler of the underworld. He was such a nasty fellow, in fact, that the Incans would sacrifice their children to appease him.
It seems that this foundation has enabled Lumbatis to create such an enjoyable read with a strong spiritual message. It very evident that Lumbatis has achieved what he set out to do, not just in the above speculative elements, but in exploring the themes of adoption, laying down one's life for others and what it really means to be free. All this from the instruction and counsel of Inti and The Father (God). And both these accounts are not just a glossing over but some good spiritual insight and truth. The account of The Father encouraging Daniel to submit to Him and give Him his anger is very powerful. It is how I imagined God dealing with issues like this in one's life if He was to directly talk to us as described here. Having Daniel give his anger over to The Father after hearing that His Son (Jesus) dealt with it (as in the Cross) is almost as if Daniel had his conversion to being born again. But there is no acknowledging Jesus as Lord, no admitting his sin and need for Jesus as Saviour.

I do feel that Lumbatis could have taken him and Ben, to this final step of accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour. This could have been after they heard the Gospel message from Inti. After his explanation of this message and the background to their mission, all the foundations were laid down here for the next step which is to enter into a spiritual relationship with Jesus. If not at that point, it could have been later or even at the completion of their mission or in the final battle scenes as described in the previous paragraph. The Father (God) had direct communication with Daniel throughout this novel once the Sun Sword was in his possession. I wonder how much convincing Lumbatis needed to include in this character or even Ben for them to be convinced of their need for Him? I am hoping that this is established in the next novel.

Looking at what Lumbatis does for a living, a child and adolescent therapist working with adoptees, foster kids, and children from broken homes, you can see where these themes come from and why he has included them in this novel. This is why this novel is directed at the adolescent/young adult audience. I admire this in an author. To write what you know is always a firm foundation to build on. It also reinforces the theme of his website, Exploring Faith Through Fantasy. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward now to reviewing the sequel, Daniel And The Triune Quest. Lumbatis has become an author for me to follow and support.

Highly Recommended. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 4/5

Enemy Spiritual Level 4/5 

Overall Rating 4.6/5 Stars

To read an excerpt or buy this novel, click on the BUY/PREVIEW  icons below:

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