by Stephen R. Lawhead
from the back cover
From the dreaming spires of Oxford, Lewis Gillies drives north to seek a mythical creature in a misty glen in Scotland. Expecting little more than a weekend diversion, Lewis finds himself in a mystical place where two worlds meet, in the time-between-times - and in the heart of a battle between good and evil.
The ancient Celts admitted no separation between this world and the Otherworld: the two were delicately interwoven, each dependent on the other. The Paradise War crosses the thin places between this world and that, as Lewis Gillies comes face-to-face with an ancient mystery - and a cosmic catastrophe in the making.
My friend Candice from over at O, Ye Scribes highly recommended that I read The Song of Albion series a while back, and my husband has been pestering--erm, encouraging--me to pick up anything written by Stephen R. Lawhead ever since he discovered Hood in the local library. So when I found a copy of The Paradise War at an adorable little church-shaped book shop at a renaissance faire a few weeks ago, I snatched it up.
This book is remarkably well written and almost begs to be read aloud, though for all its virtues I didn't feel entirely drawn into the story. I did enjoy the palatable, informal Celtic mythology lesson woven within, and especially liked the eccentric character Dr. Nettleton. Simon, however, is quite insufferable and a tad flat, and caused the first part of the book to seem to drag on a bit; I didn't feel like I had truly started the book until about halfway through.
Although in general the story was not altogether predictable (yay!), a startling twist blinked by in a moment of shock and caught me completely off-guard somewhere in the second half of the book. Just a few lines carried such mind-scrambling significance that I had to pause a moment in my reading to appreciate the cleverness and try vainly to figure out exactly what it meant. Lawhead has a brilliant mind; I will definitely be reading more of his novels.