I find the characters that are in the background of the Bible fascinating. They kind of step on stage and then off again and yet I know there is more to their life than what we are seeing. How has their time on ‘stage’ so to speak changed them, what were they expecting before?
All these questions open the way for novel expression. We can imagine what it might have been like and fill in the gaps with our imagination, provided we remember that. This is exactly what Mike Bayliss’ first novel, Journey to the East is doing.
Journey to the East is Bayliss’ first book. It is a short novel, I think only available in the electronic form for the moment, following Bing, a member of a party of people following a star in the West.
What I loved about the book is that it was short and fast moving. A long journey could have become a detailed drawn out affair which Bayliss avoids. It has a mix of themes including dealing with death, redemption and forgiveness and, well, fight scenes that could have come out of a Chinese Wuxia film. It’s about 100 pages long, I read it in under an hour total. My son is reading and powering through as well.
On one side the book is not going to win literary awards. Some of the characters have the same depth as a Matthew Riley character, that is you know little about them apart from how they react to what is going on around them, and I found some of the background characters somewhat out of focus, but then resolving this would have slowed the book down. The pace of the book is what makes it fun. And it should be noted that it is fiction. I can see people with ancient history backgrounds reacting to things as “but that wouldn’t happen” or that didn’t exist. It’s fiction, go with it and enjoy the ride, it’s pretty good.
But what is good about this book is that it is a book by a Christian author, who is able to write Christianly without adding in Christian themes and even aspects of the Christian story without it sounding clunky, forced or weird. Christian theology is simply a part of the fabric from which the background is woven. For those of you looking for Christian art expressing itself in culture, here is a great example.
For 99c the electronic version is a steal. Do yourself a favour and download it now!