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Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer, by E.R. Barr | KFP Articles
Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer, by E.R. Barr PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 November 2012 18:16

 Msgr. Eric Barr has published his first novel Roan, The Tales of Conor Archer.  I will review this book in the near future but at this point have read the free chapters available online at his new site. Apart from Tolkien, I've never been a big fan of fantasy but I have really enjoyed the beginning of this book. The writing is excellent and it kept my interest right away and held it until I had no choice but to go online and order the book.  The web site summarizes the story:

The 'dark ones' of Tinker's Grove are children with strange powers only to lose their gifts in adolescence. Conor Archer comes to town, dying from a fever which changes him into something more than human. He finds kinship with the 'dark ones' and the shadowy beings inhabiting the burial Mound down by the River--they call themselves the Roan, Celtic shapeshifters from across the sea. Caught between a world of science and another of myth, Conor finds his little town the center of a battle for humanity's soul.

What is most enjoyable about some fantasy books is the relationship between the spiritual world and the created world that gets emphasized.  This is where Msgr. Barr's strength lies, in his ability to use the stuff of fantasy stories such as magic, mythical creatures in connection with our current times to bring out the deeply spiritual dimension of our existence.  He explains this on his page discussing Conor's magic:

It's different in Conor's world. His world is our world. We recognize it because, after all, we live in it. But there is magic and wonder here, much more than we realize. How can that be? It's my belief that magic and wonder weren't inventions of human imagination; rather, they existed alongside humanity and every once in a while interacted with the human species. Conor is a boy on the cusp of manhood, like millions of others in the good old USA today. He's Catholic but not overly religious though he is firmly rooted in that faith. He gets caught in a cosmic struggle of good and evil and needs to figure out what's happening. Abbot Malachy helps him understand. In Conor's world, in our world, there are no parallel universes, no multi-verses, there is only us--and something more. The Abbot constantly tells Conor to "look at the mountain behind the mountain" to find out where true reality is...

Gerard Manly Hopkins, did when he wrote, "The world is charged with the grandeur of God," and though the world has tried its best to darken that truth, "for all this, nature is never spent/There lives the dearest freshness deep down things." That's what the Celtic concept of neart is; that and glimpsing the 'bright mountain behind the mountain." And though there is the Dark, the Night, and all things Evil, there are no strange gods to oppose it. There is only the Holy Ghost which "over the bent world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings." Clear and present Goodness, that fights the Dark, the Night, the Evil. And all humans have the choice as to which side to belong.

Go read more about this wonderful book at www.erbarr.com. 

Its available in paperback or ebook.


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