I’d have provided a link to the full review, except I can’t find it now. When I do, I’ll place it here:
Summa Elvetica takes place in a fantasy world so detailed it might rival Lord of the Rings. Certainly, anyone in love with that trilogy will delight in this book…. Theodore Beale combines philosophy, traditional Christian teaching, demonology, and the paranormal powers of magic in all its forms, to render a story that’s rich with metaphor. The world is a fantasy based on the Roman Empire. The Christians are led by the Sanctiff, similar to the Pope. He has Michealine priests based on the tenets of St. Michael the Archangel – the Defender. Our hero, Marcus Valarius, must journey to the Elvish Kingdom to begin his investigation into the story premise – do elves have souls, and are they created beings of God?
The story is slowed down by the telling of historical tales on the journey to see the Elven High King. It reminded me of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Once there, however, Marcus is rapidly drawn into the controversy. His is a spiritual as well as a physical journey, and his actions and discoveries mirror those many of us have also had in our own quest for a relationship with God.
This book is multi-layered and should be read slowly and carefully to get the fullest experience. I found it rich in its concept, and Beale’s use of humanistic philosophy versus Christian teachings. For those who love their fantasy, as well as Biblical teaching, this book will be a feast.
It’s certainly going rather too far to compare Summa Elvetica to Lord of the Rings, but it is, as Tolkein once described his masterpiece, “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work.” Still, it’s nice to hear that readers are enjoying the novel and even nicer to hear that it has inspired some of them to order the actual book.
And no, this doesn’t mean I’ve converted to Catholicism. But since I have vehemently criticized the way in which most modern fantasy authors insist in cramming modern sensibilities into their characters, it would have been bizarre to utilize a post-medieval Protestant perspective myself. Indeed, I probably went inadvertantly further that way than I’d intended.
Here’s the first SE review, in case you missed it.