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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

To purchase a copy try these links:
Amazon
ChristianBook.com
Barnes & Noble

May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Friday, August 10, 2007

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID

by Caprice Hokstad

Day 7 Saturday



As promise, today I will end our tour of this remarkable book by talking about the subject of loyalty and how it weaves its way through this novel. There are several pairs that I'd like to talk about. Pharn Patkus and Keedrina, Duke Vahn and timna, Duke Vahn and Saerula and Duke Vahn and kee.



Pharn Patkus, a healer and an Elva, tried to save Keedrina's family from wounds inflicted by the fire. He failed, but he did not fail Keedrina. He saw to her personal welfare. She felt a bit awkward around him in his home, since she was only Itzi after all, but she loved the man as a father. You will find Pharn popping up throughout the story. It was his decision to bring her and her case to Prince Vahn Rebono, Duke of Latoph. This was somethig Keedrina wss initially against, but one has to suspect that Pharn Patkus had more on his mind than simply providing a roof over her head.



Duke Vahn and timna, the Duke's optimess, servant over his household, is yet another story. He cherished her for she worked well among his staff and served him without complaining. She accepted her tasks readily, because the Duke had always been so kind. The limitation on this loyalty would seem to be that her days of servitude would end in about a year. At the end of that year we find that her loyalty to him had grown much greater. His loyalty for her had at one time been shaken, but he too finds it has grown greater.



Duke Vahn and his wife Saerula, is an unusual story of loyalty, for it shows a loyalty that is enjoyed only by the Duke and never returned by his wife. It is a story of love that loves when their love is not received. In the end, however, it is Saerula's lack of loyalty, even her betrayal, that breaks this bond of loyalty. It took this much for her to break the Duke's loyalty to her. It is perhaps this contrast that is so integral to the story. For without it we would not know the full extent of Prince Vahn's love and loyalty, nor would we know of the pain he felt when this loyalty was despised.



Duke Vahn and kee, is quite the opposite. While you might wish that the Duke would kill off his wife and run off with the beautiful Itzi slave you don't see anything actions even hinting at this, ever. Nor does kee disrespect her master to suggest even a separation as an option. So great is kee's loyalty and love for the Duke that she is content to fulfill her station as his servant.



Each one of these couples has a Biblical impact to it, although it may not always have been intentional. The healer's care of Keedrina can be seen as both our Lord's compassion towards us, and for the compassion that we are to have for one another. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, that you love one another.” The Duke and timna show us the relationship our Lord has with us. While Jesus is always looking out for our best, we don't always understand it. Face it, when our best includes persecution it is a little difficult to take. So, like timna, our loyalty wavers a bit. When we finally understand our loyalty, like hers, returns in a greater strength than before. The Duke and Saerula teaches us how far Jesus will go, well actually Jesus will go even further, but if still rejected His wrath shall be greater as well. The Duke and kee is the main focal point of the story. “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. 2:3) The Elva and the Itzi were not even supposed to socialize, yet Duke Vahn received her as both friend and servant. She responded by being the best servant that she could. (There's a lesson for all you Christians there). Ultimately ... well, I'll let you find out for yourselves.




THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

Thursday, August 09, 2007

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID

by Caprice Hokstad

Day 6 Friday



THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is an epic tale of good verses evil, and Caprice Hokstad has done a terrific job incorporating all the different ingredients that make such a tale worth telling over and over again. I've introduced you to several of the key characters, although not all of them. There's the healer, friend to both kee and Duke Vahn, Prince Vahn's captain of the guard, and several others. Now I'd like to look at two other aspects of the story; Betrayal and Loyalty. If you're waiting for my write-up about loyalty, come back tomorrow, because today I'm going to talk about betrayal.



Betrayal seems to be a key ingredient to almost any story about good verses evil, regardless of the genre. Somehow, someway, it manages to raise its ugly little head in many stories. THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WAREDROBE, by C.S. Lewis, is one case in point. Edmund, one of the four children in the book, is deceived into betraying his brother and sisters to the White Witch of Narnia. In J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS we see the betrayal of Boromir, son of the Steward of Gondor, the Steward himself, Grima Wormtongue and Saruman the White. Each betrays their own status seeking something that is not theirs to have, and each ends up with what they deserve.



In THE DUKE'S HANDMAID the principal betrayer is Saerula, Duke Vahn's wife. To hold her own husband captive in his own household, making life miserable at his every turn wasn't enough for her. And while the prince thinks that because she is pregnant she should be afforded some slack. Yet, she keeps pushing and pushing. He hopes that in the end, after the child is born, she will learn to love him. The Marquis Terzak is another betrayer, or co-conspirator with Saerula. Because of his relationship with the family much of what he does goes unobserved. Yet in the battle of good and evil, beware, evil will always be made evident.



I don't want to go much into how these people betrayed the Duke or how he responded to them once they were found out, because one of the greatest things about reading a book is discovering these things for yourself. Yet, I want to leave you with this thought, evil will always be brought out into the open. It shall there be shown for the ugly thing it truly is, and made into something of a mockery. Good, true good, that can come from God alone, shines upon each of us. Those who receive this light into ourselves have nothing to fear, for His love wipes away our evil. Yet, those who would mock God, His good, or in any way seek to betray Him, they shall find themselves standing naked before the judgment seat of God. This is the story of the betrayer in THE DUKE'S HANDMAID. Evil shall be made to pay full price for their evil. Yet love covers a multitude of sins, yet that is for tomorrow.





THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID

by Caprice Hokstad

Day 5 Thursday



What would a good analogy be without a Peter and a Judas? Okay, this is an analogy, so the exact correlation between the Biblical characters and the ones in THE DUKE'S HANDMAID are going to be a bit different. Yet, as we enjoy a remarkable piece of fantasy we find ourselves learning about life, about love and about loyalty.



I put the Judas character as the Marquis Terzak. He sees himself as at the very least an equal with Prince Vahn, although his actions betray him. Yet the duke does not jump to the conclusion that he is a major player in a great act of betrayal against him. This comes later. You see, only those close to us can truly inflict such harm, for it is something we feel for them as well as for ourselves. Love, when it is so betray, does not seek revenge right away, but seeks a way to excuse or explain away the wrong. This causes Prince Vahn great pain.



Then there is timna, also very close to the prince, although she is but a slave. Still, she is Elva and as such has status above Itzi. She does not exercise such rights until later when she feels betrayed by kee. Instead of sticking up for kee, timna causes a rift in their friendship. The difference between the Marquis and timna is that timna had a penitent heart. In the end she is there with the prince and with kee. Yet much of her former joy had been stolen from her by her own misguided actions, just like Peter. He said he would never betray Jesus, that if necessary he would even die with Him. Yet, that very night Peter denied his Lord, not once, but three times. Once restored, because he too had a penitent heart, he became a great force within the church, a powerful elder.



In our day to day lives we work closely with people, are surrounded by friends and family, and sometimes we find that one becomes a Judas or a Marquis Terzak. Others become wishy washy and turn on us just when we need them like timna. The thing to remember here is tat they too are loved. It is the love of Prince Vahn that eventually is his downfall, for there are two sides to love. And it is the penitent heart of timna, who like Peter, teaches us that all that is needed to re-establish our fellowship with our Lord is for us to apologize to Him. The word used in the Bible is “repent”. It goes beyond just saying, “I'm sorry”. It includes tears, a broken heart, and a spirit willing to do whatever our Lord commands. If, of all the people I've mentioned so far in this story you could chose to be either the marquis or timna, chose timna. Chose the path of a broken heart, and find renewed fellowship with our Lord.




THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID

by Caprice Hokstad

Day 4 Wednesday



One person of interest is Saerula, Prince Vahn's wife. She is the exact opposite of kee. In fact, she's the exact opposite of anything any sane man would want in a woman. She's not from Latoph, but from a bordering land called Ganluc. (Don't you just love the names Caprice picks for all these things?) Saerula is so full of herself that she really doesn't need a husband to have a partner. There's actually enough of her for several relationships, so long as it's all about her. Being from Ganluc, she holds this over Prince Vahn. She uses every instance she can find to control and manipulate him so that she can get what she wants and rob him of what he wants.



Saerula is actually an important person to our analogy. She's the opposite of Vahn, sort of a devil type. As you read THE DUKE'S HANDMAID it will surprise you how far she will go to make Prince Vahn uncomfortable, yet how far he will go to try and please her. This is where we need to focus our attention. True love looks out for the other person, it doesn't demand its own way. So with Saerula we see the false love matched up against true love. With all Prince Vahn has to put up with he still loves her. He goes to extremes to please her, at his own personal cost. That is true love. Yet Saerula seeks only to please herself, and no one can adequately do that for her. This makes her a terrible person to live with.



Now I'm not saying kee is the Church or Prince Vahn is Jesus or Saerula is Satan. This story doesn't work that way. It's about types, about bringing to light Scriptural teachings. Still, with all those feminists in the past trying to say that God is a woman, it does my heart good to see Satan at least typed as a woman. There are 2 things you should know about Saerula. First, no matter what she receives she is never satisfied. Second, she wouldn't hesitate to harm anyone if she thought it would bring her a couple of seconds of pleasure. Do you have a Saerula in your life? Not a person, but a personality, a bondage that sucks the life out of you? I think we all do. In Romans the apostle Paul says, “Who shall deliver me from this body of death,” speaking here of his sinful nature. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24,25) The point is, our sinful nature is going to rise up and try to take over. It's going to try to please itself, at the expense of our spiritual self. So, which “self” are we going to cater to? Are we going to cater to the newly born Prince Vahn in us, or in the demanding, destructive Saerula in us? Whichever one we feed is the one that will grow stronger, the one that will have mastery over us. So, which one will you feed?





THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

Monday, August 06, 2007

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID

Day 3 Tuesday



The next important character we meet is the Prince Vahn Rebono, Duke of Latoph. We see him as a compassionate man, yet one who is not afraid to hand down justice when it is deserved. He treats, as much as is possible in this society, Elva and Itzi as equals. No one is beyond his compassion unless they place themselves there. As the Duke meets Keedrina we see all of these qualities come into play. Should there be another world, and a kingdom on that world, and you or I were to visit such a kingdom, we would be thankful of the great compassion the Duke has on his subjects.



The Duke is not without his own problems. Keedrina is commanded to keep her hair over her ears. We assume that this is so she might pass as an Elva, which is true. Yet it this becomes even more clear when we find out about Prince Vahn's wife. She's that person that you feel you need you must please, but there is no way to succeed in doing so. For his son's sake, and for a true love he has for his wife, he ends up doing things that are very unnatural to him, things that oppose his very nature. In doing so he begins to doubt himself. Keedrina comes into the middle of this melodrama, promptly falls in love with the Duke, but is satisfied to be only his slave, not his mistress. This is true love. People who claim to have “fallen in love” with someone, but become intimately involved with someone who is married are not truly loving them. Even if they did really love that person, they would prove it by standing off to the side and being thankful for that person's happiness. This thinking we have today that says we must gratify ourselves is wrong, all wrong. It isn't love at all, it's lust, the satanic counterfeit of love.



As the story progresses we see a brilliant, compassionate man torn apart by the selfishness of his wife. In the sidelines kee weeps for her master. She doesn't wish to supplant her mistress, but at thes same time is torn by how her master is being torn apart. This is the model of a true slave, one who is free to walk away and not be a servant of anyone, yet remains.



Again, revealing much more at this point would ruin the story for the reader. Yet, I ask you to look at these two people, master and servant, and ask yourself, “Isn't this what Christianity is all about? Isn't this the kind of servant Jesus wants us to be? Aren't we to feel pain when He is distressed? Often my mind strays back to the last night Jesus spent with His disciples. That night He was in so much pain and conflict, and some had the gall to ask Him if they could sit on His left and right when He became king. One disciple went so far as to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Another denied ever knowing Him. Most scattered and hid. Only one followed close enough to actually view the crucifixion with His mother, and that was John. No wonder Jesus called him, the beloved. Now in Latoph, not all lines run parallel with those in Scripture. Many times it's like mixing different parables together into a new one. Still, the truth is still there, unchanged. Love is a loyalty that knows no limits. We see this in Prince Vahn, and we see this in kee. The question is, we see this loyalty in Jesus, do others see that same loyalty to Him in us? - David




THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID

Day 2 Monday



Even if you haven't read THE DUKE'S HANDMAID, by Caprice Hokstad, you can tell from the title that the two principle characters are going to be the Duke and his Handmaid. (Pretty astute of me, don't you think?) Let's introduce you to the key figure of the book, which would be, the Handmaid.



Before she was a handmaid, Keedrina was a free Itzi woman, with long black hair, well, dark enough brown to pass for black, and blue eyes. We find her meeting an Elva slave in order to, against the wishes of both societies, learn how to read. She seems to be a carefree young woman, enjoying the beauty of her surroundings, and even the bit of deceit it takes to spend time with this Elva slave. Because of her outward appearance, nearly black hair flowing over her shoulders, but more importantly over her ears, and her blue eyes, the slave doesn't realize that she is Itzi. Whether it's her youthful rebellious nature that she enjoys or learning to read, she cannot say. She is becoming attracted to her teacher, and he to her. In Keedrina's mind she has everything an Itzi woman could ever wish for.



Her lessons are cut short as her teacher runs away. It is then she notices a fire where her home should be. Running towards home she finds it and the farmhouse burning. Soon she realizes that she hs lost not only her home, but her family. Feelings of guilt overtake her as she starts to think that if only she stayed home her family would still be alive.



In her distress an Elva friend and healer, comes to her aide. After providing a night of rest and shelter for the young Itzi woman, he takes her to Duke Vahn, with the express purpose of having him look after her. He agrees to allow her to stay there and tries to avenge the murders of her family. It's during this time that Keedrina sees how well the Duke takes care of his slaves, and how they adore him. She begins to feel that this would be the best of all homes. Later she asks if she might be a servant in his house, a free-will slave. Hesitantly he agrees, takes her to a school to train slaves in the proper protocols. As she receives her bonds of slavery she receives the name kee.



And this is where we meet both characters, but most importantly, the handmaid of the story. To go much further would be to give much more away than I would wish. I want you, the reader, to embark on your own journey in Latoph, to feel what the characters feel, to experience the story as it unfolds, as if you yourself are one of the characters. For this is the way it is written, and is the way I believe Caprice Hokstad would want for her readers. - David




THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

Sunday, August 05, 2007

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID
by Caprice Hokstad

Day 1 Sunday



Welcome to Day 1 of THE DUKE'S HANDMAID, by Caprice Hokstad. I think you're going to enjoy yourself. Hokstad has created a world much like ours, yet very much unlike ours. I want to call this high fantasy, but Caprice reminds me that the elements of high fantasy, dragons, magic, etc. are missing from this work. Still, it has a charm to it that reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien. She's created not just a world for us, with 2 suns and 2 moons, but a well-defined social structure. There are those considered, socially, higher by birthright, and those considered lower. They are the Elva and the Itzi respectively. There doesn't seem to be animosity between them, but they accept their social station in life. The Elva have physical characteristics that speak of the sky. Their hair is black, gray or white, the latter two having nothing to do with age. Their eye color is normally blue, sometimes gray. Even their ears point to the sky. They are of superior intellect and so rule over the lower class Itzi. Physically Itzi have characteristics that speak of the earth. Hair color is brown, yellow or red. Their eye color is usually brown, although they may also have hazel, green or even blue eyes. The tops of their ears are rounded, keeping them close to the earth. The Itzi are uneducated and believed to be intellectually inferior to the Elva.



That isn't enough for her. She now divides these two groups into others, slave and free. And as we read on we find there are more than one kind of slave. You run smack into this almost immediately as Keedrina, a free Itzi woman, offers herself to be a free-will slave for Duke Vahn, but I'll let you read about that yourself. The point is, when she does enter into his service as kee—slaves names are never capitalized—there is division between the other slaves, some who are Elva. The reason for this is because the status of a free-will slave is greater than that of a traditional slave, and greater still than those bearing the “P” brand on them. The social structure is so well laid out that it is at once, believable. We can believe that there is a place like that, perhaps even in our own world, where this complex structure might exist. She then creates her characters according to these social structures, and we feel as if we have been whisked away to a distant planet that is so utterly strange in one sense, and yet, so utterly familiar in another. For the people who inhabit this world are people we know. They may not have pointed ears or the coloring of the Elva or Itzi, but they remain people that we know none-the-less.



You aren't going to find God really mentioned anywhere in this book, and certainly not the name of Jesus. This was some cause of concern for Caprice prior to submitting it for a tour. After reading it I have to say it is a wonderful love story that seems to be set in some fairy-tale world. The story itself is what is Christian. The allegories you will see along the way. The compassion of one person for another, or the prejudice of one for another are Biblical themes. You will get the sense that this one person is Christ-like, yet not completely. Later you will find another character who exhibits other Christ-like characteristics.



Remember that this is but the beginning of the story, not an epic complete in itself. And remember also the duality of this world. If you do you won't have problems with the mention of a plural divinity, nor that they are called one thing by the Elva and another by the Itzi. If there is one thing that seems to stumble the Christian reader it is this, but it is also quickly explain. One need only to remember that this is another world and God would be referred to according to the culture the Creator allowed them to construct under His guiding hand. Caprice, there may not be any dragons or magic in this work, but between the complexity of the societies, the awesome adventure you take the reader on, I am still thinking this to be high fantasy, perhaps of the highest because it does not have things that don't exist, but things that do. - David




THE DUKE'S HANDMAID is available at Amazon.com


Don't miss out on checking her site at Welcome to Latoph


And of course her blog as well at Queen of Convolution


Read the first chapter of THE DUKE'S HANDAID at THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – Chapter One

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