Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fusion Fire

Late last night, I finished reading the second book of Kathy Tyers' Firebird trilogy, Fusion Fire. It actually kept me up later than I wanted or should have been up. I'm paying for finishing this great book today. A little sleepy.

This book continues the story of Lady Firebird from the first book. She has married the Sentinel who saved her at the battle of Veroh, Brennen Caldwell, and, as we join Firebird, we discover that she's pregnant with twin boys. But Tyers doesn't hesitate to thrust Firebird into danger. It turns out that Firebird and Brennen have been targeted by the Shuhr, the Sentinels' distant cousins who are not guided by the Sentinels' ethics. Think Sith to the Sentinel's Jedi, and you get the basic idea.

But the Shuhr aren't the only thing threatening Firebird's relationship. Firebird discovers she's carrying a horrendous secret, one that could steal all the happiness from her life, especially as Brennen travels to Three Zed, the home base of the Shuhr, to rescue Firebird's estranged sister, Phoena. Then there's the political machinations of occupied Netaia to deal with ... well, just writing about it makes me want to go home and start reading Crown of Fire, the last book of the trilogy. I won't, though, because I don't want another late night tonight.

This is a good continuation of the story and starts to build on the foundations forged in the first book. Since this is the second time I read it, I was surprised at how much I misremembered. I originally thought that the Shuhr were an invention of the second book. Having read Firebird, I realized that Tyers dropped some major hints about their involvement in the storyline. I also had to wrestle with sympathy for a character named Ellet Kinsman. Before I reread Fusion Fire, I thought she wound up badly abused in the story. Now I have little sympathy for her. Read the book; you'll probably see what I'm talking about.

What resonated most strongly for me was Firebird's struggle with the concept of evil. It's not just the big quesiton of "Why does God permit evil?", although Firebird certainly dives into that philosophical tangle. Firebird must also struggle with the more personal question of "Am I evil?" That resonated quite strongly for me. I mean, hey, I'm a pastor, I know what the Bible says about original sin and such, but even I have to admit that I'd rather think that I'm a good guy deep, deep down. Firebird struggles with that idea as well and it helps move the plot along.

Rereading this book also makes me curious. Like I said, the first two books of this trilogy were originally written as secular science fiction. Tyers was able to go back and weave Christian concepts more tightly into the plot and republish them. I've only read the Christian version. After seeing how tightly woven Christian concepts are into this story, it makes me wonder what the original looked like. I'm not sure I'd be able to find an original version, nor am I sure I'd really want to read it. It just has me curious.

Anyway, one more Firebird story to go. At least, one more to go before Kathy finishes her current work-in-progress. Then I guess I'll have to look forward to more sleepless nights.

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