Fantasy literature is suddenly cool, thanks to The Lord of the Rings. And we're not talking about the fluffy stuff, either (in which Benji the Brave raises the Horn of Ippydoo to call forth the god Mork during the Age before People Knew How to Tell Time). No, we want the good stuff. We want cosmic battles between the forces of light and darkness, battles in which all the peace-loving people of the earth must band together or be lost to oblivion. We want interesting characters who face the threat of annihilation bravely"and die well. We want suspense, action, romance, and hard-won happy endings.
If we're honest, we want life itself to be that way. Deep down we suspect that it is. But on the surface, it looks . . . well . . . fluffy. For example, those are not Orcs approaching us in the cafeteria, telling us we're sitting at their table. They're just big guys in jerseys whose grandmothers probably love them dearly and wish they would brush their teeth more often. Those are not Wizards teaching our advanced algebra classes. They're just middle-aged folks in street clothes whose biggest battle with the forces of darkness is trying to get us to memorize the quadratic formula. We ourselves are not Elves, or Dwarves, or even Hobbits (although some of us are still growing into our feet). We're just ordinary people who want life to be more than just homework and dating and going somewhere warm for spring break.
But don't be fooled. Life is more than fluff. Underneath the crust of our existence is a battle between the forces of good and evil, a battle that began at the dawn of time and will continue to the last age of the world...
...As Gandalf said to Pippin, "If you have walked all these days with closed ears and mind asleep, wake up now!"* Frodo is leaving the front door of Bag End. Will you walk with him?
Tyndale House Publishers