Monday, February 25, 2008

Goodbye, Righteous Rocker Larry Norman. "They thought he was an outlaw"

April 8. 1947-February 24, 2008

At the age of 6o, Larry Norman, the pioneer of Contemporary Christian Music, has left this world behind. You may know some of his songs: "I Wish We'd all Been Ready," "The Outlaw," "Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music," and "Sweet Song of Salvation."

This comes directly from his official website, written by his brother Charles.

Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday morning. Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on how to continue his ministry and art.

Several of his friends got to come and visit with him in the last couple of weeks and were a great source of help and friendship to Larry. Ray Sievers, Derek Robertson, Mike Makinster, Tim and Christine Gilman, Matt and Becky Simmons, Kerry Hopkins, Allen Fleming and a few more. Thank you guys. Larry appreciated your visits very much. And he greatly appreciated the thoughts, wishes, support and prayers that came from all of you Solid Rock friends on a daily basis. Thank you for being part of his small circle of friends over the years. Yesterday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming typed these words into Larry's computer:

I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.



Thank you to all of you who were so nice to my brother over the years. Kristin and I will post funeral information in the next day or two. Right now we're not able to function very well, but the whole family is here... our mother Margaret, our sisters Nancy and Kristy, Mike Norman and his new wife Tiffany, and Silver.

We miss him beyond words. Thank you for everything.

Peace to you all in Christ,

Charles Norman

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents Day quotes from Every President

I found this list of quotes at Each and every President of the United States has acknowledged God, as these quotes demonstrate. If you don't have time to read them all now, I encourage you to copy them to your documents somewhere. In God We Trust? One Nation Under God?

Our Presidents Acknowledge God
(From Bill Federer's American Minute)

George Washington, 1st, "that Almighty Being who rules over the universe..."

John Adams, 2nd, "that Being, who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice..."

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd, "that Being, in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old..."

James Madison, 4th, "that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations..."

James Monroe, 5th, "with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God..."

John Quincy Adams, 6th, "knowing that 'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain'..."

Andrew Jackson, 7th, "my fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before whom I now stand..."

Martin Van Buren, 8th, "that Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit..."

William Henry Harrison, 9th, "the Beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men..."

John Tyler, 10th, "the all-wise and all-powerful Being who made me..."

James Polk, 11th, "in their worship of the Almighty according to the dictates of their own conscience..."

Zachary Taylor, 12th, "to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country.."

Millard Fillmore, 13th, "it has pleased Almighty God to remove from this life Zachary Taylor..."

Franklin Pierce, 14th, "humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence..."

James Buchanan, 15th, "In entering upon this great office I must humbly invoke the God of our fathers..."

Abraham Lincoln, 16th, "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid..."

Andrew Johnson, 17th, "grief on earth which can only be assuaged by communion with the Father in heaven..."

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th, "I do believe that our Great Maker is preparing the world, in His own good time..."

Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th, "guidance of that Divine Hand by which the destinies of nations and individuals are shaped..."

James Garfield, 20th, "their fathers' God that the Union was preserved, that slavery was overthrown..."

Chester Arthur, 21st, "I assume the trust imposed by the Constitution, relying for aid on Divine Guidance..."

Grover Cleveland, 22nd, "the power and goodness of Almighty God who presides over the destiny of nations..."

Benjamin Harrison, 23rd, "invoke and confidently extend the favor and help of Almighty God - that He will give me wisdom..."

Grover Cleveland, 24th, "I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have..."

William McKinley, 25th, "Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers..."

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th, "with gratitude to the Giver of Good who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us..."

Howard Taft, 27th, "support of my fellow-citizens and the aid of the Almighty God in the discharge of my responsible duties..."

Woodrow Wilson, 28th, "I pray God I may be given the wisdom and the prudence to do my duty..."

Warren G. Harding, 29th, "that passage of Holy Writ wherein it is asked: What doth the Lord require of thee..."

Calvin Coolidge, 30th, "[America] cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God..."

Herbert Hoover, 31st, "I beg your tolerance, your aid, and your cooperation. I ask the help of Almighty God..."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd, "In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God..."

Harry S. Truman, 33rd, "all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God..."

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th, "I ask that you bow your heads. Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment..."

John F. Kennedy, 35th, "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God..."

Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th, "the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored..."

Richard M. Nixon, 37th, "as all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man..."

Gerald Ford, 38th, "to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right..."

Jimmy Carter, 39th, "what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God..."

Ronald Reagan, 40th, "one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart..."

George Bush, 41st, "Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love..."

Bill Clinton, 42nd, "with God's help, we must answer the call..."

George W. Bush, 43rd, "this story's Author, Who fills time and eternity with His purpose..."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Listen to a Symphony of Secrets

Symphony of Secrets by Sharon Hinck
There are three consuming passions in Amy Johnson’s life: motherhood, music, and mystery. So consuming that she won’t let herself think about anything else, including romance. It seems that the one great romance of her life, with her daughter’s father back in her Julliard days, left her seriously wounded. Since that time when she had to forgo a possibly great musical career in order to be a single parent, Amy has channeled that irritating total focus of musicians to raising her daughter, Clara, and making a living as a music teacher.

As they novel begins, Clara has grown to be a sophomore in high school, and Amy panics at the signs of Clara’s growing independence. It has always been “you and me against the world,” but Clara is finding more and more connection to the rest of the world, leaving poor mom behind. And, gasp! That includes cheerleading! How could this musically talented child find any interest in such a thing? Amy is flabbergasted, but does her best to be supportive and feign an interest for Clara’s sake. Meanwhile, an unexpected opportunity arises for Amy, a chance to audition for the symphony orchestra. She can’t imagine that her luck could change, but it does. She actually gets the spot. Soon after she begins rehearsals, however, little snippets of conversations and odd events ignite the sleuth in her, to a point that her investigating might cost her this job. Is there really something sinister going on or a series of coincidences? And why is there such enmity between the conductor and the concertmaster?

In another thread, her good friend from Julliard days and duet buddy, Lena, is changing, much to Amy’s alarm. It seems Lena has found religion, and she is asking Amy to come to church with her. Worse yet, for Amy, who has no use for God, Clara keeps going back after the first visit. It is all just too much change for Amy. Her secure little, isolated world is coming apart. Now she has to deal with cheerleaders’ moms, Clara going on dates, God, flirts at the orchestra, a mysterious set of events at the performances, and the specter of her past.

This is basically a story about relationships. While there is some romance, it is secondary to the mother-daughter relationship, the gods/God relationships, and relationships in general. There is a mystery to be solved, but it is actually in the background. Sprinkled throughout are some suspenseful moments, quite a few uncomfortable and thought-provoking occasions, and many funny ones. The path leading to God isn’t forced or preachy, but it comes about as a part of a life-witness. The love of literature has a part in this path as Amy has established a tradition of bedtime reading with Clara. They take turns choosing the books After Clara started attending the youth group meetings, she brought home C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. In spite of herself, Amy found passages digging deep into her soul, excellent passages that are quoted for the readers. I love this device, even if it is quite overt.

Another device I like is the method of chapter headings that keep the musical theme. Each chapter begins with a musical term--like glissando, fugue, impetuoso—followed by a definition that will pertain to the events of that chapter. Musical allusions are rampant, with similes and vocabulary galore, enough that I think it would help for the reader to be familiar with such terminology in order to get the full benefit of the novel. However, There is more than enough to enjoy without such knowledge.

At times the pace is a bit slow, but that is probably in keeping with the need to develop the characters and the past. It is all from Amy’s point of view, told in first person, giving us open access to her thoughts as well as the action and actual spoken word. There is no real violence, no mature themes, so while I would classify it as a book for adult women first and foremost, it should be quite handily read by most teenagers. Above all, it will be appreciated by the musically inclined.

Symphony of Secrets by Sharon Hinck
Bethany House Publishers,
Feb. 2008
ISBN @ 978-0-7642-0282-7
Paperback. 212 pages.
Sharon's website,
Book available from many Christian bookstores, most bookstores, and online at and

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Dim Glass Darkly

Below is a music video by up-and-coming Christian songwriter/musician Gabriel Peter (no connection to Peter Gabriel) that is NOT the average video. It was a deeply personal remake of his first video for the song "A Dim Glass Darkly." It touched me so profoundly, and I felt like I needed to share it with someone.

The video was originally shot in Gabriel's parents' living room. Two months later, the house burned down in a fire. This is the re-edit of Dim Glass Darkly, incorporating shots of the burned home with the original music video. Commentary by Gabriel Peter

1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see as though through a dim glass darkly, but soon we shall see face to face."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some Parting Thoughts on NOR IRON BARS A CAGE

Sorry. I am going to start with the heavy stuff, but hang tough, because it isn’t all deep water.

Slavery. I have to bring up the slavery issue because it was a big thing for me to wrap my thinking around, and I know it will be for others as well. When we think of slavery, we automatically think of the American experience, a part of our history that we wish had never happened. Yet slavery has existed in many forms in cultures all over the world at various times. It is mentioned with some specific rules in the Old Testament and also addressed in the New Testament. Teachers in the Greek and Roman cultures were slaves. At times so were doctors and lawyers. I don’t believe that God is ever saying that it is perfectly acceptable for one person to own another or to treat another person like property. Perhaps it was more to the point that it would exist anyway because the way people were, so here are some rules to protect the slaves. In Exodus 21, it states that the slaves were to be freed in the year of Jubilee. That corresponds to the Queens Jubilee in NIBAC. But, if the slave wanted to stay with his master, his ear would be pieced and a ring put in it to signify that he was a free-will slave for life. A bond servant, bonded by that mark of ownership. In like manner kee, who could have been freed at any time she liked, chose rather to be a slave for life and get an Owner’s Mark to show she belonged to Vahn. Of course, in her case, this is symbolic for her wedding vows as well.

There are several verses in the Both Testaments that are usually translated servant. A more accurate translation is bond-servant, which is really what kee is. Paul calls himself a bond-servant, or slave, of Jesus Christ in the opening verses of many of his letters to the churches.
We serve either God or Mammon, as it says in the King James Version, so while we do have free will, we will end up serving someone. I am reminded of the Bob Dylan song: “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” (“Gotta Serve Somebody” 1979). True freedom is found when we willingly submit to the will of God and allow Him to be the Lord of our lives. One of the gems that this novel contains is coming to terms with what Lordship means.

There are other very deep themes in NIBAC. The whole relationship of marriage and our relationship as the Bride of Christ. A parent’s love for his/her children and God’s love as a father. Friendship and the concepts of loyalty, even willingness to lay down one’s life for a friend. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. Bringing honor—or shame-- to the name of the Lord. Free will choices versus being forced to serve or act.

But I don’t want to leave prospective readers with the idea that this is a heavy novel that will weigh you down. First and foremost, it is an entertaining adventure full of intrigue, mystery, even humor. I don’t want to spoil it, but there are some pretty humorous episodes at the expense of the Duke’s pride. I have to admit, I laughed at his discomfort, but it was hard not to. Mrs. Hokstad described those episodes vividly enough that I could imagine them in a movie. There are some playful scenes when kee is really getting into her role as the nasty runaway, Captain Shil pretends to be a cruel uncaring soldier taking her back by orders, and the healer acts as a cold disinterested traveling companion. But then there were many scenes that had me turning pages quickly to see if the trio would get out of their predicaments or end up in jail or worse. Would kee gain the confidences of someone who knew the whereabouts of the Duke’s son? Would anyone die from the sting of the deadly scorpions? Would they ever find the baby of the other slave who died? Would King Pendo gain control of Latoph in the war he started?

Whether you read it simple for an entertaining story or like a little meat with your dessert, you will find a full course meal in Nor Iron Bars a Cage.

If you wish to read more about the CFRB book for February, I urge you to visit the main site at, where David Brollier has gone in-depth with different essays each day Sunday through Saturday. On that site, as well as here in the side panel, there is a blogroll with other reviewers who have posted either reiews, interviews, essays, or excerpts from the book, some more than once, such as I have. As alway, I urge you to take a look at the beautifully designed website belonging to Caprice Hokstae, She has all kinds of goodies there.


Where can you buy Nor Iron Bars a Cage? Many places, but the best price is as It is also available through and

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Meet the Lady of Latoph

Today, I’d like to bring you “up close and personal” with Caprice Hokstad, the lady, and her thoughts on her own work, Nor Iron Bars a Cage.

Caprice lives in Escondido, California with her family and assorted animals. She not only writes about people in a fantasy world, she has designed clothes such as a royal Elva would wear. This is her Queen Phinia costume that she designed for book signings.


>First off, Caprice, could you tell us something about your family and home life?

Oy. It's pretty boring, actually. Married 23 years. Four kids, ages 4-20. The 4-year old is not in school yet. The 20-year old is in college and engaged. My seventh grader is totally homeschooled. My ninth grader is in a charter school where some of her subjects are homeschooled (Algebra, English, Science) and some subjects are taken at the school (Drama) or a mixture of both places (Spanish). We live in a mobile home with lots of pets. I'm an admitted weather wimp and call anything below 60 degrees, "Freezing-butt cold".

>You have a lot going on in a household with such varying schools and ages.
I know you used to have five rats, two of them named Carne and Asada. Do you still have them all?

Carne is still with me. He's the white one who has the shoutlife page. I just lost another rat in the last week. His name was Squeaker, but we didn't name him. We adopted him when a neighbor didn't want him anymore. He didn't get along with any of our other rats (male or female) which is really odd for rats, because they usually like to have companions. We had to house Squeaker alone. He was also the biggest fraidy-rat we ever had. If you tried to hold him, he just pooped and pooped and pooped. I used to hold all the rats while my daughter cleaned the cages, but after about two tries with Squeaker, I wouldn't hold him anymore. LOL So I guess you can say we don't mourn him too much. We only have one rat at the moment, but when Carne is gone, I'll probably get two or three to replace him. I want 3 sisters or 3 brothers. They like to be together.

>And you have a dog named Petey--I love that cute picture of him with the duck.


Yep, Petey is still with us. He's shaggy right now. He doesn't get his summer haircut until June or so.

>You have cats, too, right? Any other critters (not the human ones)?

My daughters have the cats. All are indoor cats because we have coyotes that will kill them if they go out at night. The last three cats we had that got out never came back. Hannah has a gray tabby/Maine Coon mix. Bekah has three orange tabbies and a calico. I think one of the orange tabbies is preggers again by her son. My daughter PROMISED to have the boy fixed as a condition of keeping him after the last litter. She waited too long. The girls keep their cats in their rooms at night and they keep the litter boxes in their closets, but I am constantly tripping over the five cats during the day. Petey has fun with them though.

My son has a leopard gecko, who is about the most boring pet ever except when he eats mealworms or sheds his skin. He does seem to have a pretty long lifespan though.

>Would you mind sharing a little of your own walk with God? When did you surrender to Jesus as Lord?

I don't remember the exact day or age when I surrendered. I don't even recall a time when I wasn't a Christian. I never considered not accepting Jesus because my Sunday School teachers said that the consequences were really, really bad. I do remember a crisis of faith, however, when I learned that my parents, whom I trusted 100%, had lied to me about Santa Claus. I mean, most of that Bible stuff is even harder to believe than a guy with a flying sleigh who delivers presents. And I always had presents under my Christmas tree to help back-up that Santa story. But even with that physical "proof", it still turned out to be a lie. What if adults made up the Bible as well? Josh McDowell restored my faith in the Bible, but it was a very long time before my trust in adults was restored.

>Did you have any particular verses in mind when you wrote the novel?

Actually, yes, quite a few. Many of the early apostles used "bondservant of the Lord" as their title, including Paul (Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1) James (James 1:1) Peter (2 Peter 1:1) and Jude (Jude 1).

When Mary, the mother of Jesus, was visited by the angel Gabriel, her first question was "How?" (wouldn't everyone want to know this?) and then did she say, "Can't you find someone else?" or "Can it wait until Joseph marries me?" or "What will my parents say?" No, Mary said, "Behold, I am the maidservant of the Lord." (Luke 1:38) I believe that was exactly the attitude the Father wanted when he was searching Time and Eternity for just the right woman to entrust with His only begotten Son.

And of course, what did Jesus Himself say to his disciples at the Last Supper? "Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:27-28)

I also drew a little bit on the Old Testament idea of "Jubilee" for freeing slaves and the concept where a slave would stay with a master beyond the time prescribed by Jewish law, by choice. (Exodus 21:5 Deut. 15:16) These are sometimes called "love slaves". However, I'm afraid that to mention "love slave" nowadays would be misunderstood as a sexual kind of love, which is why I decided to use Freewill Slave. I fully recognize that most servanthood concepts are hard for modern minds to appreciate. We have all been taught to despise any form of slavery. Yet, we can respect young men and women voluntarily relinquishing a good deal of their personal rights and submitting to the authority of others, in order to join the military. Some readers may have noticed the similarities between my fictional "Institute of Training and Correction" and a military "boot camp".

>The idea of military boot camp hadn’t entered my mind, but I can see what you mean. At the Institute they were prepared to face whatever their masters might throw at them.

>Who would you say your favorite character is in your novel, other than kee and Duke Vahn, and why?

Saerula and Delorae are just so much fun to write. I have a devious mind, so it's not hard to come up with villainy. What's hard to me is to keep from making a villain/ess character so utterly evil and completely selfish that they aren't believable. I'm not sure I accomplished that with Saerula, but I think I did with Delorae. Delorae was willing to bend quite a bit to get what she wanted and she did actually have genuine feelings for the duke when she started out. But when all her machinations got her nowhere, she was one of those proverbial "women scorned" and then she let the desire for revenge take over until it destroyed her.

>What would be the most important things you would hope for your readers to come away with when they have finished reading Nor Iron Bars a Cage?

I hope my readers have been entertained. Fiction is supposed to be fun, not a chore or a lecture. Whether you laughed, cried, or dug your fingernails into the arm of your chair, I hoped there was something in the story that you found compelling enough to make you keep turning pages, hungry for more. I want you to get to the end fulfilled and sated, but disappointed it's over. If I did not accomplish that, then I have failed.

>Did you draw on anything from your own life and experiences in writing this story? I know it's a fantasy, but is there a part of Caprice in it?

I think there's a lot of myself in the characters, probably more than I'd like to admit when it comes to the villains. The duke's hometown, Ny, is very much like San Diego, without all the modern technology, of course. That was no accident. I write what I know, and since I've lived in southern California for most of my life, that was the easiest setting for me to use.

>What would you say your strengths are in writing? What do you think are the strongest elements in your novels?

Yikes. I don't know. Do I have any strengths besides being long-winded?

>Well, I can think of a few, but I guess it’s easier to criticize yourself than it is to look at your strengths.
Can you give us an inkling of what will happen in the third novel?

There's going to be a plague which ravages the kingdom. Their only hope will turn out to be the Itzi-Elva halfling child named Blod, whom Vahn adopted. The war that started in "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" will spread. However, just as King Pendo promised, Duke Vahn's territory will be safe. This will give the Vahn a good opportunity to build up his own forces while his brother loses more and more. This is building toward the inevitable showdown between King Arx and Duke Vahn.

>While we’re at it, would you like to mention any projects you’re involved with, like the Finishers, or any organizations and ministries that are close to your heart?

I would love for you to mention the Finishers. is the website for that. [note: The Finishers is a new complete professional manuscript service started by Frank Creed, Cynthia MacKinnon, and Caprice]. You could also mention Books For Soldiers ( The non-profit organization was actually started by a church, but it's more or less a secular charity. I have sent a bunch of special copies of The Duke’s Handmaid, but I've also filled other requests, like a chaplain in Afghanistan wanted Bibles in the local language (Pashtu). I could not find them anywhere in the WORLD because the whole Bible had not even been translated into Pashtu yet. The best I could do was Pashtu New Testaments from England. I had to use British pounds to order them on the internet, had them sent to the New York APO, where they turned around and went back across the Atlantic to Afghanistan. That chaplain was so excited when they arrived. He sent a personal thanks by email.

>Well, that’s exciting. We know that the Word will not return void. I can understand why the chaplain would be excited to receive those new Testaments. The Books For Soldiers sound like a very worthwhile charity. Some of our other authors might think about sending some of their books to the soldiers, who I’ve heard you say are eager to read anything they can get their hands on.

Caprice, I want to thank you for taking time out to answer my questions. I know you said your life is boring, but I think you are a pretty interesting person.

Now for the ads and references:

Today at the CFRB, David Brollier examines the love a father, both human and Heavenly, in light of the characters in Nor Iron Bars a Cage.

Over at
A Frank Review, you can find one of the most in-depth interviews that Caprice says she ever had.

S. M. Kirkland has a little twisted laugh at Duke Vahn's expense in her review.

For the best price on Nor Iron Bars a Cage, go to

At the end of the week, I will be giving away a copy of book one of the series, The Duke's Handmaid. Just leave a comment. Feel free to comment on more than one day's article for extra chances, but I would ask you to write something about the article or the book itself when you comment. Thanks!


Monday, February 4, 2008

The Love of a Good Woman

[This week the Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Caprice Hokstad. At the end of the review you will find other sites to visit, including those of the author and booksellers. ]

What kind of love does it take to voluntarily enter a hostile country in disguise as a runaway slave, knowing you will be subjected to mockery, assaults, embarrassment, ridicule, degradation, even bodily harm? Who would take on such a mission with the knowledge that discovery could mean imprisonment and maybe more? This is no ordinary love, but it is the tenor of the love that kee, the heroine of this novel, has for her husband and lord, duke Vahn, the ruler of a duchy in Latoph. The infant son of the duke had been kidnapped by Saerula, Vahn’s first wife who ran away with her lover. The spoiled daughter of King Pendo from the neighboring (but NOT neighborly) kingdom of Ganluc, Saerula had gone back to her country and was hiding with the child. In hopes of gaining information that would lead them to the child, kee devised a plan whereby she would play the role of a runaway slave, captured by Vahn’s most trusted Captain of the Guard and great friend, Najost Shil. Another trusted friend, the healer Pharn Patkus, accompanied them on the dangerous mission. Between deadly scorpion stings, difficult traveling, an attempt at kidnapping kee, time in the stocks and jail, and all the humiliation that kee had to bear, it was a hazardous journey indeed.

Meanwhile, while the trio was trying to find the Duke’s son, Vahn was experiencing his own nightmare. Too much information here would be a spoiler, but remember the expression “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” Vahn found out just how true it is when Delorae, another spoiled rich woman, was unable to win the Duke’s attention and marry him (his marriage to kee is secret). Out of pride, he accepted her challenge to a duel without knowing what the stakes were going to be. The results of the duel turn his whole world upside down, with a threat of ruining him completely.

Overall, Nor Iron Bars a Cage is a good adventure, a fantasy that is totally believable within its own world, filled with tension, some surprise twists, tales of loyalty and friendship, as well as some humor at the proper times. While it is highly entertaining, it is also full of Biblical truths, particularly about the relationship between a believer and God. In kee there is such a complete picture of what it means to be submitted to God and completely selfless. Actually, kee is so nearly perfect that she is hardly believable; no one is that good. But in the interest of the tale, some credibility may be suspended.

This novel is highly recommended, but parents may want to use some judgment before giving it to teens under 16. It deals with some very adult subjects; Mrs. Hokstad handles delicate matters quite deftly, and in good taste, but parents should know this is not a children’s tale.

The main website for Christian Fiction Review Blog is During this week, there will be daily posts: reviews, summaries, commentaries, a biography of Caprice Hokstad, and perhaps an interview or some sample pages. Blog members will also be posting the same types of articles on their own blog sites, which are listed at the main site. You can read some other reviews by Grace Bridges, Michael A. Heald, Ansric, and The Time Mistress.

Caprice Hokstad’s website is
The book is available through, (also available in the new Kindle format), and

Nor Iron Bars a Cage
author Caprice Hokstad
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Vici Publishing (October 18, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0615163602
ISBN-13: 978-0615163604

Sunday, February 3, 2008

CFRB Touring Nor Iron Bars a Cage

Beginning February 3, through Febuary 19, the Christian Fiction Review Blog is proud to spotlight Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Caprice Hokstad. This is the second book in the Ascendancy Trilogy, a very worthy sequel to The Duke's Handmaid. During this week there will be daily articles published at the main CFRB site as well as numerous reviews, interviews, samples of the book, musings, etc. on blogsites of CFRB members. I will be posting several times myself this week, including a fresh review, an interview with Caprice Hokstad, and some of my thoughts concerning various aspects of the novel. To start out the week, though, here is a synopsis and links for more, including the CFRB link.

Two baby boys are lost in the hostile country of Ganluc--one the firstborn son of a prince and princess (third in line for the Royal Throne of Latoph) and the other an illegitimate half-breed born to an Itzi slavegirl and fathered by a licentious owner who was executed for treason. Yet Duke Vahn is determined to rescue both of these boys. Scores of knights and bounty hunters have risked their lives trying to retrieve them, yet none can even find a clue to their whereabouts. When all else fails, a bold plan is proposed to send Vahn's most trusted servant posing as a runaway slave in order to gather information. Reluctantly, Vahn sends a strange trio off to Ganluc--his brave captain, a middle-aged healer, and an Itzi slave. Little does he know what challenges await both the trio and his own house, now forced to survive without its key leaders.

The link to CFRB is:

To the left of the page, you will see a scroll of the CFRB members. You should find additional reviews and such if you go to these links.

For a review I wrote in November 2007, click here.

FREE excerpt (first 3 chapters)


The most economical place to buy Nor Iron Bars a Cage:

Barnes and Noble:

Amazon link:


The official author/book website:

Various profile sites: