Friday, March 6, 2009

A Further Discussion of Points Raised in ERETZEL

This month, CFRB is proud to present Eretzel by William R. McGrath as our featured novel. Eretzel is the second book in The Sword of Fire series, a continuation of the tale begun in Asulon.

by William R. McGrath is a powerful book in a powerful series, a book overflowing with ideas and points to ponder beyond the intense story itself. In fact, there are so many possible points to discuss that I am having a difficult time choosing what to write about without turning the blog itself into a book! Personally, I think fantasy or speculative fiction in general is a great vehicle for entertaining and projecting so many ideas because the author can do so in a non-threatening way, not tied down by a a presentation of beliefs in a manner that could be disputed. Most readers are going to realize what Mr. McGrath's personal beliefs are on many issues, yet one can disagree heartily with him and still enjoy the story. Along the way, the reader, if he or she is honest to self, just might rethink some of his/her former conclusions.

I mentioned in my previous entry that many historical events are included, yet in this alternate history they aren't in the same sequence and blend with mythology and events that are prophesied for the future. Names of people and places are not just left to chance in this regard. If you don't know what an Etruscan is (Moor), Google it! Logres is a name for England or Britain that evokes for me the whole Arthurian legend, since my frame of reference for Logres goes back to some tales I've read that deal with some supernatural side of Britain, usually around the character of Merlin. Offhand I think of C. S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength. Magog is an old name for Russia, one used in the Bible. Rema refers to Rome, and again history comes into play as the Antichrist reminds me of the Caesars. Abramim, the word for Jewish or Israeli, refers to Abraham, the father of both the Jews and the Arabs. Since the book is set in Israel (Eretzel), the names are partly historical, like Ammon, partly still existing, and partly something else.

There is an abundance of political content, from the European union to the conflict between Israel and the Arab nations. Bill McGrath leaves little doubt about his feelings about Communism and the Illuminati, about any number of politic machinations past, present, and future. Personally, I found it interesting how he has the leaders of different factions all thinking they are working to serve their own selfish ends when in reality they are being controlled by the will of the Antichrist.

Back to the Israeli-Arab issue again, but this time as religious forces. It is only fitting that this novel set in Israel would concern the three 'religions' that were born in the general area: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. The interplay of the three has had a profound influence on the world historically, currently, and will also do so in the future. Here again I am impressed by the amount of research Bill McGrath must have done. Through his characters the reader gets an incredible history/religion lesson that goes into as much detail about Muslims as it does Jews. It is possible that some Muslims would take him to task for some of those details yet not others. The same for any Jewish readers. Undoubtedly it is more sympathetic to the Jewish state, but this is in keeping with several scriptural charges, such as pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to bless the chosen people of God if we want to be blessed. Once again, through his characters, McGrath shows how Christianity offers answers for both Jews and Muslims, answers that make it possible for real peace and understanding. This comes on an individual basis, and that peace and understanding does NOT extend to the relatives of the converts.

It seems to me that Bill McGrath deliberately weaves a story of the end times that does not follow the events of Daniel and Revelation in the way that either of the prevailing schools of thought would expect. As a result, there is plenty of suspense going towards the end of this second book and the final volume in The Sword of Fire, Apocalypse. I was quite surprised by the ending of this book, and I'm having a hard time not revealing any more than I have already. Talk about something to fuel discussions!

I have just barely touched on the discussion points of Eretzel. I hope it has whet your appetites and caused a bit of curiosity, perhaps enough to get your own copies of this worthy novel.

Eretzel: The Sword of Fire--Book Two
by William R. McGrath
Publisher (2009)
Paperback; 448 pages

Visit William's website, The Sword of Fire.

Buy Eretzel at:

Author's Store
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords eBooks

For more information, check out the following this week:


TWCP Authors said...

The inclusion of so much related background to Eretzel and the following discussion was very interesting . . . and makes me want to go out and buy the book!


Steve said...

There are some ideas that are derived from modern re-interpretations, such as the Mark of the Beast being a kind of personalized ID (it won't be) and that the Antichrist will suffer a fatal head wound (the Bible never says such a thing if you read carefully). Still, the story can function as a bridge to more biblical views in some areas, and a lot of the details are correct. That's why I support the book.

Frank Creed said...

It's good to take people outside the box with prophecy. How many Jews had the Messiah all figured out, and missed Jesus because he was now who they expected?


tuhonbillmcg said...

Hi Cathi,

I try to have a basis for all my names. Asulon is ancient Greek for sanctuary or asylum (it doesn't hurt that it contains the letters U.S.A.).

Eretzel is a contraction of Eretz Israel, the official name of the modern state of Israel. Eretz means "land" in Hebrew, so you could translate Eretzel as "Land of God."

cathikin said...

Bill, thanks for clearing that up about the names. I knew you chose your names with purpose. I should have done another interview weith you about that stuff. I didn't know that was the official name of Israel. I'm always learning new things from you!