War of Wings. Tanner McElroy. Brown Books Publishing Company. March 2014. 384 pp. ISBN#: 9781612541549.
Lucifer, Michael, Gabriel, and other angels in Heaven are parties to a looming revolution against God. Heaven is described as a heady, perfect place where the architecture is rather garishly glorious and nature yields only the most succulent of fruits. God is really never actually seen because of the blinding radiance of His person and there is a touch of human envy in the way all the angels vie to be in God’s presence in order to “talk” with him. Blind faith is the heavenly, ubiquitous law and the initial hints of “trouble in Paradise” begin with multiple questions about the origin of life and Lucifer’s need to sit at the right hand of God. It all seems like petulant children vying for parental approval and favor until the initial discomfiting conversations transition to a nasty tone!
Surprisingly, Gabriel’s character is given a rather different slant in this story. He seems to be a totally self-absorbed individual who is an athletic professional and a despoiler of nature in the nonchalant way he gorges on luscious fruits and discards the rinds like a true litterer who never gets caught and penalized. Then there is the odd relationship he has with his best friend, Michael. Michael consistently berates Gabriel for a lack of responsibility and lax attitude to his work for God. Their constant bickering, however, suddenly becomes violent with physical fights and then avoidance of each other.
The fascinating part of this story, besides Lucifer’s seductive campaign to turn the other angels away from God, involves the asking of questions similar to those of the evolutionary crowd debating the creationists. If God made all, who made God? The origin of matter is never explained beyond the questions but it does succeed in getting pride to rise and rise and rise, becoming anger and then rebellion. Women are also used to exacerbate the confusion and turmoil, as well as being used as tools to tempt the faithful to the side of evil. This reviewer was reminded, while reading this novel, of the debates and declarations of the great writer, C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters.
War of Wings moves from a playful to serious and then dark tones. Heaven’s light begins to dim as the looming war approaches! However, even at the end, the resolution is not quite finished business and obviously seems like a transition point for a future continuation of this world-changing conflict which continues to today. Very nicely plotted mix of religious and scientific thought! Interesting, somewhat contrived but thoughtfully crafted and fascinating novel!