Friday, December 6

C.J. Cherryh's Protector - SPOILER ALERT

I just finished re-reading C.J. Cherryh's entire Foreigner series.  It is the only series that has more than five books and follows the same characters that I have ever finished (I tried with the Wheel of Time series, really I did!).  The latest (as of 6 DEC 2013) and fourteenth novel, Protector, was released in April 2013.  I read it for the first time in May and just finished the second reading last night.

Cherryh's ability to build characterization and produce interesting and convoluted plots is a continual joy.  SPOILER ALERT.  My favorite part of this book came at the very end, after the action of the climax when we learn more about Bren's faithful and enigmatic bodyguard, Banichi.  We learn a little bit, a very little bit, of Banichi's backstory.  Part of the interest comes from the emotion Bren feels toward Banichi, the forbidden emotion of friendship, of liking, that drives Bren to ask questions of his most enigmatic bodyguard, Algini.  Another part of the interest comes from Bren's confession of ignorance.  Bren is remarkably astute throughout the series which makes his self-doubt and grasping after the rare emotion he allows himself all the more satisfying when manifested.  The final, and most satisfying, part of the scene, is Bren's response to Algini at the end - "Take care of Banichi, nadiin-ji.  Keep him safe." - commending Banichi's wellbeing to his fellow Atevi as the best thing for Banichi and trusting those people to both keep Banichi safe and tell Bren if there is ought he can do to achieve that very same goal.

My favorite line in the book came on page 329: "Geigi, he suspected, had sat back at his desk, scarily satisfied."

Knowing Geigi, an Ateva equally understated and powerful, with all the backstory that came before, and all the estimable strategy and knowledge brought to bear in that person, and knowing that given a problem with infinite solutions and the odds thought to be stacked against his side that Geigi made the best possible choice - Cherryh timed the emotional and intellectual impact of that revelation perfectly.  

Monday, December 2

The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns

I was thankful that Thanksgiving fell on a weekend that was also the first Sunday of the month since that is when my home church has Communion (odd numbered Sundays).  I also love to sing the 'extra' hymns that come with the Holy Supper.  Well, not so much the singing since I can't always hit the right notes, but I like the extra dose of Lutheran doctrine that comes with the hymn text.  So you can imagine my joy when one of my favorite Advent hymns was the third 'extra' hymn!  I was at the rail during the second hymn and was delighted when the opening bars of The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns started and continued and continued and... changed.  Then I was not so delighted as I realized we were not going to sing the hymn because there were not enough people left in the Communion line to warrant it, I suppose.

Sadness!  Grief!  Despair!

Okay, maybe not despair.  But I did go home and I looked it up in my Lutheran Service Book and I pulled it up on YouTube and I sang it myself.


As with Advent itself, the joy and scope of this song are wonderful.  The first verse tells of Christ's second Advent and the joy that will awaken for those who are His.  Verse two tells us how the second Advent will be different from the first.  The third verse says that our joy will be greater even than it is because Christ, an acceptable sacrifice, was raised, victorious.  This is echoed in verse four.  Finally, the people of God pray eagerly for that day when our present suffering will be at an end and we will be united with Christ in joy for eternity.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light triumphant breaks,
When beauty gilds the eastern hills
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child,
To bear and fight and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

Oh, brighter than the rising morn
When Christ, victorious, rose
And left the lonesome place of death
Despite the rage of foes.

Oh, brighter than that glorious morn
Shall dawn upon our race
The day when Christ in splendor comes
And we shall see His face.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord!  Your people pray:
Come quickly, King of kings!