Lonama's Map [Paperback]
by F. W. Faller
In the ancient land of the planet Tessalindria, an old man is killed in a robbery gone awry. Fleeing with the victim's sole possession, the legendary Lonama's Map, the thieves enter a time portal only to find themselves transported to an age where the legends of their schooling are a way of life. Facing various mental and physical obstacles, they have an opportunity to undergo a spiritual awakening through self-realization.
Their travails and the grip that fear, envy, jealousy, and revenge has on their lives give insight into the meaning of life and death and the contrast between a life led with purpose and vision and one led simply for selfish gain.
Volume 2 of The Portals of Tessalindria
Discipleship Publications International (May 2004). Trade paperback. 464 pages.
Author Web Site(s): http://www.immerland.com/
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See the review at ChristianFictionReview.com.
Lonama's Map is a story of a friendship gone awry. Two young men, Rindar and Minxa, grew up together as outcasts on the streets of Vindarill, a modern city on the world of Tessalindria. Their lives are changed forever when a mysterious artifact known as Lonama's map falls into Rindar's hands. The map holds enormous power, including that of traveling through portals to other times and places on Tessalindria, but it will yield its secrets only to its owner, Rindar.
The seeds of jealousy are already planted in Minxa's heart when the map leads Rindar to a portal. They fall through, to a period in Tessalindrian history 1,000 years past. Rindar's incomplete understanding of the map maroons them there, and Minxa's resentment grows.
Their paths eventually diverge when Minxa joins a band of thugs bent on stealing the map. Rindar receives the protection of several individuals who follow the ways of the Kirrinath, and he commits himself to joining their ways. Rindar's flight from the demonic forces who seek the map occupies the balance of Part One.
Part Two opens thirty-seven years later, when Rindar (now called Mindar) has married and has young children. Life is comfortable for Mindar, and he has no desire to return to his home city and time. But a rebellion against the king is brewing, and Mindar becomes the target in another attempt to steal Lonama's map. After a lengthy absence and imprisonment, Minxa appears on Mindar's doorstep, and Mindar must decide whether to trust again the only person who shares his heritage and knowledge of modern Tessalindria.
The story of Lonama's Map contains echoes of Lord of the Rings, with a fabled object of power-the map-that strains friendships and leads to betrayal and enmity. Author F.W. Faller captures the flavor of an epic journey in Part One with beautifully evocative descriptions of setting, and suspense-filled moments as Rindar and his companions struggle to outrun their pursuers.
Unlike Lord of the Rings, Lonama's Map is also a time-travel story, and as such requires double effort in believable world-building: first for the modern Tessalindria (comparable in many ways to present-day Earth), and then for the historical period that Rindar and Minxa are transported to through the portal. Faller handles well the ambitious task of illustrating two unfamiliar settings.
Lonama's Map is billed as a "spiritual allegory," and it offers many illustrations of Biblical principles. Especially vivid are the images of walking by faith, and Rindar's rebirth through washing (baptism) at Jualar Springs.
The story shows how the differing choices of two friends of similar backgrounds lead them to very different paths. It's in this lesson that Lonama's Map falls short, because the characters of Rindar and Minxa seem too similar at the opening of the story. Only when their choices lead them in different directions do they become distinct. While this may be artistically admirable, it's a bit confusing for the reader.
Another minor area of confusion for me was in the similarity of names: Rindar and a character named Rasler appear in many scenes together. Later the similarity of Mindar and Minxa slowed my reading. And as for Visha'andar, Vashtor, Vakandar and Vissaron-well, you get the idea.
Lonama's Map does many things well, and the points of concern mentioned here are minor. Its predecessor in the Portals of Tessalindria series, A Sword for the Immerland King, earned an honor as a Christy award finalist last year, and this volume is of similar caliber. As a note to readers of the first volume, this story intersects slightly with the Immerland narrative, but can be read independently. For those who enjoy high fantasy and epic journeys, Lonama's Map delivers a thought-provoking story with a surprise ending. Recommended.
Reviewed April 26, 2004 for Edenstar by Cheryl Bader.
Product Code: 1727