The Dark Tower, the second of Donal Foley’s The Glaston Chronicles, is a work of fantasy following in the footsteps of authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis; as well as subtly alluding to the old legends of King Arthur, who, after fighting to protect Albion from evils both human and supernatural, will, like the archetypal Christ-figure, return from his resting place at Avalon – for Avalon read Glastonbury – when Albion’s need is greatest.
Much like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, Foley’s book contains all the most important of themes: spiritual warfare, the supernatural realm, the fight for personal holiness, and – the route of all good stories – the eternal battle between good and evil. Yet they are not overwhelming nor too forced, but are neatly entwined in an adventure, which will entertain and edify children and young adults.
Few novels today, for children or otherwise, stress the essential and salvific power of the Catholic faith, while simultaneously entertaining its readers. However, Foley’s child characters, who like Frodo, or Peter, Susan, and Lucy of Narnia, are called on a quest. A quest which, while it may be filled with peril is also filled with joy, as it promises the defeat of evil and the salvation of souls. Similarly, not many fictional priests speak movingly of the importance of the Faith and the salvific and sacrificial matter of priesthood and the Mass while they plot to wrest mysterious and priceless artefacts from corrupt, time-travelling, aristocrats. Such things will go a long way to attracting the young to a Church which is not only young and alive, but is also seeking adventure and holiness all across the world.
This book would be an ideal gift, or for group discussion in schools, because it will, as G.K. Chesterton said, “teach children that dragons can be killed”. But it will go further than this. In its last dramatic moments The Dark Tower reveals that, even in the darkest of times when we are surrounded by evil, we need not give up hope. We need to call upon the Lord, who has triumphed over the powers of evil, and He will assist us in our quests to defeat the powers of evil in the here and now.
Finally, The Dark Tower reminds us that Christ, whose mercy is infinite, will forgive even the very worst of deeds, when a contrite heart turns to Him and asks His forgiveness.