Journeys of the Catechist by Alan Dean Foster

Carnivores of Light and Darkness

I’ve been a fan of Alan Dean Foster for years, all the way back to Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. His books have a nice balance of humor, plot movement and character development. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they also do a nice job of asking some very interesting questions.

This series by Foster is no exception.

Written about ten years ago, Journeys of the Catechist (Carnivores of Light and Darkness, Into the Thinking Kingdoms, and A Triumph of Souls) is the story of Etjole Ehomba, a man who on the surface appears to be a simple herdsman. It doesn’t take long, however, to realize that Etjole is anything but simple. He can converse with animals, and his bag of items from his village seems to be an unending source of really handy things while on a journey to save a damsel in distress.

Others have reviewed the books, and so we don’t need to do that here. What fascinated me about the books is how much they resembled the Odyssey or maybe Sinbad or something like they. They have a sense of grand journey about them, and Etjole seems almost larger than life. His companions, a swordsman, a (very big) cat, and a huge idiot (who is much more than appears), all receive benedictions of a sort from him, and all contribute to the success of their quest. He has the sense almost of being a priest, hence (I presume) the title of the series.

All in all I found the books to be enjoyable, thought provoking, and well worth the read. Classic Foster. Worth the effort. I’m surprised they haven’t been made into movies.

-Lutheran Logomaniac

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