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The Paradise War (Song of Albion Series #1)

The Paradise War (Song of Albion Series #1)

4.3 117
by Stephen R. Lawhead

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"When I opened my eyes, I was no longer in the world I knew."

Lewis Gillies is an American graduate student in Oxford who should be getting on with his life. Yet for some reason, he finds himself speeding north with his roommate Simon on a lark--half-heartedly searching for a long-extinct creature allegedly spotted in a misty glen in


"When I opened my eyes, I was no longer in the world I knew."

Lewis Gillies is an American graduate student in Oxford who should be getting on with his life. Yet for some reason, he finds himself speeding north with his roommate Simon on a lark--half-heartedly searching for a long-extinct creature allegedly spotted in a misty glen in Scotland. Expecting little more than a weekend diversion, Lewis accidently crosses through a mystical gateway where two worlds meet: into the time-between-times, as the ancient Celts called it. And into the heart of a collision between good and evil that's been raging since long before Lewis was born.

First published almost twenty years ago, The Song of Albion Trilogy has become a modern classic that continues to attract passionate new readers. Enter into The Paradise War and experience the dazzling brilliance of a world like ours--yet infinitely bolder and brighter: a place of kings and warriors, bards and battles, feats of glory and honour. It is a place you will forever wish to be. It is Albion.

Editorial Reviews

Books Magazine
To set foot in Albion is to enter a rich world of fantasy,rooted in Celtic mythology. An astonishingly imaginative story sequence.
Bookstore Journal
In a style reminiscent of Tolkien,Lawhead presents a world of vivid imagery. This book is a delight.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lewis Gillies is pursuing graduate work in Celtic studies at Oxford when his rich roommate, Simon Rawnson, slips through a hole in a cairn to the land of the Tuatha de Danann. With the help of an eccentric professor, Lewis pursues Simon and finds himself playing a major role in some important Celtic myths. In retelling these myths, Lawhead ( Arthur ) allows his characters to become unspecific archetypes who therefore fail to hold the reader's interest. As he is herded from event to event, Lewis, supposedly a Celtic scholar, fails to recognize the import of these occurences. Throughout, Lawhead tells his readers what to feel rather than letting his story move them. (June)
Library Journal
Two Oxford graduate students stumble upon a stone cairn in Scotland and enter a magical ``Otherworld'' at once removed from and intimately connected to their own reality, becoming embroiled in an ancient battle against an evil that threatens both worlds. Lawhead, whose Pendragon Cycle ( Taliesin , LJ 8/87; Merlin , Crossway Bks., 1988; Arthur , Crossway Bks., 1989) established him as a frontrunner among contemporary Christian fantastists, demonstrates a genuine love for and understanding of Anglo-Celtic mythology in this first volume of a projected series. A worthwhile purchase for most fantasy collections.

Product Details

Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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Song of Albion Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

The Paradise War

By Stephen R. Lawhead


Copyright © 1998 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-21792-X

Chapter One

An Aurochs in the Works

It all began with the aurochs.

We were having breakfast in our rooms at college. Simon was presiding over the able with his accustomed critique on the world as evidenced by the morning's paper. "Oh, splendid," he sniffed, "it looks as if we have been invaded by a pack of free-loading foreign photographers keen on exposing their film-and who knows what else-to the exotic delights of Dear Old Blighty. Lock up your daughters, Bognor Regis! European paparazzi are loose in the land!"

He rambled on awhile, and then announced: "Hold on! Have a gawk at this!" He snapped the paper sharp and sat up straight-an uncommon posture for Simon.

"Gawk at what?" I asked idly. This thing of his-reading the paper aloud to a running commentary of facile contempt, scorn, and sarcasm, well-mixed and peppered with his own unique blend of cynicism-had long since ceased to amuse me. I had learned to grunt agreeably while eating my egg and toast. This saved having to pay attention to his tirades, eloquent though they often were.

"Some bewildered Scotsman has found an aurochs in his patch."

"You don't say." I dipped a corner of toast triangle into the molten center of a soft-boiled egg, and read an item about a disgruntled driver on the London Underground refusing to stop to let off passengers, thereby compelling a trainfull of frantic commuters to ride the Circle Line for over five hours. "That's interesting."

"Apparently the beast wandered out of a nearby wood and collapsed in the middle of a hay field twenty miles or so east of Inverness." Simon lowered the paper and gazed at me over the top. "Did you hear what I just said?"

"Every word. Wandered out of the forest and fell down next to Inverness-probably from boredom," I replied. "I know just how he felt."

Simon stared at me. "Don't you realize what this means?"

"It means that the local branch of the RSPCA gets a phone call. Big deal." I took a sip of coffee and returned to the sports page before me. "I wouldn't call it news exactly."

"You don't know what an aurochs is, do you?" he accused. "You haven't a clue."

"A beast of some sort-you said so yourself just now," I protested. "Really, Simon, the papers you read-" I flicked his upraised tabloid with a disdainful finger. "Look at these so-called headlines: 'Princess Linked to Alien Sex Scheme!' and 'Shock Horror Weekend for Bishop with Massage Parlor Turk!' Honestly, you only read those rags to fuel your pessimism."

He was not moved. "You haven't the slightest notion what an aurochs is. Go on, Lewis, admit it."

I took a wild stab. "It's a breed of pig."

"Nice try!" Simon tossed his head back and laughed. He had a nasty little fox-bark that he used when he wanted to deride someone's ignorance. Simon was extremely adept at derision; a master of disdain, mockery, and ridicule in general.

I refused to be drawn. I returned to my paper and stuffed the toast into my mouth.

"A pig? Is that what you said?" He laughed again.

"Okay, okay! What, pray tell, is an aurochs, Professor Rawnson?"

Simon folded the paper in half and then in quarters. He creased it and held it before me. "An aurochs is a sort of ox."

"Why, think of that," I gasped in feigned astonishment. "An ox, you say? It fell down? Oh my, what won't they think of next?" I yawned. "Give me a break."

"Put like that it doesn't sound like much," Simon allowed. Then he added, "Only it just so happens that this particular ox is an ice-age creature which has been extinct for the last two thousand years."

"Extinct." I shook my head slowly. "Where do they get this malarkey? If you ask me, the only thing that's extinct around here is your native skepticism."

"It seems the last aurochs died out in Britain sometime before the Romans landed-although a few may have survived on the continent into the sixth century or so."

"Fascinating," I replied.

Simon shoved the folded paper under my nose. I saw a grainy, badly printed photo of a huge black mound that might or might not have been mammalian in nature. Standing next to this ill-defined mass was a grim-looking middle-aged man holding a very long, curved object in his hands, roughly the size and shape of an old-fashioned scythe. The object appeared to be attached in some way to the black bulk beside him.

"How bucolic! A man standing next to a manure heap with a farm implement in his hands. How utterly homespun," I scoffed in a fair imitation of Simon himself.

"That manure heap, as you call it, is the aurochs and the implement in the farmer's hands is one of the animal's horns."

I looked at the photo again and could almost make out the animal's head below the great slope of its shoulders. Judging by the size of the horn, the animal would have been enormous-easily three or four times the size of a normal cow. "Trick photography," I declared.

Simon clucked his tongue. "I am disappointed in you, Lewis. So cynical for one so young."

"You don't actually believe this-" I jabbed the paper with my finger, "this trumped-up tripe, do you? They make it up by the yard-manufacture it by the carload!"

"Well," Simon admitted, picking up his teacup and gazing into it, "you're probably right."

"You bet I'm right," I crowed. Prematurely, as it turned out. I should have known better.

"Still, it wouldn't hurt to check it out." He lifted the cup, swirled the tea, and drained it. Then, as if his mind were made up, he placed both hands flat on the tabletop and stood.

I saw the sly set of his eyes. It was a look I knew well and dreaded. "You can't be serious."

"But I am perfectly serious."

"Forget it."

"Come on. It will be an adventure."

"I've got a meeting with my adviser this afternoon. That's more than enough adventure for me."

"I want you with me," Simon insisted.

"What about Susannah?" I countered. "I thought you were supposed to meet her for lunch."

"Susannah will understand." He turned abruptly. "We'll take my car."

"No. Really. Listen, Simon, we can't go chasing after this ox thing. It's ridiculous. It's nothing. It's like those fairy rings in the cornfields that had everybody all worked up last year. It's a hoax. Besides, I can't go-I've got mark to do, and so have you!"

"A drive in the country will do you a world of good. Fresh air. Clear the cobwebs. Nourish the inner man." He walked briskly into the next room. I could hear him dialing the phone and, a moment later, he said, "Listen, Susannah, about today ... terribly sorry, dear heart, something's come up ... Yes, just as soon as I get back ... Later ... Yes, Sunday, I won't forget ... cross my heart and hope to die. Cheers!" He replaced the receiver and dialed again. "Rawnson here. I'll be needing the car this morning ... Fifteen minutes. Right. Thanks, awfully."

"Simon!" I shouted. "I refuse!"


Excerpted from The Paradise War by Stephen R. Lawhead Copyright © 1998 by Zondervan . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He is the author of such epics as The King Raven, Song of Albion, and Dragon King Trilogies. Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife. Twitter: @StephenLawhead Facebook: StephenRLawhead

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The Paradise War (Song of Albion Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now, I am no master in Celtic literature, or any aspect of Celtic culture, but this book made me feel as though i was a chieftain in a Celtic tribe. Probably the deepest and most symbolic series written with the exception of C.S. Lewis. I read the whole series in under 2 weeks, i couldnt put it down, I would sit in school or at work actually thinking I had been a victim of the Time-between-Times, the novel is completely engrossing, i would more than once come up from reading and completely forget which world I was in. I plan on reading this series many times over until the spine of the books collapse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this series and in the hall of the dragon king series when i was in highschool. Othrr than harry potter and tolkien this is an amazing series. I read through all three quick. And recently i remembered the book but not the author it had been so long since reading them. I remembered the story and how much i loved reading them. I just now found this book and was so excited to remember the author! I cant wait to read both series again. Its rare of me to re read a book let alone a series. But these hp, lotr. And redwall i could read over and over.
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
The Paradise War, Song of Albion part 1, is an enjoyable journey from current time London, to the otherworld of Celtic myth and legend. I laughed out loud and almost cried from merriment at the start of the book when Lewis and Simon are traveling across London to Scotland in an effort to prove each other wrong. Once the two end up in the Otherworld, the story takes a turn and really takes off in another direction. Events and places in this Otherworld are elusive at times and a little more background or detail would have been nice. Events start moving rapidly towards the end of the book, making it almost difficult to keep up with the characters and how the events occurring where changing them. This is a three part series and I am excited about reading the other two books and exploring other books by the author. Overall I really enjoyed the writing style and characters and hope the elusive instances will be explained further in one of the next books.
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DeadRaisin More than 1 year ago
This was a good book.
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A great story with beauriful and deep symbolism.
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superchan More than 1 year ago
This is the 1st book I've read written by Stephen R. Lawhead and I really enjoyed it. Great story. Looking forward to the next in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the way Lawhead writes, you are pulled into the story instantly.
MK9p91 More than 1 year ago
Now that I've read this book I know all about Celtic folk lore, whether it's real or not. This book started out a little slow for me but once you start, you cannot stop. The Paradise War is extremely imaginative and is action-packed. I could picture everything single scene of the book. I highly recommend this book.
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