the Shadow and night

by Chris Walley
Series: The Lamb Among the Stars #1
613 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Lily A.

Long, sometimes slow and sometimes beautiful, overtly Christian story set in a terraformed world.


The Assembly and its “Made Worlds” have seen utopian levels of peace for thousands of years; shielded, it seems, from much of the effect of the Fall. Open sin is rare enough to be unthinkable. Death of old age is looked on with contentment as a gateway to heaven, not as a thing to fear. But in the skies of the little border planet of Farholme, a gleaming “meteor” is seen, and there is tragedy in its wake.


Fairly good. Deviations from the author's perception of Biblical morality, such as lust, deception of any kind (even "white" lies or omissions, or bending the rules on the equivalent of a fair use contract for music), most violence against human opponents, and prejudice, are felt keenly as wrongs. Family involvement, particularly parental involvement, is expected in the development of relationships, even among adults. Technology is tightly regulated to try to prevent immoral use - AI (and most robotic variations) are not considered acceptable, and neither are some forms of mechanical voice manipulation. Some readers may find the Assembly's standards to be extreme.

Spiritual Content

Numerous references are made to Christianity and the Bible. The Assembly appears to be an empire of Christians - not in the sense of having a government-regulated religion, but in the sense of generations of people having grown up in the faith, believed, and tried to live by their principles. An old man hears from God. Evil influence, once introduced to the world from the outside, spreads like a contagion - without verbal contact with the enemy, people seem to catch an unhealthiness in their spirit from contact with them. It is not very well explained why the author thinks that this would be so, although it may have to do with the invaders having accepted the aid of demonic forces.


A valuable edifice and means of transportation is sabotaged. Fighting occurs, largely between humans and genetically engineered part-animal slave creatures, involving claws, bush knives, fire and explosions, among other things. Hand-to-hand combat can be quite tense. A corpse, appearing partially human, is found in the sea. A savagely killed pet dog is found thrown over a tree branch. Nothing is killed carelessly by our main characters. A demon-creature on the enemy vessel has apparently received human sacrifices or meals in the past.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Tranquilizer guns are used by environmental management personnel.

Sexual Content

Someone is startled to hear a report of a couple who might not have "waited." Rahab is referenced as being difficult to explain to children. Sexual tension between unmarried couples, and the desire to pursue someone else while having a standing commitment, are felt as symptoms of the corruption coming into the world. A demonic being disguises itself as a beautiful nude in order to tempt a character.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There are many instances of profane behavior from the characters' views; that is, things occur which are perceived as violations of the proper sacred order: however, I do not think that anything happens here which would match the modern definition.


The Shadow and Night seems built to ask the question, "What would it be like to live in a Christian utopia? And how would people react if that utopia was broken?" Being the first in a series, it does not finish answering its own question, but it did make me think, and even when the author's ideas do not completely sit well with me, I respect what he has tried to do. When was the last time, after all, that you saw somebody (besides C.S. Lewis) try to devise a Christian epic in outer space?

As far as style goes, I liked Walley's descriptions - he could make me see what he was talking about - and I did not see any spelling or grammatical errors. That said, for a book of this size, it does move slowly.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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