Chuck Black’s Cloak of the Light (Multnomah Books) kicks off his Wars of the Realm series and transports readers to a world of tragedy, mystery, and excitement, a world where dark and light invaders fight for the fate of humanity.
Drew Carter, a young boy whose life has been touched by darkness, grows up after his father dies in the military. Through middle school and high school, Drew’s life is clouded with tragedy, and as a nonbeliever, he can’t understand why bad things happen to him. When he reaches high school, Drew befriends Benjamin Berg, a brilliant boy who loves science and dreams of one day contacting alien life.
The two friends stay together through tough times, and eventually end up at the same college, where Ben conducts research with a physics professor. As Ben and the professor delve deeper into their research, something goes wrong. After an accident in the lab, Ben disappears and Drew becomes blind. As the months drag on, Drew regains his sight—and the ability to see into another dimension. Drew begins to see dark “invaders,” creatures who cause evil in the human dimension. Faced with the brave new world of the “invaders,” Drew must find a way to stay alive, and find Ben.
Black drives his story along relentlessly with pressing action and adventure. The rapid-fire pace and excitement sweeps readers into Drew’s world, and young readers will enjoy Drew’s transformation into a master fighter who protects the innocent and afflicted from the influence of the dark invaders and the humans they possess. Ranging from backcountry wilderness to the ghettoes of Chicago, Drew must marshal his survival and combat skills to fight against the dark invaders and bring light to the world.
Black imbues his story with incredible virtues, like loyalty, courage, faithfulness, and trust in God. Drew grows up with a code of loyalty that binds him to Ben and instructs him to act as a Good Samaritan, helping those in need. Sydney, Drew’s love interest, also models true faithfulness in the way she trusts God and follows His commandments, not her own heart. Young readers will benefit from the biblical themes and messages the characters embody and exemplify. Indeed, a helpful Reader’s Guide at the end of the novel discusses biblical themes chapter by chapter, and directs readers to solid, relevant Bible verses. Black clearly has written a book intended to reflect God’s truth.
Black also reflects God’s truth in Drew’s challenging journey in encountering Christianity. Because Drew is not a Christian, he wrestles with thorny questions about faith—the problem of evil, religion versus science, and other issues. Black doesn’t shy away from portraying Drew’s genuine doubt and confusion about faith, and respects the many problems that nonbelievers face. However, in a savvy apologetic move, Black offers words of wisdom and truth about faith and God through certain characters—Sydney and Reverend Ray—who encourage and challenge Drew to rethink Christianity. Black writes about Drew’s struggles and journey to faith with grace, inviting readers to enter into the conversation about faith and God.
For readers craving rip-roaring action and speculative intrigue, Cloak of the Light provides a biblically-centered, positive foray into a world of darkness and light, a world where angels and demons fight for power, and a world where God reigns over all.
FamilyFiction’s book reviewing intern, Niki, is a third-year English major at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. She’s a fan of reading, writing, drinking tea, and cats.