I was able to read The Thorn last year but have had to wait until now to review it. Oh the pains of being an author with friends in high far-off places. Daron’s high and far-off place is the world of Gan.
Now Gan and The Thorn are Speculative writing at its best-why-because you can’t pigeonhole it as anything else and what he has in the book is so compelling.
Faith and a belief in Jesus Christ are paramount to characters motivations but this isn’t a Biblical tale, none of this takes place on Earth. Gan is aware of Earth, this is an important point, but the conflicts affecting the people of Gan are truly their own.
When I first heard about the story I thought it was the genre I call “Sword & Planet”. Gan is a planet with three moons and two blue sun’s, it has a very unusual sword, that is made of a bioluminescent crystal. There are epic struggles between the differing tribes of people jockeying for either power or freedom, but none of this quite makes it Sword & Planet. There are no monsters or magic or far-out gadgetry, and everything is run at roughly a Dark Ages level of technology.
The Thorn itself is the literal symbol of the right to rule and something I really liked about the novel were the roots and influences with classic material. The multiple viewpoints express how different people react to the same situation, in some ways it is a tragedy but there is hope. When things seem their grimmest, the light and guidance of the Other Side can come shining forth. The timeframe of The Thorn was a surprise and yet only gave the novel weight. If you can imagine a cross between Braveheart and the Chronicles of Narnia you may be on the right track, just don‘t expect any talking beavers.
Now this may seem a strange combination, but Daron makes it all work by peopling Gan with great characters, surprising twists and standout examples of courage and faith. No one has written anything quite like this before and that’s why Daron needs to keep doing it