Karen Hancock Arena Reviews

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“Arena ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 28/11/2003

Karen Hancock
Bethany House, 2002, 393 pp.
ISBN: 0764226312

Callie Hayes earns a below living wage so when her friend Meg Riley needs moral support to be a guinea pig in a harmless psychology experiment, Callie reluctantly agrees. At the lab, Callie refuses to trek across a rat maze Arena. The prompter informs her that her only exit is by staying on the white road to the gate with her only help a field manual that is if you can understand its words for Meg is gone.

In the Arena battle fatigued Pierce Andrews rescues Callie from some nasties. He tells her that he has wandered the Arena for five years with no salvation in sight. Callie and Pierce with a crew of misfits that think he is the Savior trek together praying they reach the salvation of the gate. Along the way they battle devilish wild things like the evil Trogs. As hopes wane, only the field manual gives them hope until they meet a seemingly pious benefactor, who brings them faith that with a Christian belief they can stay on the righteous path to the gate.

ARENA is a great Christian science fiction allegory filled with detours, trials and tribulations, and twists that allows the reader to feel they are a member of the motley crew trying to gain salvation. The story line cleverly uses symbolism to represent Christian icons but does not hide from ugliness such as rape and other vividly vile descriptions of evil. The lead protagonists seem real especially as their feelings grow for one another. Even the Trogs seem genuine. Karen Hancock provides a powerful parable that will send the audience seeking other works such as her tremendous fantasy with a message THE LIGHT OF EIDON.

Harriet Klausner

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