Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Lawhead’s theological education and his personal commitment to Christianity are reflected in all his works. Like his other books, The Song of Albion Trilogy is an account of a conflict between good and evil. When Lewis first arrives in Albion, he believes it to be a paradise, an unfallen world. He notes that it is untainted by human invention and assumes that its inhabitants live in harmony with nature and one another. However, when he finds himself in the midst of a bloody battle, he realizes that Albion is not as peaceful as he had thought. In the Celtic myths related by the bards, there is evidence that like the biblical Garden of Eden, Albion has always had its serpents; in the utterances of its prophets, it is clear that it will always be threatened by evil.

Following Christian theology, Lawhead explains the presence of evil as a consequence of free will. The divine Creator, who is referred to in the novels as the Swift Sure Hand, permits his creatures to make choices. Thus though the students at the school of warriors are supposed to be thoroughly prepared for a lifelong battle against evil, some of them may choose a different course. Temptation comes to both Paladyr and Prince Meldron through their overweening pride. Similarly, it is pride that turns Simon from merely an amusing but self-centered cynic into Siawn Hy, a Judas to his best friend and an enemy of all that is good.

The good characters in The Song of Albion Trilogy, especially Tegid and Llew, know that winning battles against outside forces is not enough; one must also defeat the temptations that lurk within one’s own heart. After Llew becomes High King, his decisions are even more difficult because they involve his responsibility to his people and to the kingship itself. He chooses rightly when he shows mercy to Paladyr and again when he sends others to pursue the raiders who burned his settlement, but by leading the expedition to the Foul Land, he puts his love for Goewyn ahead of his kingly duty. Nevertheless, in his death, Llew becomes the Christlike figure of the Celtic prophecies, who sacrifices his own life for his people. Back home, however, Lewis is once again an ordinary human being, who by writing about his experiences can be a prophetic voice in a decadent society.