November CSFF Blog Tour Day 3: Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

If it’s Day 3, it must be time to venture out into the cobweb-strewn forests of the CSFF Blog Tour and see what other folks are saying about Curse of the Spider King.

Spray can of Black Flag, check. Combat boots, check. Baseball bat, check.

Okay, I think I’m ready. I’ve even got a protective hat. It’s kind of fuzzy, though. Itches a little.

Waitaminnit…I’m not wearing a hat. AAAGH! Get it off me! Get it off me!

Ahem. Moving right along…

David Frost? Morley Safer? William F. Buckley? Amateurs. Some great interviews with the authors this time around, and a lot of interviewing skill displayed by our Tour bloggers, including Ryan Heart, James Somers, and Amy Browning.

Who’s on First, What’s on Second, I Don’t Know…Third Base! While there was nearly unanimous approval for the appealing and true-to-teen characters in Curse of the Spider King, a few reviewers (myself included) struggled a bit with the large cast of central characters. Phyllis Wheeler made a list to keep track of everyone.  Valerie Comer said the handling of the characters felt “fractured.” I was looking for a character to step out in more of a leadership role or provide an overarching perspective for the whole story, but I think this is a situation where it’s worth being a little patient and waiting for a deeper exploration of the characters. They’ve got a long way to go yet in their adventures.

Membership Has Its Advantages. Several folks spent some time perusing the very nice webpages of Messrs. Batson and Hopper, and particularly the Berinfell Prophecies site, which hosts a fan forum and a plethora of series-related interactive games and activities. Robert Treskillard and his kids are already members of a Berinfell “tribe” and are enjoying the fun together. The authors seem to be very engaged with their fans, which is both smart from a marketing point of view, and just impressive overall. No socially-dysfunctional, ivory-tower snobs here. These guys are having a ball and sharing that joy with others. Good on ’em.

The Eternal Question. It always happens during the Tour, and it’s important that it does happen–somebody raises the question, “Is this really a Christian book?” We are the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour, after all. This time, it was John W. Otte (“Least-Read Blog on the Web”? Au contraire, Pierre!). He observed that there aren’t many overtly Christian elements in the story, and simply making a few passing references to God doesn’t cut it if we want to call something a Christian work of fiction and have it mean anything at all. Mr. Batson, for his part, had the sense and grace to simply step back and say, “That’s a good question, and I’d like to hear what people think about it.” I weighed in with my two-cents’ worth, and suggest you do likewise, respectfully and intelligently. We’ll all be the richer for the debate.

And Now, the Rest of the Story. Wow, just found this…Shane Deal has logged his thoughts about the book chapter-by-chapter. He got through Chapter 12 before he had to stop, but he promises to finish in future installments. Great stuff. I recommend reading this AFTER you’ve read the book yourself, unless you have no intention of doing so.

Well, that concludes my expedition into the arachnid-ridden backcountry of Curse of the Spider King. Join me again next month as we…hey, waitaminnit…there is no CSFF Blog Tour next month! Our fearless leader, Rebecca Miller, is re-engineering the schedule for the coming year, so it looks like we’ll be featuring one or more writing-related web sites in lieu of a book review. Hey, everybody enjoys a few surprises for Christmas! See you then.

There’s still a lot of great commentary out there on the Tour–check it out:

Wayne Thomas Batson’s blog –
Christopher Hopper’s Web site –
The Berinfell Prophecies Web site –

Brandon Barr

Justin Boyer

Amy Browning

Valerie Comer

Amy Cruson

CSFF Blog Tour

Stacey Dale

D. G. D. Davidson

Shane Deal

Jeff Draper

Emmalyn Edwards

April Erwin

Karina Fabian

Todd Michael Greene

Ryan Heart

Timothy Hicks

Becky Jesse

Cris Jesse

Jason Joyner


Carol Keen

Krystine Kercher

Tina Kulesa

Melissa Lockcuff

Rebecca LuElla Miller



John W. Otte

Donita K. Paul

Cara Powers

Chawna Schroeder

James Somers

Speculative Faith

Robert Treskillard

Jason Waguespac

Phyllis Wheeler

Jill Williamson

KM Wilsher

>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<

4 thoughts on “November CSFF Blog Tour Day 3: Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

  1. Wow Fred! First of all, great posting on all three days of the tour. Secondly, thanks for the shout out. It’s pretty ingenius to post about the other tour members and really get the discussion going.

    I definitely like your bloggy style.

    As far as the debate over whether the book is “Chirstian-enough,” I disagree that there should be a standard. Every author is different and brings new light to the Lord through their writing and style. It’s all about glorifying God through our work and these two guys get that more than anyone. So – in summation, if an author seeks a Christian publisher, that’s between themselves and God and not up to others to decide. But that’s just my two cents.

  2. Thanks, Amy! Yeah, I’m not too keen on the idea of some arbitrary standard either, although the publishers can and will impose one, and the readers will also, consciously or unconsciously. I think it can be helpful in this forum for people to talk about what their individual filter looks like, because finding good Christian speculative fiction is why we’re here.

    I’m of the opinion that a Christian fiction writer can’t help but produce stories that in some way bear witness to the ultimate Truth that has changed their life. It may be obscure, it may be imperfect, but it’s going to be there somewhere. I think the major pitfall is falling into some distortion of the truth, getting so wrapped up in the story that we portray God’s character or the fundamentals of the Christian faith in a confused way.

    There’s also very little material incentive to fraudulently sell oneself as a Christian writer, so I think pretty much everybody in that community is trying their best.

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