At the End of an Age

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The Chronicles of an Age of Darkness is a ten-volume series of cross-genre fantasy and science fiction novels created by New Zealand cult author Hugh Cook. The Chronicles of an Age of Darkness broadly tell the story of the events leading to the end of a dark age. The Chronicles of an Age of Darkness began with an ambitious outline for a series of twenty novels. This sixty-volume scheme ended with the publication of the tenth volume because of disappointing sales.

Word list activities: Words ending in age

The novels are written in vastly different styles, which may have confused or alienated readers who expected continuity in each novel. Another theory is that the naming scheme, consisting of continual alliterative "W"-titles featuring unusual words put people off. The Chronicles defy the conventions of the fantasy genre, by including elements of science fiction, graphic violence, grotesque and macabre elements, and political cynicism. They are sometimes described as 'gritty' because of their realism. The novels aren't high fantasy. They also include elements of comedy.

Unlike most fantasy literature, the series eschews the concept of good and evil. Drama is created by characters pursuing conflicting goals, and the text often refuses to assign a moral function to their actions. For example, Justina Thrug appears as the central protagonist in The Wazir and the Witch ; the reader accepts all of her actions as justifying her aims.

In The Werewolf and the Wormlord , she appears as a minor member of the group who oppose Alfric Danbrog's quest for power. She does not change from being "good" to being "bad"; the narrative merely assigned her a different role that conflicts with that of the central character.

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The Chronicles differ from most fantasy or science fiction series by not telling the adventures of a main protagonist on a particular quest in sequential order. Instead, each book is written from the viewpoint of a different character, whose personality and objectives differ markedly from the protagonists of other books in the series.

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The novels are set over the course of about thirty years. Only occasionally do the plots of the novels interact directly, and when characters cross paths, they perceive events in markedly different fashions, as the following passages illustrate.

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The first shows the view of a prisoner, Drake Douay, the second that of his jailer, Watashi. Drake did his thinking - and fast. Clearly posing as an innocent peddlar was not going to save him. Douay was gagged and taken to an abandoned store room.

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Over the last three days, this had been converted into a horror house. Many ugly implements of iron had been gathered together; a torture bench had been installed; and Jarl had slaughtered a chicken in the room to make sure it was suitably blood-bespattered. The Wizards and the Warriors is the closest to a traditional epic fantasy of the series, however, like all Cook's books, it has fun with fantasy themes. This novel set the scene and plot that would dominate the first five books, introducing all the characters that would feature in the following novels.

Nobody said so outright, but I was politely asked to write an intermediate book to sit between The Wizards and the Warriors and The Women and the Warlords. Not really understanding why I was being asked to write this additional book, I nevertheless sat down and wrote it, and had fun doing so If he had achieved something, he would have upset my ideas for the overall structure of the series, which was already becoming difficult to control.

As The Wordsmiths and the Warguild was not a long book to start with, I was a bit dismayed to have it cut into two parts for American publication.

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Frequently described as the book that ended the commercial viability of the series, Women and the Warlords tells the story of Yen Olass, a female oracle from the Collosnon Empire. To prove Lukacs right, we need only look at the bizarre hypocrisy of the radical Hindu nationalists in India. Lukacs talks about how the Prussian elite stood behind Hitler because they thought they could control him. In India today, the Brahmin aristocracy stands firmly behind Hindu mobs committing anti-Muslim violence.

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Sometimes he convinces easily, other times not at all. The key to understanding Matthew 24 is to know when Jesus is talking about the temple and when he is referring to the end of the age. I personally believe that most of the chapter is about the temple's destruction. The destruction of the temple was the end of an age for them. There has never been a temple since in Jerusalem.

Still, I give way to the many hints Jesus gives as to how things will go for the Jews in the days ahead of them. The first thing to learn from Matthew 24 is not so much what the signs are but what they are not. Modern predictors of the end of the world are notorious users of disasters and catastrophes as signs. Their evidence of the near end are the numerous wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines.

We the people have been programmed well by a world in chaos to have faith in those signs. Those without the spirit of God can easily develop a pessimistic outlook with the expectation that the world as we know it will eventually go down the drain. The problem with the "end is near" disaster mentality is that it is not biblical and is exactly the opposite of what Jesus said. Yes, Jesus did predict wars, earthquakes and famines.

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However his predictions of chaos were followed by a clear message to all that the end is not yet. In other words, contrary to much of the preaching today, the end doesn't come with disaster and chaos. In fact, as much as some predict the end of the world through these events, Jesus is saying just the opposite. The "signs" are not signs at all of the end. If they are signs, then they are signs that the world is still spinning.

As long as there are catastrophes, the world is still alive and kicking. In fact, rather than say these moments of disaster are the end, Jesus actually calls them the beginning. That's right—from a Jewish perspective—these signs of wars and nation rising against each other are only signs of the beginning and not the end. The beginning of what? They are signs that birth pains have begun. Birth pains are not fun, but they don't bring death, they bring life.

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If we have birth pains, then we should expect a birth. Why does Jesus say this is just the beginning of the pain? It is just the beginning because the next pain will be the disciples experiencing persecution and trouble. I would like to suggest the following as a possible idea. What if the pains of birth continue for centuries?

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What if the birth of Israel in is what this has been all about? What if years of persecution and even the holocaust were but part of the painful birthing of a nation?

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