Promised Valley War
Asymmetric Worlds (2011)
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (2/12)
“Promised Valley War,” the second book by Ron Fritsch in his four-novel Promised Valley fantasy series, is now available. His first book, “Promised Valley Rebellion,” met with both reader and critical acclaim. It garnered, among other accolades, the silver medal in the Historical Fiction category of the Readers Favorites awards competition, and first-place in the Gay & Lesbian & Transgender Fiction category of the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards. “Promised Valley War” appears capable of receiving the same level of recognition.
Fritsch once again transports the reader to the fictional realm of Promised Valley. It’s an idyllic place inhabited by prehistoric farmers who believe their gods promised them the fertile river valley in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, the hunters who live in the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods gave it to them. While the book ultimately reveals itself to be keenly relevant socially, the reader will immediately note that the story takes place prehistory, prior to the establishment of civilization and societal structure. As a result, conflict and war seem inevitable.
It is the story’s prehistoric setting that provides the basis for the intellectual question which binds the Promised Valley books together: “Could civilization and history, with their countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, have begun differently?” With that as his touchstone, Fritsch thoughtfully and compassionately offers answers through the story and its characters. “Promised Valley War” and the ironic relationship of its two central characters, one a farmer, one a hunter, are charged with Fritsch’s passion and exuberance for literary, historical and LGBTQ fiction.
In writing this multi-faceted novel, Fritch masterfully layers and blends several literary devices – intellectual twists and turns, enigma, allegory and parable – to create a story rendered in both intricate detail and simple wisdom. Even through the vivid telling of epic war and death, Fritsch employs both fantasy and genuineness to connect with and uplift the reader.
I have deliberately avoided offering any further synopsis of the story told in “Promised Valley War.” While it’s an adventurous tale on its surface, it is not what it seems to be; it is much more. For me it was a book of revelations. For others it will be what they perceive it to be. For anyone who has never lost their child’s heart and imagination, “Promised Valley War” will compel them to consider all that the book has to say to them. That’s what unforgettable books do.