Aside from passing mentions of the Book of Mormon and Utah pioneers, you won’t find many overt references to Latter-day Saint doctrine in Luke Coles and the Flower of Chiloe, but thematically the Gospel is everywhere. Within the pages of this romantic monster-slaying fantasy, evil forces are, at heart, miserable and seek to make others miserable. God answers prayers. Light casts out darkness. Violence is not relished, but protecting the innocent is a noble virtue.
Author Josh Walker served a mission to Chile, and his knowledge of local customs, mythology, and culture gives this novel a unique flavor. His hero, Luke Coles, is a Civil War vet who falls for a pretty waitress. After some nasty encounters with monstrous creatures, he takes up the mantle of warrior against vampires, zombies, werewolves, and beasties most Americans have never heard of.
This was definitely a fun read. I enjoy when fiction delves into the dark in order to contrast it with the light. The fantasy is exciting, the romance is chaste and sweet, and the story has a strong moral center. There’s no sex, no language, and the violence serves the story without much graphic imagery. In my opinion it’s good for teens and adults (as well as kids with a higher reading level). The prose is a tad clunky early on, but it finds its footing as the mythology develops, and the confrontation scenes are marvelously cinematic. The book has a unique nonlinear narrative structure which, to me, made it more interesting. I highly recommend it for fans of fantasy. Buy it here.