During one of the days wherein I was in intense pain along with having a sinus infection, I stayed in bed and read. I normally don't read books in one day. I haven't since the time of Redwall back in, well, '96. Needless, to say I haven't put myself in the situation where I have the time to finish a book so quickly. Well, in that period of convalescence I had just so the opportunity. The book I chose for this wonderful feat, Looking for the King by David Downing. The book intrigued me because in included in its cast of characters CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, both whom I admire as Christians and writers but most especially as Christian writers.
Downing is something of a Lewis scholar. He has spent much of his published time on the life and work of CS Lewis. The thing about Lewis is that to get in touch with him requires that one get in touch with and get to know his friends, the Inklings, most notably Tolkien and a hitherto mysterious man, Charles Williams. Being so familiar with their works Downing used both actual quotes from them within the book as well as giving a very life like caricature of those men.
Really that is the charm of the book. I found the plot is pedestrian though enjoyable. It's somewhat predictable and lacks a real spark. The villain is not developed enough to really have much effect on the reader. He is too clouded in mystery to really care what happens to him, good, bad, or nothing at all. The protagonists are likable, and as an American, I found them relatable.
For none of these reasons could I put the book down, rather, I felt that through this book I was getting to know Lewis, and Tolkien, and Williams, in their wisdom, in their humor, in their quirkiness. I couldn't wait for the next passage with one of them in it because some sort of gem would hidden within Downing's lines. I felt like I was in the pub joking with them, sitting in on an actual lecture of theirs, walking along the Thames with them.
If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned men, I would suggest reading this just for the sheer delight of meeting them in their own context and milieu instead of merely on the pages of Mere Christianity or The Hobbit.