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Karolan is a fantasy epic, but with a difference. Fantasy as a genre is characterized by magic: the supernatural, often explained by a magical quasi-religion invented by the author. The supernatural in Karolan is explained not by a new, invented religion, but by a very old one stripped of centuries of baggage and unveiled in its primal power. It is, after all, a religion of the supernatural stabbing down into nature: stabbing down ruthlessly, destroying comfortable assumptions and beautifully, revealing hope beyond our dreams.
Since enjoyment of an ordinary fantasy has nothing to do with believing the invented religion within it, fantasy readers unsympathetic to my religion should be able to appreciate Karolan just as they would a story with a different explanation of the supernatural. On the other hand, some readers who are made uncomfortable by conventional fantasy may find Karolan easier to enjoy. Every reader, I hope, will close the book with a feeling different from what conventional fantasy gives: a hope that it might, after all, be absolutely real. Perhaps the world is full of holy magic. Perhaps, as Jonathan says, everything really is as terrible or as wonderful as it was meant to be.