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July 16 , 2010

The Lay Of Lirazel


Epic Poetry Meets High Fantasy An Edenesque garden, a haunted tower, a forest shrouded in twilight wherein dwell Centaurs, Elves and a myriad of creatures fantastic and mysterious; this is the setting in which Babb’s “Lirazel” comes to life and where the tragedy of her life must unfold. Her doom is fixed, deadly, unavoidable and all the more tragic because of the choices Lirazel makes as she spurns wisdom for folly in a desperate gamble for love. In the world of Lirazel there exists an evil; ancient and monstrous, seductive and sorcerous. Its malice is hyper-focused on revenge and the usurpation of power. To satisfy its plots the Princess Lirazel must die. Perhaps then, a powerful relic will be revealed and then claimed by the usurpers. A crown, made for a princess but desired by a treacherous elf-witch and a fallen Knight; for this thing a brutal war must be fought, heroes must die and a maiden be cursed. The tale of this crown is the story Lirazel will uncover, as will the reader. This is the tale, told as poetry, in which she finds herself enmeshed and ultimately bewitched. The Lay Of Lirazel is narrative poetry told in epic fashion, but it is poetry fully equipped with fangs and enough terror to keep a reader turning pages till the last curse falls and death and doom claim their prize! Author and scholar Bradley Birzer has compared the poetry to that of Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon and has credited Babb with “some of the best lyrics in rock history.” The Lay Of Lirazel originally provided the inspiration for prog-legends Glass Hammer and their 2005 magnum-opus The Inconsolable Secret. Babb, though he had no idea at the time, had composed his lyrical or poetical magnum-opus as well. Best known for his work with Glass Hammer, Babb is stepping out at last into the world of straight-out saga-making and storytelling. Rock D.J. Chris MacIntosh (a.k.a. Grandfather Rock) says of the author, “As a rock-n-roll bass player, Steve Babb is flawless; as a poet/storyteller he is excellent. ...Babb ranks along with names like Stephen Lawhead or Jeffrey Overstreet. Excellence from beginning to end!” But Inkling scholars and Tolkien experts like Dr. Amy Sturgis are also taking note. She says, “What makes The Lay of Lirazel an honest act of sub-creation and a deeply moving meditation on the human condition... are the subtler and infinitely more difficult choices with which Lirazel struggles: the choices to sacrifice and to trust, to obey and to believe, to know remorse and to accept grace.” Inspired by the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, the paintings of John W. Waterhouse and the writings of George MacDonald, William Morris and Lord Dunsany; The Lay of Lirazel is the essence of the mythopoeic set to verse. Perhaps not since J.R.R. Tolkien penned The Lay Of Leithian has a modern writer attempted poetry on such a grand scale.
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