Ten years ago, Brian Godawa published "Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment."
Designed to help Christians process the philosophies undergirding modern motion pictures, the work has become a standard in the field; praised by critic Michael Medved and film producer Ralph Winter, "Worldviews" is in its ninth printing and serves as required reading in some college courses.
So it's not surprising to discover that a thoughtful Christian worldview is the strongest element in Godawa's fiction.
The author - who also is a screenwriter and director, having penned 2001's award-winning "To End All Wars," starring Kiefer Sutherland - is in the midst of an ambitious six-book fantasy series set in ancient Biblical times.
Titled "Chronicles of the Nephilim," the cycle began with "Noah Primeval" in 2011 and continues with "Enoch Primordial" and "Gilgamesh Immortal," both released last year.
Three more books are planned - incorporating the Tower of Babel, the conquest of Canaan and the early kings of Israel and Judah.
While "Noah" reworks Scripture in a way that will bother some evangelical readers, "Enoch Primordial" is an inventive epic packed with romance, battles, humorous dialog, lively characters and a literal pantheon of bizarre creatures.
I say "literal" because "pantheon" actually means "many gods" - and that's one key element in the ancient world Godawa has established.
It's the author's contention that these pre-Flood times were peopled with hundreds of semi-divine figures who'd been cast to earth after rebelling against God's rule in heaven.
Many then-assumed names of well-known ancient gods such as Semjaza, Enlil and Azalel, setting themselves up as deities to be worshiped and obeyed despite their cruelty - and despite the fact that they have little actual power.
Working for these beings are the "Nephilim" mentioned in Genesis 6:4 - a vicious race of powerful giants; also included in the novel's cast of characters are virtuous angels such as Uriel and Gabriel, along with massive, prehistoric "Anzu birds" and two fiendish sea-monsters named Rahab and Leviathan.
And that's only a sample of the tasty stew Godawa has cooked up in "Enoch."
To begin with, there's also the aforementioned worldview - by which the author, somewhat surprisingly, manages to address many contemporary moral and political issues during his narrative.
He also makes a cogent defense of Biblical Christianity through a story-strand in which Satan brings a case against God in a sort of heavenly courtroom hearing.
(Among other things, this sequence is at times a knowing satire of modern legal procedures.)
While this is going on, Godawa also juggles several other plotlines, including giant-slaying forays by Bible characters Methuselah and Lamech, the prophetic work of Enoch as suggested in Genesis 5 and an assault by demonic forces seeking to capture the Tree of Life in Eden.
Other appealing factors in "Enoch" include a touching portrait of Adam and Eve in old age; pervasive use of familiar Scripture texts; a solidly Biblical motif of strength in weakness; and a lot of joking around amongst the heroes.
It's noteworthy that the demigods and other vicious figures like Cain seem to have no sense of humor; Godawa has created a world in which only the good guys know how to laugh.
I'm interested to see what he does with the famous Epic of Giglamesh in "Gilgamesh Immortal," now available from Embedded Pictures Publishing.
For more information, try www.ChroniclesoftheNephilim.com.
*** stars out of four.