Monday, May 31, 2010

Chiveis Book One: The Sword - Brian M. Litfin

The Sword: Chiveis Trilogy Book One
Brian M. Litfin
Crossway Books
Copyright: April 2010
978-1433509254

The amazon.com product description:
This novel of page-turning action and adventure poses the question, "If a society had no knowledge of Christianity, and then a Bible were discovered, what would happen?"
Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroyed the modern world, a new and noble civilization emerges. In this kingdom, called Chiveis, snowcapped mountains provide protection, and fields and livestock provide food. The people live medieval-style lives, with almost no knowledge of the "ancient" world. Safe in their natural stronghold, the Chiveisi have everything they need, even their own religion. Christianity has been forgotten—until a young army scout comes across a strange book.
With that discovery, this work of speculative fiction takes readers on a journey that encompasses adventure, romance, and the revelation of the one true God. Through compelling narrative and powerful character development, The Sword speaks to God's goodness, his refusal to tolerate sin, man's need to bow before him, and the eternality and power of his Word. Fantasy and adventure readers will be hooked by this first book in a forthcoming trilogy.
This book was sent to me through the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing. First one of these that I've won.

That said, on to the review.

First of all, the book has an absolutely gorgeous cover. I know I don't often say anything about a book's cover, but now and again I do have to comment. That's part of what attracted me to The Sword. The art captures the feel of the story very well.

Unfortunately, despite the gorgeous cover, the book didn't quite live up to my expectations for the story. My first impression, once I'd made it past the actual catastrophe (which I did feel was well written and believable, especially given the tensions in the world today) was "needs a map". All the way through the first third of the book, I didn't have a clue if the story was in Europe or North America. Now, I suspect it's set in the environs around Paris, but I'm not certain.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I felt that the religious issue was done in a bit of a heavy-handed manner, as though Christianity was the only obvious good choice. Given the reviews I saw on Amazon, I suspect therefore, that I'm more on the edges of the target market, being a fantasy lover, that Litfin wrote this book for the Christian fiction market.

Dodging that issue, although I think it would have been interesting to get more of the evolution of society and beliefs to the point where they're found in the book, there were some absolutely gorgeous scenes, such as the cathedral and the rest of the wilderness. I have to admit, I did like the Lost City the best, and the wreckage of the 21st century society found there. That was a very evocative set of scenes.

Overall, I liked The Sword, but I don't think it's going to be in my "favorite books" list.
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