Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Sword (Chiveis Trilogy Book 1)

Title: The Sword
Author: Bryan M. Litfin
Series: Chiveis Trilogy

Score: 9/10
How long I would stay up reading: 3am
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Very


The day this book arrived was the same day that another book arrived, which I felt more obliged to read and review first. I opened the other book, and before I started reading it I had put it down and opened this one. I regret nothing.

The cover is a traditional fantasy style (two people on horses in the foregound with landscape behind). And although this may change in future editions it drew me in rather quickly. It was either that or the fact that the author told me I probably won't like it. I'm glad to say that he was wrong.

The basic premise of the story is a post nuclear apocalypse world has returned to mediaeval lifestyles, with ruins of our world dotted here and there. They worship certain gods, who the main characters come to despise, and later find to be false. Then (handily) they find a copy of the old testament which gives them a god they can believe in, and they try to bring him to the kingdom of Chiveis.

The book is simply written, with few of the deep or complex sentences commonly associated with the genre, and to avid fantasy readers it could seem inferior in that respect. But this should not be allowed to put you off reading this book. Once you get past the writing style, which I must stress is not bad, just different, the story is interesting and unique.

When the author told me that If I wasn't religous (I'm an Agnostic Atheist) I probably wouldn't enjoy the book, I was expecting christian propaganda telling me to worship god in a new format. But the story is entirely self contained, the characters never break the fourth wall, there are no notes to the reader etc. Instead the author seems to analyse the religion, considering it bit by bit from different points of view. Although the first in this series hasn't converted me, and I wouldn't want it to, It has helped me understand the christian religion more than I used to.

In addition, it is an analysis of human character and choices. With some characters believing, others not. And all in different ways. Without reading the conclusion of the trilogy we cannot know if this will continue throughout, but the world Litfin writes in seems to be both a reflection and critique of our own.

From an entertainment viewpoint, the book is filled with action, conspiracies, secret meetings, betrayals and false magics. There is some romance, which given the general idea of the book almost surprised me, and although there are no sexually explicit scenes, the subject is mentioned, and doesn't seem to be a revolting idea which is again not what I expected. The area is not the author's strongpoint however, and the story flows much better in action and political scenes. There are two major problems I found however, which continue to niggle me. The first is the main character, Teo, saying that his muscle is his religion. It seemed too out of character, and didn't work well. The second was the name of the princess Habiloho. Both of these broke the flow of the narrative, bringing me out of the almost trance-like state that one must be in to fully enjoy a book. For such a book however, these are fairly unimportant, and should not hinder the decision to buy and read the book.

It was undeniably entertaining, and it is for this reason that I would recommened, or even insist that others read it. I almost feel bad for getting this copy free, and I certaintly look forwards to the next in the trilogy. I won't say that it is one of my favourite books, but it is one of those that should be read by every fantasy lover, from christian to hindu or otherwise, For both the entertainment it brings, but also the cultural understanding it has the potential to help develop.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): One Male, One Female
Main Antagonist(s): One Female
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Religious Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: (Taken From Website)

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.

ISBN 13: 978-1`-4335-0925-4
Website: Chiveis Online
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 412
Publisher: Crossway Books
First Published: 2010

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