Friday, April 9, 2010

‘The Sword: A Novel’ by Bryan M. Litfin – Book Review and Giveaways

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What would our world look like if we practically annihilated ourselves?  ‘The Sword,’ the first book in the Chiveis Trilogy, by Bryan M. Litfin takes a look at that prospect.  Here is the first paragraph in the Prologue:

In the year 2042, the world as we know it came to an end.  The edifice of civilization proved far more fragile than anyone ever realized.  One hard blow, then another – that was enough to shatter it into a million pieces. (p. 15)

Here is the author explaining the concept of the novel:

The Sword Trailer from Crossway on Vimeo.

A malignant virus, called the X-Virus, had infected the monkey population in the rain forest.  The virus quickly infected the human population.  It was very virulent, and its incubation period was two weeks; no symptoms were present until it was too late.  The pandemic spread quickly and killed millions.  Governments collapsed, and rogue forces obtained nuclear weapons.  Ten thousand megatons of weapons were detonated; nuclear winter ensued. 

This story is set four centuries after those ominous events.  The world now looks much as it did in medieval times, when people used swords and spears, and commuted via horses and carriages.  The main characters in this tale are Anastasia of Edgerton (also known as Ana) and Captain Teofil of the Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Chiveis.  Their first encounter was over a sickly bear in a secluded forest.  Anastasia caught the Captain’s attention with her inner strength and hunting prowess – not to mention her immense beauty!

The Kingdom of Chiveis worships its own set of gods (p. 60):

·         Astrebril – the Star of the Morning
·         Vulkain – the sulfurous god of the underworld
·         Pon – the debauched god of the forest
·         Elzebul – the filthy god of dung

The God of the Bible is lost to this civilization.  These pagan gods, who are all evil and destructive, are all they have.  The king mandates that his citizens worship these gods.  The High Priestess of Astrebril is aware of the ‘God of the Cross,’ but she hates Him; she knows His power and refuses to cede any of hers to Him.

The God of the Bible is lost – until He is found by Anastasia and Teofil.  On one of these many adventures, they discover a church that was built by the Ancients.  It is not clear where this book is set, but it sounds as though they may have discovered Notre Dame in Paris, France.  They discovered a book; on its cover were a cross and two words: Écriture sacrée: “Sacred Writing.”  
Not only is Teofil a captain in the Royal Guard, but he is also a professor at the University at Lekovil; his specialty is Ancient languages.  When the Dynamic Duo arrived back home, Teofil went to work translating the sacred writing.  Unfortunately, the New Testament was not available to them; it had gotten wet and moldy; the thin pages were damaged.

Despite the loss of the last third of the book, the Scriptures did speak to the hearts of the small group that began to study it.  Many of the citizens of Chiveis came to faith in the Eternal God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, the God they called Deu (a derivation of Dieu, the word for God in French).

Here, Ana explains belief in Deu to her Aunt Rosetta:

….”I think we’re supposed to believe, Aunt Rosetta.  Believe that Deu is good, even when circumstances seem to say otherwise.  Remember, we can’t see everything he sees.  He has purposes we may not understand.  All we have to do is keep walking ahead, saying Deu in our hearts, ‘I believe you’re good.  Please take care of me!’” (p. 272)

I have read some speculative Christian fiction in the past that did not grab me right away; it took me a chapter or two to gain my attention.  That was not the case with ‘The Sword.’  I was captivated from page one, and couldn’t wait to keep reading.  Not only is the story captivating – it is an adventurous and exciting romp - but Dr. Litfin is a terrific writer.  The next book in the Chiveis Trilogy will be released in April, 2011.  I look forward with great anticipation to the further adventures of Teo and Ana! 

Bryan M. Litfin, PhD is associate professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  He earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a PhD in ancient church history from the University of Virginia.  When he writes about a world that has reverted to medieval times, he knows whereof he writes!  He is the author of ‘Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction.’ ‘The Sword’ is his first novel.

You can order the book here.

This book was provided by Crossway Books for review and giveaway purposes.

I have two copies of this book that I would love to pass along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me what you find most intriguing about this interesting novel!  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This give away is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Monday, May 3, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!


glenda09 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
glenda09 said...

Interesting how the 2 Pagans find our God. That's like me before I got saved I was pagan believing the lies of the devil! I would really like to read this one! At first I was reading and thinking oh no this is a bad book talking about other gods! Then our god came into the picture!


glenda09 said...

Im following you on Twitter @wellnessmommie is me!

glenda09 said...

Im following on Google Friend connect!


Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Glenda -

Thanks for stopping by to comment - and for the follows!

Yes, despite the pagan culture in which they live, Ana and Teo did find the Eternal God! Glad we both did, too!

Hope to see you again soon!

Blessings -


Grace said...

One of my favorite genres is fantasy. I would love to win this book! =)

Please enter me:
gracethorson (at) gmail (dot) com


Grace said...

I'm a follower on Twitter! @GraceThorson and @ChristianScroll

Cindy W. said...

Interesting how Ana and Teofil find our God in an Ancient church. Sounds like a fun read. Please enter me into your contest.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Cindy W. said...

I am a follower of your blog. Please enter me.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Cindy W. said...

I am a fan of yours on Facebook. Please enter me.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Linda Kish said...

How they again found god and learned about him was great.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carman said...

This book sounds interesting because it seems to have an original plot. I love Christian Spec fiction and this sounds like it will be a hit!

I'm a new follower[google friend]! (Thought I already was following... oops!)

I just requested your friendship on FB!

Please enter me. booklovercb[at]yahoo[dot]com

heidi330 said...

I like the idea of this book. That the world has started over with the pagan gods and that 2 people find wiritngs on God and share it. I really want to read this book. Please enter me in your contest. It sounds so good that I think I will write a review after I read it on my blog. thank you for sharing this book.


heidi330 said...

We are friends on facebook.

I follow you on Twitter.

I also follow this blog

thank you


please enter me in contest

Katie G. said...

What interests me most about this book is that the two main heros find God, even through many try to hide him.

Thank so much for this chance!


God Bless!
~Katie G.

Katie G. said...

I now follow your blog with NetworkedBlogs.

Abi said...

Thanks for the interview. Please include me in the book giveaway.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

lindsayw said...

Ooh, he had me at the word "chivalrous"! I love the Middle Ages era of knights and ladies, and now it's in the future! I love adventure and fantasy and romance, with finding the Bible for the first time--sounds like a book for me!

I am now following you on Twitter, and I'm leaving a comment. :) Thanks for entering me!

lindsayw said...

Oops, I forgot my email.


Linda Kish said...

Sounds interesting..futuristic yet medieval at the same time.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Melissa M. said...

The thing that sounds most intriguing is the storyline of medieval, lost people finding a lost Book.
Thanks for the giveaway!


Paris said...

I love books like this! I would love to read it:)

Christine said...

Marc would love this book.

Judylynn said...

This one sounds interesting. I haven't read this genre before.


Judylynn said...

I am a Twitter follower!

Judylynn said...

I am a Google friend!

Judylynn said...

I am a Facebook friend!

Judylynn said...

I am a NetWorked Blog Follower!

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