Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book(s) Review: "The Sword" and "The Gift"

I’m mad at Bryan Litfin.

Here he goes, writing fiction (the guy is a theology professor by day), and getting me all sucked into his stories.

I read his first two forays into fiction (“The Sword” and “The Gift”—the first two books of what he calls the Chiveis trilogy) earlier this spring, and I read them back-to-back, which is something I hardly ever do. I didn’t even wait a few days between books—again, something I never do. And it’s Christian fiction—really something I hardly ever do.

But I know Bryan (we go to church together), and we had talked about writing a few times. I was intrigued by the premise of his books (and also his publisher sent me a review copy of “The Gift”), so I started reading . . . and I couldn’t stop.

Here’s the idea. The world as we know it is destroyed by a virus and a nuclear war. Leap frog 400 years into the future, and very little of the modern world remains. In fact, civilization has reverted back almost to a medieval world of horseback and chain mail and chivalry. The world that our main characters, Teo and Ana, are living in is also a world dominated by pagan religion, devoid of any knowledge of the one true God. In fact, the Bible has been wiped off the face of the earth, or so it seems.

What follows is a story of adventure, intrigue, suspense, and romance all rolled into one. How can one author do that? you might ask. I’m not sure, but Bryan has handled it well.

Most interesting to me was how Bryan explored the question, How does a civilization learn about God without the Bible and without any knowledge of Jesus? Partway through the first book, Teo and Ana do discover the remnants of an old Bible, but the New Testament has been completely ruined, so, while they know there is more than what they have, they don’t know what it says.

These books get at the heart of the Christian faith by asking important questions. Is there one God or many? If there is one God, what is He like? And what is my relationship to Him? In following Teo and Ana’s journey, Bryan invites his readers to explore these questions for themselves.

Oh sure, there were times when I thought, “No way. That would never happen!” or “He would never say that.” But in the end, I was pulled into the story—so much so that I still think about the characters and their adventures, wishing I could be there with them.

And that’s why I’m mad at Bryan Litfin. These books are a part of a trilogy, and the third installment doesn’t come out until next year. I don’t know if I can wait that long to find out what happens to these characters I have grown to love!

I highly recommend “The Sword” and “The Gift”—they would make excellent summer reading. If you want to read more reviews or see an interview with Bryan (how cool is that?!) or to purchase the books, head on over to Amazon (and, no, I don’t get any money for saying that).

And Bryan, hurry up with Book 3, will you?!



  1. I love a book that you do not want to put down . . . especially in the summer.

    I have a special spot on my bookshelf for books that are authored by people that I know.


  2. Ooh! Sounds good, though I'm like you- so impatient when it comes to sequels!

  3. Saw you at Serenity Now. The books sound really interesting, I'm always looking for something good to read! I will check and see if my library has them..if not, amazon here I come!


  4. Great review!! The plot sounds really interesting. :)

    Thanks so much for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party (and for linking back-I appreciate that!). Hope you'll stop by Serenity Now again soon. :)