A young blacksmith must undertake a perilous journey to the four ends of the world to rescue his wife, who is held captive by the Moon. Along the way, he befriends a powerful wolf who encourages, protects, and ultimately sacrifices his life to save his human friend. A stirring allegory of God's love in classic fairy tale tradition.
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I read this book a few weeks ago and waited to post a review until I could put my thoughts about it into words. . .and I'm still not sure. I love what the author intends for this series--a Christian retelling of fairy tales is SO COOL. But this first book, for me, was only so-so. I think the main problem for me was a sense of emotional distance from the characters caused, I suspect, by too much time inside Joran's head. I would have enjoyed a wider-angle view of the story. The writing is beautiful yet rather distant and cold in feel. On the whole, I enjoyed the story, being a fairytale lover from way back, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series, which I am told gets better and better.
Although this is book one of the Gates of Heaven series, it is the third one I’ve read. This series is nice, in that you do not have to read them in the order they were release. Although, having read book two when Joran, our young blacksmith, returns a horse to Jareth, I perked up as he is one of the characters in book two. But he is merely mentioned and it doesn’t affect either story.
Once again as I read a fairy tale by this author I find myself transported into a land where a young man can mindspeak with animals. And although he was picked on his entire life he met a beautiful woman who became his wife. Joran’s wife, Charris, is away visiting family and Joran is troubled by nightmares. Joran soon learns his wife never arrived at her destination and he must begin a search to find her and the source of his nightmare. Early in his journey he encourages a wolf who is caught in a trap. He rescues the wolf, thus indebting the wolf to Joran as a traveling companion.
This story is imaginative, especially with Joran’s ability to mindspeak with animals. I found myself falling in love with the wolf who goes by the name Ruyah. His wisdom and sense of humor is both thought provoking and entertaining. This story also has some very touching moments that I found myself crying. Joran’s journey to rescue his wife is a journey many of us travel where we explore our hearts and learn how God wants us to live. But remember it is a fairy tale through and through.
If you have the opportunity to read any of this series by C.S. Lakin, I would encourage to read one. The author does a wonderful job painting pictures the places Joran and Ruyah travel. Her writing style flows nicely.
Disclaimer: The ebook that I actually read did come from the publisher, but before that I did purchase a copy of this book so I could read it.
What a spectacular book! I got caught up in this epic struggle in the very first chapter, and didn’t put the book down until I’d read it through. In this allegory, Joran, a simple young man, finds himself leaving the world he’s always known in search of his wife, who was captured by some force of magic. He is joined by a wolf who accompanies and guides him on his quest. Their adventures force Joran to confront his inner demons and embrace who he was meant to be. This is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels. Parents who read this to young children will find them hanging on every word as Joran journeys around the world to free his captive wife, having interesting conversations with animals as he goes. Older children will understand that the struggle goes beyond his fight to liberate her, and is actually a battle within his own self. Teens and adults will recognize themselves in the classic war between flesh and spirit. Sprinkled on every page are pertinent proverbs from various sources, making this not only a wonderful work of fiction, but practically a manual for wise living. The characters are cleverly named, causing a bit of foreshadowing throughout the developing story. For example, the wife who is kind and forgiving despite her husband’s failures, is named Charris, almost the Greek word charis, which means grace—unmerited favor. The South Wind is named Noommah, which is pronounced like its Greek counterpart, pneuma, meaning breath or spirit. At the end are study questions, making this a perfect book club read or high school literature assignment. It would also make a wonderful family read-aloud, worth the effort to expound on the themes and discuss the practical applications. A must read!
"The Wolf of Tebron" by C. S. Lakin is billed as a "fairy tale" and I would heartily agree, but a fairy tale with much allegory and deep meaning, along the lines of C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series. The main character/hero is Joran, a young blascksmith's apprentice who, you find early on, has the ability to mindspeak with animals around him which plays into the story in meaningful ways throughout. Joran is soon on a quest to free his missing wife who comes to him in dreams or rather nightmares, wanting to be found. This quest is long and arduous and aided by "the wolf of Tebron", who he meets early on in the story. The wolf, Ruyah, is the voice of wisdom, help, and love as his friend and companion on this journey. It's a tough journey as he has to face things within himself that he needs to let go of in order to complete his quest. This is one of those stories where you can't help but take a speculative look at your own life and wonder- "What are the things in me that I need to lay aside in order to be all that God is calling me to be?" I love when fiction has the power to reach in and accomplish some good in you. I highly recommend this book and as a side note- the next book in this series "Map across time" is due out soon. I, for one, will definitely be picking it up!
Since young blacksmith Joran sent his wife away, he has been haunted by desperate dreams in which she is trapped in a hut above the Sea by the Moon. Joran's anger burns strong against Charris, and at first he doesn't want to respond to the summoning. But as his nightmares begin to consume him, he has no choice. Rescue Charris (though she doesn't deserve it) or go mad. Perhaps he's already there.
Joran sets out, following the mad goose woman's instructions: "Go to the house of the Moon. She is there, with your wife. You saw her. She may help you, if she feels like it. Or maybe not. Tricky and deceitful, she is...It is very far, little cub, far beyond imagining. Your dreams will point the way north, but it is beyond the ends of the known world, and the traveling perilous. You will wear out three pairs of shoes before your journey ends. Yes, you will."
As Joran leaves the village of Tebron, he discovers that the wolf who has often watched him is caught in a trap. Joran releases the wolf, who mindspeaks him, telling Joran his name is Ruyah and will be his companion. Joran doesn't want the wolf's company, but doesn't seem to have a choice.
The Wolf of Tebron follows Joran and Ruyah north to the house of the Moon, east to the house of the Sun, south to the cave of the South Wind, and eventually west to the Sea, where he fights the final battle to free Charris and learns the truth of what happened the day he sent her away in the first place. He also learns some fantastic truths about himself.
While I didn't find the novel completely riveting, I did enjoy it. Parts of it seemed brilliant, making up for some of the long days of walking Joran and Ruyah do with little else going on. Here's a snippet I enjoyed from the first section of the book:
[Joran speaks.] "Tell me about the Moon. Is she able to...solve riddles?"
"Dear sweetums, that would be folly-the Moon will just load you up with more riddles. How can I describe Lunella? She isn't very bright." Cielle covered her mouth and snorted again. "Well, of course, she is very bright, but I meant she is not bright, short a few candle marks, if you get my drift. And absentminded as well. Causes a lot of trouble that way."
Cielle tipped her cup and drained the dregs into her throat. "The Moon is fickle-starts one thing, gets distracted. If I wasn't here to help clean and cook, she would waste away. Oh, and she does! Every month she goes out carousing and forgets to eat. She starts all fat and round and by the time she drags her sorry body into this house, she is just a sliver of herself."
The Wolf of Tebron is C. S. Lakin's first fairy tale, part of a proposed seven-part series called The Gates of Heaven, which all take place in the same world of Sherbourne.
Joran sent his wife away when he discovered something about her that he could not forgive. But then he discovered that she never arrived. He can’t stand not knowing what happened to her, so he investigates and discovers that his wife is being held captive by the moon. Joran embarks on a long journey to bring her back. Her befriends a wolf named Ruyah along the way, who becomes a close friend and protector.
This book is filled with beautiful literary allegory and symbolism. I enjoyed the fairly tale world C.S. Lakin created for her characters to navigate. Joran and Ruyah’s conversations were fun to read. I liked their relationship and Ruyah’s bits of wolf wisdom. I love how the story unfolded in the end and look forward to more in the Gates of Heaven series.
Recently, my husband decided that I needed to take a break from my usual reading list, which includes mostly non-fiction research topics, to read a new book that he brought home for me. Now, I love fiction, but I rarely find an author that I really enjoy reading. So, having greatly enjoyed this one, I am glad to help spread the word about The Wolf of Tebron. The following is excerpted from an email conversation I had with the author, C. S. Lakin:
Me: I just finished reading The Wolf of Tebron with delight. I feel that I have found a friend in you as one who loves good writing and explores profound themes. I found the opening pages a bit heavy on poetic imagery, but as I continued and grew more accustomed to your writing style, the story drew me in. The frequent quotes from the Bible and great authors gave me much meat to chew on as I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story. Thank you for writing a book that I would recommend to my friends, and one that I would enjoy reading again. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Lakin: Thanks so much! One of the reasons I write fantasy in addition to contemporary fiction is to be able to play with language and imagery. The Bible is full of amazing imagery--mountains clapping their hands and rivers singing for joy. People don't often stop to think how God loves poetic imagery too--the world reflects it. I think you'll love the next book--Map across Time. It has less imagery, more Scripture and biblical allegory, and it's a heartbreaking and inspiring tale. It should come out after the New Year.
Me: I find myself continuing to think about certain imagery and concepts that you explored. The idea that humans live in a sort of dream state, not knowing who we really are or where our home is, rings true. Truly we see but dimly now, but then we will see face to face. I also keep pondering Ruyah being at the same time Joran's friend, father, and a type of God/Jesus. It is a rich and complex characterization. Being an adoptive parent, I appreciate the depiction of his adoptive family creating a warm and caring home to which Joran longs to return.
I hope you enjoy The Wolf of Tebron as much as I did!
This is a fairly fast paced novel but Susanne’s writing is so beautiful that I found myself reading extremely slowly just to savor the choices she made in every sentence. The cover is gorgeous, and is one reason why two of my author friends ended up taking home (from the ACFW conference) one of my (purchased) signed copies of this book and an advance copy I received! This is definitely a literary novel. It is one that deserves a place in Christian high school curriculums. I see this as a modern classic such as Hind’s Feet on High Places.
This is book one in "The Gates of Heaven" series by C. S. Lakin. The cover of the book states it is "a fairy tale." With that said, I was prepared to be drawn into a tale along the lines of the Brothers Grimm, C.S. Lewis, and others from my childhood. What I was not prepared for was the depth of emotion for the characters I would feel or for the mixture of allegory and metaphor blending fairy tale and scripture. The hero, Joran, lives in a small village called Tebron, working as an apprentice to a blacksmith. Joran has the ability to "mind speak" with animals and never really felt a complete part of his family. His wife, Charris, works as a weaver but Joran sent her away in a fit of anger. But Charris disappeared while traveling to her hometown and now Joran is troubled by terrifying nightmares every time he falls asleep. In the nightmares, Charris is trapped and he is unable to free her.Even though angered with Charris, Joran feels compelled to search for her after learning of her disappearance. He encounters a huge, silver-coated wolf with a foot caught in a trap. Joran rescues the wolf, named Ruyah, who becomes his traveling companion on what turns out to be a journey unlike any Joran could ever imagine. I could go on, but I am afraid I would end up giving away the story. This book is an experience and journey not just for the mind, but for the soul. As the story unfolds, the reader is entertained, mesmerized, & reminded that God loves us and is devoted to our personal growth and salvation. This book is one that will appeal to readers of all ages and I highly recommend it. I am very eager for the second book in the series to be released, "The Map Across Time."
The author, C.S. Lakin quotes C.S. Lewis "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again" and Wolf of Tebron is one of those exciting tales. I enjoyed going on this heros journey with Joran and Ruyah, in this fantasy that contains elements of fairy tale and myth. Joran is an unlikely hero who sent his wife, Charris, away in a jealous fit, and Ruyah is a huge silver wolf who has long watched Joran from the woods and hills nearby.Joran does not know why, but he has the ability to talk with animals, whether a goat on his farm or a wolf or wild songbird.The outward purpose of the journey is to rescue Charris, who is magically imprisoned in ice in an unknown place. The author skillfully interweaves the hero encountering danger with passages where wisdom is shared and beauty is seen. Lakin includes lyrical descriptions, characterizing the essence of light itself as liquid joy, and the wolf leading the way as But he set his attention on Ruyahs tail, which floated on the fog like a disembodied swatch of fur.The travelers are forced to visit Cielle, the moons sister, then Sola, the suns mother, the South Wind and finally the Sea, and face despair, fights and the threat of death as they journey toward Charris. Sola says that the moon is a jealous being and wont give up Charris and she is right.