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Customer Reviews for Tyndale House Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens

Tyndale House Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens

For decades, scholars have attempted to find the organizing key to C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Here noted expert Ward proposes that each story embodies and expresses the characteristics of one of the seven planets of medieval cosmology, which Lewis described as "spiritual symbols of permanent value." An accessible adaptation of Planet Narnia. 224 pages, softcover from Tyndale.
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Customer Reviews for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Review 1 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

One of Many Theses

Date:July 6, 2012
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Kathy
Location:Southeast Wisconsin
Quality: 
1 out of 5
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Michael Ward’s book, “The Narnia Code” is the condensed version of his best-selling book, “Planet Narnia.” In “The Narnia Code” Ward proposes the thesis of a “hidden logic” to the creative choices of C.S. Lewis while authoring “The Chronicles of Narnia” series.
Ward’s basis for his thesis is based on Lewis’ poem “The Planets.”
Each of the seven “Chronicles of Narnia” books correspond and bear characteristics of the “seven heavens” as referenced to in pre-Copernican model of the universe. The “seven heavens” consisted of the seven planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) and each planet’s respective deity (Sun, Moon, Mars/Tyr, Mercury/Woden, Jove, Thor, and Freya) which comprise the seven days of the week.
Many different theses have been proposed as to Lewis’ original intent when he authored “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The various theses rang from the classical virtues to the seven deadly sins and have been linked to the seven sections of Spenser’s “ The Faerie Queen.” Ward’s thesis is the latest to join the list.
C.S. Lewis, himself wrote to a group of Maryland, Fifth Graders in 1954 the following words in regard to the underlying theme or code of “The Chronicles of Narnia"... "I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as He really is in our world by a Lion in Narnia'; I said, 'Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.”
+2points
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Review 2 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 10, 2012
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Shea
Location:Alpine Texas
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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This book taught me the mysteries of the seven heavens and that C.S.Lewis was a great writer that love planets and use the planets in his writings.
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Review 3 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Compares well with the original work

Date:May 28, 2011
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Bob Hayton
Location:St. Paul, MN
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Do you remember when you first read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis? Many people, like me, trace their love of fantasy fiction back to that moment. As I gobbled up each of the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia series, I entered a world of knights, chivalry, valor, magic and wonder -- that awakened in me a fresh wonder at the divine influence in all of life.
As I went on to other fantasy tales, largely by Christian authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen Lawhead, I encountered more intricate worlds and elaborate tales than what I found in Narnia. But the overt symbolism in the first Narnian tale, hinted at so much more beneath the surface of the Narnia tales. Reading Lewis' space trilogy I once again encountered symbolism that I couldn't quite grasp, but that was alluring and powerful nonetheless.
So a few years ago, when I learned of a new book by Michael Ward entitled "Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis", I was captivated and just had to get it. That scholarly tome, whose hardback edition boasted 347 pages and almost 60 pages of endnotes, was a delight to work through. Bit by bit, Ward shared the thrill of his discovery -- the long sought after, unifying key to the Narnia stories. It was a bit of a chore to go through all the scholarly citations, but along the way I learned a great deal about all of Lewis' works, not just the Narnian chronicles.
Now, however, the fruit of Ward's scholarly research is available for a wider, general market audience. Based on an earlier documentary/DVD, Tyndale House has published an accessible paperback entitled "The Narnia Code: C. S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens".
I was able to pick up this smaller book from Tyndale. It's only 191 pages with an easy to read font. To be sure, some of the finer points from Planet Narnia don't find their way into the condensed edition. Still, one will find all the joy (and significance) of Ward's discovery, a fascinating explanation of the pre-Copernican planetary model, and a detailed exposition of each Narnian chronicle according to the new insights gained from Ward's study. The interested reader could certainly move on from "The Narnia Code" to "Planet Narnia" if he or she so chose, but most will be satisfied by the tale as told in the smaller work.
I don't want to ruin the book by explaining in detail all of Ward's discoveries. I will just note that he finds a planetary connection between Lewis the scholar's appreciation for the pre-Copernican view of the planets as influencing mankind in various ways, and Lewis the author's intricate method of creating a unique atmosphere that permeates each of his seven Narnian tales.
I can say this, however, you will be convinced by Ward's discovery. And it will give new life to the Chronicles of Narnia. You'll never read them the same way again. And Christ's glory will be seen anew in all its wonder, illuminated in many small yet wonderful ways by Lewis' intricate crafting of these wildly popular stories.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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Review 4 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Too conspiracy theroist for me

Date:April 12, 2011
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Selabear
Location:Fort Collins, CO
Age:25-34
Gender:female
I wanted to like this book, The Narnia Code, really. I heart the Chronicles of Narnia, I think I’ve read them at least half a dozen times. And now I’ve picked them as the first chapter books to read to my four-year-old, and she loves them too. When I read the synopsis above, I was excited about the theme of the book and the subject. But I have to admit, I had a really really hard time reading it.
It wasn’t that it didn’t cover any of the things it said, but you could tell that it had been a “scholarly work” to begin with in it’s formulaic writing style. For each chapter, there was a thesis paragraph, the body broken down into reasonable subgroups, a review paragraph, and a sentence or two about the next chapter.
The content was interesting enough, including background about why our days of the week are called what they are (based on the Roman names for the planets) and in-depth information about each planet as it related to one of the Narnia chronicles.
I think what I really didn’t like about was the overall conspiracy theory about CS Lewis and the Narnia books. I’ll leave them as what they are, excellent allegorical children’s fiction, and be satisfied with that.
+2points
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Review 5 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wonderful read, "more accessble" as advertised

Date:March 21, 2011
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vstefans
Location:Little Rock, AR
Age:45-54
Gender:female
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5 out of 5
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This is a "lite" version of Planet Narnia, absolutely faithful and with much of the same text, but less of its detailed scholarship that is better suited to those more familiar with medieval literature, and/or those wanting more of a dissertation style rather than just a good read. I bought one copy of each and find them both wonderful as well as convincing in regards to the authors' thesis. It evoked fond memories of reading the original series for me - and now, of course, I want to read them all again! "Well done!"
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Review 6 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Interesting and provocative

Date:February 7, 2011
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Greg
Location:Memphis, TN
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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This book is especially helpful for those steeped in the Narnia stories. Others will lack the context that makes the discussion so interesting. The thesis is that there is another layer of meaning that holds the Narnia Chronicles together, that being the characteristics of the seven planets as conceived in the medieval world view. The author backs his thesis with documentation and presents it with reverence, not only for Lewis, but also for Scripture. A valuable read.
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Review 7 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A New Perspective On An Old Friend

Date:December 11, 2010
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TulsaMJ
Location:Tulsa, OK
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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"The Narnia Code" by Michael Ward presents a new way to see the seven-book series. I found the information fascinating and quite convincing... in fact, I was so intrigued that I bought the DVD by the same name, and I intend to take a look at the earlier book "Planet Narnia" as soon as I get a chance. The author displays a detailed knowledge not just of the Chronicles of Narnia books, but of C.S. Lewis' entire body of work. It's an interesting, fun, enlightening read! (I received a review copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers, but I was not asked to guarantee a favorable review.)
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Review 8 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Unifying Theme in the Chronicles of Narnia

Date:December 3, 2010
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Michelle Smith
Location:Birmingham, AL
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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A few weeks ago a copy of The Narnia Code: C. S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens arrived in my mailbox. When I finally picked up this book this week, I was intrigued by the author's more popular adaptation of his original scholarly treatment of certain issues within the Chronicles of Narnia.
What type of issues? Some of the Chronicles seem to express a disharmony, as when Father Christmas appears in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I confess this bothered me when I originally read this first of the Chronicles. Why does he appear? Narnia has no Christ; Aslan is Narnia's Creator and Christ-figure. It doesn't seem to quite work; or does it?
As Ward one evening contemplated Lewis' earlier poem "The Planets" he realized the key this poem held to Lewis' Narnian tales. "The Planets" expressed the medieval understanding of the seven known planets of the time, including the influences they were believed to confer to both people and the Earth itself. Could Lewis have later built his Narnia books around this unifying principle? Could each of the seven books express the influence of one of the planets?
Trained as a medieval scholar, Lewis daily contemplated literature from a medieval mindset. Perhaps it is not so strange that Lewis would think to express his Christian faith through a pre-Copernican, medieval cosmology. As a Lewis scholar, Ward is very familiar with all Lewis' works, and he has believably proven his theory through numerous examples from Lewis' various writings. This book should prove stimulating reading for all Narnia fans from teens to adults.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers through their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review, and I received no other compensation.
-1point
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Review 9 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 29, 2010
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Kristenph
Location:North Carolina
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I can’t remember the last time I’ve read through a non-fiction book in 2 days, but I had trouble putting this one down. Michael Ward makes an excellent case for his theory about the underlying theme of the series in an easy-to-read, anecdotal style. The theory is very intriguing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read the Chronicles of Narnia and is interested in learning more about them.
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Review 10 for Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Will be re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia

Date:November 21, 2010
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Debra Brinkman
Location:Yoder, CO
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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I recently had the opportunity to read The Narnia Code by Michael Ward. I had no idea what to expect. On the one hand, the whole idea of a unifying theme to the Chronicles of Narnia is an intriguing possibility. On the other, I'm a bit leary of the whole idea. I've read some analysis before, and it always felt so contrived. I expected this to be more of the same.
Maybe it felt contrived because until now, nobody had found the key.
This was fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. It was also a fairly easy book to read. With the description of Planet Narnia, I was a little concerned that I was going to be totally lost in The Narnia Code. Maybe it is partially due to the exposure I've had to Roman mythology in the past few years. It certainly isn't because I knew anything about medieval cosmology.
I really think Michael Ward has hit on the key. And it was predominantly his discussion in the first two chapters that convinced me. He brought up a number of issues that have always niggled at me -- especially the more I've read Lewis's other works. Lewis always seems so logical, so methodical. But in Narnia, there are things that just seem to appear from nowhere. Father Christmas? Bacchus? Father Time?
Having read The Narnia Code, I want to sit down and re-read the entire Narnia series. Again. I really do feel like I understand it more now than I have before. Highly recommend.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.
-1point
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