Crossway Books & BiblesThe Sword, The Chiveis Trilogy #1
Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroy the modern world, the kingdom of Chiveis emerges---where the people live a medieval lifestyle with little knowledge of the "ancient" world. What will happen when a young army scout stumbles across a strange book called the Bible---in a place where Christianity is long forgotten! 416 pages, softcover from Crossway.
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Customer Reviews for The Sword, The Chiveis Trilogy #1
I thought this book was amazing! Maybe because I don't have a lot of experience in the fantasy realm, but I thought the plot was wonderful and I enjoyed the characters. Because it's set in "our" future, the best part for me was the characters finding bits and pieces of our civilization. A blacktop road, a building, a car. Each time they find something there is wondering what it was and how it was used. I can't wait to get into the next book.
Anastasia and Teo live in Chiveis, a pastoral, Alpen-like realm where the people live simple lives – the majority engaged in Medieval-like occupations. There is however a striking difference between this setting and the one we are used to reading. Chiveis – as the novel progresses – reveals itself to be held under the rule of dark spiritual powers working to keep its people in ignorance and bondage.
First, I have to say that Crossway is one of my favorite publishers; they publish some very doctrinally sound, excellent titles for both children and adults. They don’t publish much fiction though, so when I saw that they were publishing a post-apocalyptic novel that takes place in a future world (similar to our own) in which the scriptures had been suppressed and lost, I couldn’t wait to read it. I absolutely adore dystopian fiction, and post-apocalyptic Christian fiction where the Bible is rediscovered? How good can it get?
Well, I have to say that despite my initial enthusiasm I was disappointed in the quality of this novel. The storyline is interesting and strong, but the execution is only mediocre at best. I hate to say that – really I do, but it’s obvious that Litfin has a story to tell but just doesn’t have the craft know-how to pull it off well.
The characters are at times inconsistent with the setting and world they are placed in. Anastasia for instance is virtually a paragon of virtue despite being raised in a pagan culture that celebrates debauchery. What ground is her morality built upon when there is no Christian virtues at place in her culture? Her parents also seem to celebrate her purity, and I am at a loss to explain why, as it doesn’t seem to be valued in Chiveis.
Another unbelievable point for me is how quickly the small group of believers in search of the newly revealed God Deu (as discovered in the Sacred Writings found by Anastasia and Teo – translated by the later) transforms itself into a type of New Testament church despite having read only fractions of the Old Testament.
Now, after all of that, the story is still interesting, and the series does improve in The Gift – the second novel in The Chiveis Trilogy. I’m just a bit disappointed in the execution of what could have been an incredible novel.
I received an electronic copy of this title in exchange for this review. All opinions are genuine and entirely my own.
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Review 4 for The Sword, The Chiveis Trilogy #1
Date:September 25, 2010
When I started reading "The Sword" by Bryan Litfin, I didn't realize that this would be a trilogy. (Alas...I guess I have two more books I'll be reading! I always do this to myself - case in point...The Hunger Games, Blackout...)Overall I found the novel to be an enjoyable read. The characters are fantastic and the kingdom and land described create for an epic setting. I found myself trying to determine where in the world the story is unfolding as there are small clues left throughout the book. The villain of the book is larger than life - she is truly one scary woman! I kept envisioning a Angelia Jolie-type actress every time I read a scene with the High Priestess of Astrebril in it.The story has adventure, revenge, romance, grief, hope, evil, friendship, etc. Nearly everything you'd expect in an epic-like book. My only criticism is that it probably could have been about fifty pages shorter. There were a few scenes that slowed things down a bit, but nothing that would prevent me from recommending the book or reading the next installments.One of the huge takeaways I have from reading "The Sword" is an admiration for the sheer amount of faith the two main characters - Ana and Teo - have to not back down and deny their faith in "Deu" (God as we know him in Judeo-Christian circles.) I found it inspiring that a future people could feel so drawn to an unknown God simply by the words found in Holy scripture. Really convicting for me to keep up with my daily reading in scripture.
"The Sword" was an entertaining Christian fantasy set in our future after modern civilization has fallen. The target audience appeared to be Christian adults (both women and men), but some teens might like it. The characters were varied, complex, and interesting, and I was curious about what would happen to them. The story was fast-paced and exciting with the action rarely slowing. The suspense was created by the physical danger to the characters and the attraction between the two main characters even though they were divided in their beliefs. (And I thought the resolution of this difference was handled in a nice and convincing manner.) The story was frequently unrealistic and inconsistent, and the characters acted in illogical ways. For example, two characters have a letter they desperately need to get to the prince and they know they can't get to him, yet they don't give it to a character that can and will see the prince. In the prologue, the author has a super-virus that--following his parameters and taking into account only the mail system--would have killed everyone in the world who received mail in less than four weeks, but he has it last for decades.Also, taking into consideration the only religions they knew, it seemed like the characters were a little quick to follow this new god and trust that he was good. Their firm belief was based solely on the first few chapters of Genesis and some Psalms. While God's guiding hand can be seen by the reader, it looked to them like God repeatedly failed to come through for them, yet they still believed.There was no bad language. There were several seduction scenes, but the sex was implied rather than explicit. There were a couple explicit torture scenes, but they weren't gory, just violent. Overall, I'd still recommend this novel as entertaining, clean reading. I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
In this ancient-future world, one particular people united themselves under a king and called their realm Chivels. The Chieisis also had their own religion: they worshiped four main gods under the guidance of a high priestess. Bryan M. Litfin creates a world four hundred years after a virus and nuclear war destroy it. Its a fascinating look at a what if scenario - what if life as weve come to know it ends? Bryans characters gripped my heart and definitely made me think about Gods word in a whole new way. I was quickly drawn into this suspenseful narrative filled with action, adventure and a compelling storyline that kept me engaged and caring for the characters and their situation until the end. Teo and Ana find a treasure, called the Sacred Writings. Teo has heard of these ancient writings and knows how to translate them into his tongue. These writings become a light that shines into the hearts and minds of the people he reads them to. God starts His work where two or more are gathered in His name. This is powerful stuff. God (who they call Deu) becomes more real to them than any of the four Gods theyve grown up with. It's amazing and scary to them.Maurice Teos mentor says, 'Deu is the all-creator. Hes not a God to be manipulated by rituals and good deeds and token offerings. He makes the plans; your place is to heed themTeo, I think you have to let Deu be the God He is, not the God you want Him to be.'Bryan shows the dark side of the high priestess, religion and how people get caught in the powers of darkness. The Sword is the first in a trilogy. Bryan concludes his book with you wanting to learn more about this colorful cast of characters and wondering about their next adventure. The sequel is scheduled to be released April 2011.
Similar in theme to the first novel, The Paradise War, in a trilogy by Stephen Lawhead titled The Song of Albion trilogy, The Sword by Bryan M. Litfin was incredibly addictive reading. It has been years since I pushed through a 400+ page novel until I finished because I didn't want to stop reading. Part fantasy, and part medieval setting, The Sword transported me to another realm where it was the future, yet the story read like an Arthurian tale, only better. It felt more like historical fiction than the Planet of the Apes futuristic, because the setting resembled the dark ages with its swords and horses and general mayhem. In this story our modern culture/people were known as the ancients. I found The Sword to be compelling and emotionally gripping. It had non-stop action and intrigue as well.The spiritual richness and analogies in this tale were powerful, too. It reminded me a lot of the first century church where believers had to deny their faith or be tortured and die. And the most amazing thing of all about this debut novel was that it read like it was written by an experienced, multi-published novelist. The plotting was superb, the setting believable, and the romance compelling. There was nothing weak about this novel. It was creative as well as insightful and theologically deep. I highly recommend this book. The Sword the kind of story that really makes you think and it's a terrific beginning to a fantastic series. Novels that I can't get out of my head are the types of books I enjoy most (regardless of their genre), so that is one of the reasons it's making my best fiction of 2010 list. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series when it releases next year.
The Sword by Bryan M. Litfin is the first book in the Chiveis Trilogy. 400 years after the world has fallen apart due to plague and nuclear war, small pockets of humanity are reestablishing civilization, but it's more similar to the Middle Ages than the 20th century. In mountain kingdom of Chiveis, the people work the land and serve three gods under the leading of the major god Astrebril. Teofil is the renowned leader of the Fifth Regiment of the kingdom of Chiveis, well respected for his fighting ability. Anastasia is from Edgeton, a city on the edge of the kingdom, who is well known for her beauty, singing, and skill with a bow. The two are thrown together and the sparks quickly fly, but they are distracted by learning about the god Deu who was worshiped by the Ancients and used the cross as his symbol. Denounced as evil by the High Priestess of Astebril, Deu has long been forgotten until a book of his sacred writings is discovered, and everyone who comes into contact with it finds their lives completely changed. I'm not normally a fan of fantasy, which The Sword has hints of, but the unusual premise had me hooked from the first page of history which convincingly describe the fall of civilization. While many of the characters are stock characters from fantasy series, the story is compelling and very fresh. It's fascinating imagining what it would be like for people who had never heard any stories from the Bible to encounter them the first time. How would they react? Would they see the same things readers do today? I also commend Litfin for refusing to give in to cliches. The small story of Rosetta's horse and foal shatters the illusion that Litfin is writing about some make believe version of God. This story has the potential of becoming an epic within the Christian fiction community. I look forward to reading the next story.
What would our world look like if we practically annihilated ourselves? The Sword takes a look at that prospect. Here's 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)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 & Captain Teofil of the Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Chiveis. The God of the Bible is lost until He is found by Anastasia & 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: criture sacre: Sacred Writing. Not only is Teofil a captain in the Royal Guard; he's 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. 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).I've 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. I was captivated from page one, & couldnt wait to keep reading. This book was provided by Crossway Books for review and giveaway purposes.