Faerie tales and adventure stories have long held our imagination. Tales of far off lands with exotic beauty, of hair-raising dangers and evil warlords, of bravery and skill in the face of overwhelming odds — such tales awaken our spiritual thirst for meaning and fulfillment in life. We’ve been blessed with fantasy authors steeped in a Christian worldview, great men such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have bequeathed a rich heritage of inspiring tales that Christians can embrace. Others have continued that legacy and in “The Binding of the Blade” series, L.B. Graham had picked up the mantle of Tolkien and Lewis.
Beyond the Summerland, the first book in “The Binding of the Blade” series, contains all that’s best in fantasy fiction. Written by a Christian trained in a reformed worldview (who’s even contributed articles to IVP’s Dictionary of Biblical Imagery), it doesn’t have the baser elements that modern fantasy fiction often includes. But more than a clean work of fantasy, Beyond the Summerland is a well-crafted, tale that’s sure to keep you riveted until its very unexpected ending.
The world of Kirthanin is a beautiful place with a scarred and ugly past. A fallen angelic figure has brought war and desecration to the land, but all that seems so far away now. But the peace of Kirthanin may prove to be an illusion.
Graham takes us on a journey through the length of the land with an assortment of interesting and many sided characters. Prophetic visions and hints of danger combine to add suspense and wonder to the tale. And the beauty and courage on display is almost palpable.
His tale is no copy cat, and the world he creates is believable and unique. The tale seems like it will go on forever, which it almost does. And by the end of the book, you are begging for more. Fortunately, there are four additional titles in the series, and if they are all as exciting and fast-paced as this book, I will certainly be picking them up.
More than a good story, a Christian view of the world pervades the tale. The characters struggle with making wise and right choices, a creator God is worshiped and the world is seen as his gift to men. The vision for the future is of a restored holy mountain and communion with the Creator in newly reborn world. The story lines intersect with our Christian faith in several key places. This adds to the value of the book and makes it an inspiring read that can help orient one’s mind and heart appreciate the wonder of the Greatest Fairy Tale of all, that we are a part of. Jesus Christ and His restoration of our fallen world, is certainly the greatest fantasy tale of all. Graham’s work helps us taste a tiny bit of the wonder of it all.
The book is written with young adults in mind, but I found it suitable for all adults and youth alike. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to continuing this series. P & R Publishing is offering a free e-book of Beyond the Summerland for a limited time at their website’s home page. I encourage you to get a taste via the e-book and then get yourself a copy of this great title.
See an expanded version of this review, including the links to the free e-book and the free e-book desktop reader, at CrossFocusedReviews.com.
This book was provided by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.