Monday, August 20, 2012

The Sword

I have just completed reading the Chiveis trilogy by theologian Bryan Litfin. The first book is entitled The Sword. What is impressive to me is that this work is his first published fiction novel and it really pulled me in. Apart from the tendancy to fall into trite and uninspired character dialog from time to time, I give this effort very high marks and recommend this adventure whole heartedly.

In the year 2045, the Earth was ravaged by a killer virus. As nations tried to protect themselves from outside infection carriers, they quickly pulled into themselves and grew wary of all others. In the ensuing panic and saber rattling, nuclear war was unleashed and the planet decimated. A few pockets of humanity somehow managed to survive out of the ruin. Some 400 years later, mankind has begun to rebuild and reform into kingdoms of a feudal order. The technology of the 21st century has vanished and the history of the "ancients" is mostly forgotten. We are ushered into the small kingdom of Chiveis, situated somewhere at the base of what were the Swiss alps. A kingdom at peace, but a tentative one at that. King Piair is popular, regal, and long-serving, but he is controlled by the high priestess of Astrebril. The high priestess holds the true power in the kingdom and she owns a most dark and ruthless soul.

We are introduced to a farm girl from the outskirts of the kingdom named Anastasia who has caught the notice of Teo, a captain in the Royal Guard. When Ana is kidnapped by outsiders and presumed lost in the unknown Beyond, Teo crosses the border and rescues Ana. As they flee their captors, they encounter an abandoned city of the ancients. At its center they find an old cathedral. Following a series of subtle clues, they are lead to find an old bible that has been hidden away for more than 400 years, however the second half of the book has succumbed to rot and decay. Teo and Ana thus begin to learn of the one true God. A God of love and grace, not fear and control. They know then that they must bring this God back to Chiveis and spread the word to every corner of the kingdom. Yet the high priestess will not allow her authority to be impugned and puts out the order to kill anyone who will not disown this new god and swear fealty to Astrebril the beautiful. Teo and Ana are forced to flee Chiveis just ahead of the king's forces. It is their only hope of survival. Now, onto the second book in the trilogy, The Gift.