Friday, May 06, 2011

Bryan Litfin's The Gift ~ Reviewed

The Gift,
by Bryan M. Litfin
Book Two in the Chiveis Trilogy
416 pages
Publisher: Crossway
(March 31, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143352516X

A fantasy of adventure and faith.

For those of us who haven’t read the first book in the trilogy, The Sword, the author provides a Prologue to bring us up to speed: Hundreds of years in Earth’s future, war and disease have destroyed civilization as we know it. Modern technology has vanished and history is largely forgotten as the survivors struggle to rebuild their world.

In the alpine kingdom of Chiveis, Captain Teofil of the Royal Guards Fifth Regiment and Anastasia of Edgeton have found the Sacred Writings of the One True God. This opened up new spiritual horizons for not only Teo and Ana, but for a community of seekers who long to know the God of the Ancients. But their knowledge is incomplete, because the last portion of the book, the New Testament, is missing.

Opposed by enemies who don’t want the truth exposed, Teo and Ana travel across the mountains to the unknown world on the other side in search of the missing writings. The Gift begins with the pair three weeks into their journey.

There’s no shortage of action here, as the two face conflicts from within and without. There’s a wolf attack and subsequent infection (which can only be defeated through use of a rare elixir of bread mold), underhanded plots, doubts and temptations, and a nasty villain complete with henchmen. Add a stiff dose of romantic tension, and you’ve got a gripping tale.

But it’s more than just a fast-paced read. The story pictures the Christian themes of sacrificial love, repentance and forgiveness. It explores the issue of worldly materialism and superficiality of lifestyle. It provokes us to examine our attitudes toward people who are different or considered inferior -- to consider whether God is able to preserve His word – and to ponder questions concerning Rome and the papacy.

Though some might find the messages a little too overt and heavy-handed, the author spins a good yarn and gives us plenty to ponder after the book is over. Moreover, if his points are somewhat unsubtle, he has good excuse: he’s a professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute. Plainly, he knows his stuff. Too bad textbooks can’t be as fun to read as this.

Reviewed by: Yvonne Anderson

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