The Kingdom. By Bryan Litfin. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books. pp. 448. 2012. ($15.99 Print)
**As of June 16, 2012, the entire trilogy (The Sword, The Gift, and The Kingdom) are available for preorder on Amazon.com for $19.59.**
The Kingdom is Bryan Litfin’s conclusion to the Chiveis Trilogy. In these books, Europe has reverted to a somewhat medieval existence hundreds of years after wars and disasters reduced humanity to almost nothing and most of our advanced technologies have been forgotten. The kingdom of Chiveis, rising from the ashes of a lost civilization, has become closed off from the outside world and is ruled by a king under the strong-armed influence of a pagan priestess. It is in this environment that a young soldier discovers a long-forgotten book about a long-forgotten God.
The Kingdom is the longest of the three books, and for good reason: Litfin takes the reader from the Roma (Rome) to Marsay (Marseille), Jineve (Geneva) Sessalay (Sicily), and back to Chiveis for a climactic battle between the pagan forces loyal to the wicked high priestess and the Christiani willing to stop an evil empire from wiping out all knowledge of God from the Mediterranean world.
The book is full of swordplay, romance, and intrigue. It is wholly medieval, yet with vestiges of a long lost world that was once our own. Litfin gives readers a new experience in an old world, something fantastic filling the gap between the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, with a decidedly Christian plot and message. Imagine if the world was discovering the message of the Bible for the first time. How would they preach a unified gospel message? How would they organize themselves?
One thing I’ve noticed about great books is the idea of expansion, either through back story or new locations. Tolkein and Lewis did it, and even George Lucas did it with Star Wars. Ever since picking up The Sword, I’ve imagined what kind of stories could be told about the lands beyond Chiveis. Each book further expands on locations and people, adding to the mythos. I’ve been somewhat sad about seeing a conclusion to the trilogy, but Litfin has left the door open for further sequels. He’s sold me on them already. Let’s hope there are more journeys into the Beyond in the future.
I requested this book from the publisher for purposes of review.