Monday, April 19, 2010

The Sword by Bryan M. Litfin

“He who comes with the sword will proclaim the god of the cross.” (p. 58)

The world as we know it has been annihilated by a vicious virus and a nuclear holocaust. Few people are left upon the earth, and the ones who remain are so scattered that there is no way to build a global knowledge of what once existed. Thus the reader finds himself in the city of Chiveis among a group of people who have re-established a society that is ruled by a king and in which there are distinct classes of people. Everyone in the city “worships” Astrebril and a triune of lesser gods – all of whom are completely evil. The prophecy of the one who will come with the sword infuriates the High Priestess of Astrebril and sets this depraved, false religion on a collision course with the One God who created them all.

You know, I almost missed a blessing. I intended to let my 16-year-old son review this book for me. As a matter of fact, he read it several weeks ago, and I already had a review written based upon his comments. But God had different plans. I picked up The Sword and was immediately drawn into this future world/old culture and blessed by what I found there! There is a soldier in the Royal Guard named Teofil who has little use for religion of any kind including the religious cult that permeates the city he lives within. When Anastasia saves his life from a rogue bear while on a hunting trip, the course of his life changes in ways he never dreamed possible. Teo and Ana soon become the central characters of this adventurous, challenging tale, and the become the seeds from which the Lord resurrects the Christian faith.

You see, The Sword not only speaks of Teo’s amazing skills as a soldier, but it speaks of the Word of God that, once discovered, begins to change lives in dramatic ways. This tale is filled with great adventures, daring escapes, brave battles, dangerous situations and a spiritual truth that cannot be denied. When one must choose either death or God, which will it be?

Folks, this may be a futuristic type novel, but I am convinced that it won’t be long, should the Lord tarry, that we will face the same challenges that Teo and Ana face. Will we stand? Or will we deny the Christ who saved us? The Sword is an intelligently written novel that creates a world that draws you in and clings to your heart every single page. I eagerly await the second novel in the Chiveis Trilogy! I’m so glad I didn’t miss this blessing!

Oh, and my 16-year-old son? He loved it! This book is great for teens, and it will provide many open doors for very important conversations with the kids in your life! I highly recommend this book!


Bryan Litfin was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in a Christian home as the son of a seminary professor, pastor, and college president. In addition to Texas, Bryan lived in Memphis, Tennessee and Oxford, England, where he discovered that the house of his favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien, was only five doors down from his own. Bryan still enjoys epic adventure stories, as well as historical fiction. However, most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Upon finishing high school Bryan earned a degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee, where he somehow managed to be the valedictorian of his class despite spending as much time as possible hiking in the Smoky Mountains and attending football games. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Carolyn (a true Southern belle), he went on to study for a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays.

In 2002, Bryan took a position on the faculty at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he is a professor in the Theology Department. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. One of Bryan’s greatest joys is investing in the lives of his students at Moody, especially when he gets to take them on study tours in Europe and the Mediterranean. A lot of the places from those student trips show up in the Chiveis trilogy.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He is blessed by God to be married to Carolyn, and to be the father of two amazing children, William, 11, and Anna, 9. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains (which means getting far away from the Midwest – preferably to his beloved Smokies). The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and now serves as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.

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