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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Sword by Bryan M. Litfin is up on CFBA, with bonus review!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sword
Crossway Books (April 30, 2010)

Bryan M. Litfin


Bryan Litfin was born in Dallas, but 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.

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.

On the morning of January 6, 2007, Bryan woke up with an epiphany. Having finished writing his primer on the ancient church, he had the idea of trying his hand at fiction. The thought occurred to him that the writer of speculative fiction typically has two options. He can create an imaginary land like Middle Earth (which offers great creative freedom but is unrealistic), or he can delve into genuine history (which is realistic, yet limted to what ‘actually occurred.’) However, if a writer were to create a future world as in the Chiveis trilogy, it could be both realistic and creatively unlimited.

This little dream stayed in Bryan’s mind while he researched how to write fiction, and also researched the European landscape where the novel would be set. He planned a trip to the story locations, then went there in the summer with a buddy from grad school. Bryan and Jeff rented a Beemer and drove all over Europe from the Alps to the Black Forest with a video camera in hand. With that epic setting fresh in his mind, Bryan returned home and began to write.

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).


This novel of page-turning action and adventure poses the question, "If a society had no knowledge of Christianity, and then a Bible were discovered, what would happen?"

Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroyed the modern world, a new and noble civilization emerges. In this kingdom, called Chiveis, snowcapped mountains provide protection, and fields and livestock provide food. The people live medieval-style lives, with almost no knowledge of the "ancient" world. Safe in their natural stronghold, the Chiveisi have everything they need, even their own religion. Christianity has been forgotten—until a young army scout comes across a strange book.

With that discovery, this work of speculative fiction takes readers on a journey that encompasses adventure, romance, and the revelation of the one true God. Through compelling narrative and powerful character development, The Sword speaks to God's goodness, his refusal to tolerate sin, man's need to bow before him, and the eternality and power of his Word. Fantasy and adventure readers will be hooked by this first book in a forthcoming trilogy.

Visit the book website at The Sword to see amazing videos and a wealth of information about the trilogy!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sword, go to HERE

My review:

Similar in theme to the first novel, The Paradise War, in a trilogy by Stephen Lawhead titled The Song of Albion trilogy, The Sword by Bryan M. Litfin was incredibly addictive reading. It has been years since I pushed through a 400+ page novel until I finished because I didn't want to stop reading.

Part fantasy, and part medieval setting, The Sword transported me to another realm where it was the future, yet the story read like an Arthurian tale, only better. It felt more like historical fiction than the Planet of the Apes futuristic, because the setting resembled the dark ages with its swords and horses and general mayhem. In this story our modern culture/people were known as the ancients. I found The Sword to be compelling and emotionally gripping. It had non-stop action and intrigue as well.

The spiritual richness and analogies in this tale were powerful, too. It reminded me a lot of the first century church where believers had to deny their faith or be tortured and die. And the most amazing thing of all about this debut novel was that it read like it was written by an experienced, multi-published novelist. The plotting was superb, the setting believable, and the romance compelling. There was nothing weak about this novel. It was creative as well as insightful and theologically deep.

I highly recommend this book. The Sword the kind of story that really makes you think and it's a terrific beginning to a fantastic series. Novels that I can't get out of my head are the types of books I enjoy most (regardless of their genre), so that is one of the reasons it's making my best fiction of 2010 list. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series when it releases next year.

The Sword was published by Crossway books and released in April 2010.

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