Twenty two year old Joraiem Andira lives with his father Monias, mother Elsora, seventeen year old sister Kyril, and twelve year old brother Brenim near the village of Dal Harat in Suthanin, one of the four regions of Kirthanin. Kirthanin had been created by Allfather and was originally ruled over by the twelve Titans, but one of them named Malek rebelled and fled to the Forbidden Isle. The Novaana are the noble families of Kirthanin who oppose him. Twice Malek has tried to conquer Kirthanin, and twice he has been repelled by the combined efforts of the Novaana, the Great Bear, and the dragons, and now he waits under the once holy mountain of Agia Muldonai with his Malekim or "Voiceless," Back Wolves, and the Vulsutyrim giants, preparing for his third assault.
Joraiem's family is of the Novaana, and the Assembly has decreed that every seven years all the Novaana between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five must go to Sulare, known as "the Summerland," for training. There Joraiem meets Valzaan the blind prophet and the other young Novaana, including Aljeron from Werthanin who becomes his best friend, and Wylla Someris, princess of the region of Enthanin, with whom he falls in love. While in Sulare, they are attacked by Black Wolves and see a sign in the sky which indicated that Malek had returned to the Forbidden Isle, possibly to get ready to make his next move. So they go with Valzaan to the Forbidden Isle where they are again beset by Malekim, Black Wolves, and a Vulsutyrim. The women are captured, and the men are stranded. What will happen to them? Will they ever get home? Will Joreiam and Willa be able to get married?
I first heard about this book back in 2004. Then I had the opportunity earlier this year to meet the author, Lowell B. Graham, at a homeschool conference. The story is told well with a good balance of action and reflection, and it had no trouble keeping my interest up. Fantasy lovers should enjoy it, and while there are minor references to drinking ale, smoking a pipe, and dancing at a wedding festival, Graham's Christian worldview also shines through so no bad language or other objectionable elements are found. Some people may not care for the surprising nature of the rather abrupt ending. In fact, some people may not care for the ending at all, but then, he who writes the fantasy fiction gets to choose how it concludes. Bad things do happen to people. And it is really not the end, but, as book one in a five-book series, it is a cliff-hanger that prepares for the sequels which carry the story forward: Bringer of Storms: The Binding of the Blade Series #2; Shadow in the Deep: Binding of the Blade Series #3; Father of Dragons: Binding of the Blade Series #4; All My Holy Mountain: Binding of the Blade Series #5.
Has the Beauty of The Greatest Fantasy Tale of All
May 28, 2011
St. Paul, MN
Faerie tales and adventure stories have long held our imagination. Tales of far off lands with exotic beauty, of hair-raising dangers and evil warlords, of bravery and skill in the face of overwhelming odds -- such tales awaken our spiritual thirst for meaning and fulfillment in life. We've been blessed with fantasy authors steeped in a Christian worldview, great men such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have bequeathed a rich heritage of inspiring tales that Christians can embrace. Others have continued that legacy and in "The Binding of the Blade" series, L.B. Graham had picked up the mantle of Tolkien and Lewis.
"Beyond the Summerland", the first book in "The Binding of the Blade" series, contains all that's best in fantasy fiction. Written by a Christian trained in a reformed worldview (who's even contributed articles to IVP's Dictionary of Biblical Imagery), it doesn't have the baser elements that modern fantasy fiction often includes. But more than a clean work of fantasy, "Beyond the Summerland" is a well-crafted, tale that's sure to keep you riveted until its very unexpected ending.
The world of Kirthanin is a beautiful place with a scarred and ugly past. A fallen angelic figure has brought war and desecration to the land, but all that seems so far away now. But the peace of Kirthanin may prove to be an illusion.
Graham takes us on a journey through the length of the land with an assortment of interesting and many sided characters. Prophetic visions and hints of danger combine to add suspense and wonder to the tale. And the beauty and courage on display is almost palpable.
His tale is no copy cat, and the world he creates is believable and unique. The tale seems like it will go on forever, which it almost does. And by the end of the book, you are begging for more. Fortunately, there are four additional titles in the series, and if they are all as exciting and fast-paced as this book, I will certainly be picking them up.
More than a good story, a Christian view of the world pervades the tale. The characters struggle with making wise and right choices, a creator God is worshiped and the world is seen as his gift to men. The vision for the future is of a restored holy mountain and communion with the Creator in newly reborn world. The story lines intersect with our Christian faith in several key places. This adds to the value of the book and makes it an inspiring read that can help orient one's mind and heart appreciate the wonder of the Greatest Fairy Tale of all, that we are a part of. Jesus Christ and His restoration of our fallen world, is certainly the greatest fantasy tale of all. Graham's work helps us taste a tiny bit of the wonder of it all.
The book is written with young adults in mind, but I found it suitable for all adults and youth alike. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to continuing this series.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by P & R Publishing for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
This book starts off as a rather normal fantasy, complete with the standard average-young-man-who-discovers-hes-got-a-destiny main character. But the author skillfully builds the story into a gripping fantasy with a touch of romance. Joraiems struggles are believable and relatable for fantasy fans of both genders. Tense battle scenes are balanced with emotional struggles. The only problem for first time readers is the shocking plot twist at the end. Those who preserve through the entire series will come to understand it, even if they never are satisfied with the ending. My only other recommendation is to check the entire series out at one go. Once you read the first one, you wont be able to sleep until everything is resolved in the fifth book.
First of all, let me say, I absolutely love this series. It has depth and originality. It is one of my favorite fantasy series. Unfortunately, I feel that this, the first book, is not as well-written as the rest.One of the biggest problems with Beyond the Summerland is the lack of good character development. In my opinion, Joraiem is a fairly shallow, slightly annoying character. On the other hand, I know many people love Joraiem. This being said, one of my favorite things about the rest of this series is the amazing character development. It gets superb in the later books.I also felt that the book dragged on in some parts, and I took a long time to finish reading it, as it just didn't grab me. If you are looking for a high action adventure story, this series is not for you. If you want an interesting, well-crafted fantasy world with history and depth, then you may enjoy this book.To conclude, PLEASE DON"T LET MY REVIEW SCARE YOU AWAY FROM THIS BOOK! I love this series, and don't like to criticize it. The author has a good story, so I don't mind some flaws in the way it is told. Please try the first book. I recommend it for teens and adults.