Starting in medias res, it was a bit confusing trying to figure out the setting and the characters, but by the end (which is a cliffhanger) I couldn't wait to read the next book. The characters had firm faith in the Bible, although they did seem to quote verses which hadn't been written yet!
My thirteen year old son read this book when he was ten. From the first page he was hooked! Afterward, he seemed to be begging for more.
Foundlings is two story lines, one about Lord McDougal and Fergus Leatherhead and the second about Thiery and his search for his past. Foundlings shows courage and strength in God through McDougal, logic and cleverness from Fergus and the trust and faith in God from Suzie and Thiery. The dwarf Gimcrack shows someone who wants to become a Christian but is too scared of the past but gives in and becomes a devout Follower in God.
After my son read the story, he lent the series to basically every boy in our church. They all loved it. I would recommend it to many of my friends to show their children the faith and courage of people in the days of Peleg.
I give The Peleg Chronicle Trilogy 5 bright stars!
Travel through underground cities, calm seas, death dungeons, dark forests filled with evil creatures and more in Matthew Harding's epic Peleg Chronicles. Set in the years following the Global Flood, a young boy and girl must battle a world filled with evil and hatred toward a perfect God.
Harding creates a plot thickened, but not overly done, with excitement and love for all of God's creations. Best of all, Harding has created a series that has absolutely zero inappropriate scenes, words, actions, etc. He creates a world that is evil, without making the book series bad. This series can be read to any child that can understand and any adult that listens. Harding has created a masterpiece.
Jacob: What gave you the idea for the Peleg Chronicles?
Harding: The intro to your interview is one of the main reasons I wrote the Peleg Chronicles. Everything that had dragons or giants in them also had magic. Our kids get excited about these things, and Satan has taken what God's Word says are real, and twisted them into something that takes God and His glory out of the picture. I wanted to write something that was in harmony with God's Word, history, and the creation, knowing that to many it might feel like fantasy.
Jacob: How long did it take to write the first book? Second? Third?
Harding: Each book took me about six to seven months to write.
Jacob: What kind of support did you receive?
Harding: My wife and children were an incredible support. Every day they wondered how much further I had gotten. On the last book I let them read each chapter as I finished them so that they could be a bigger part of the process. Their prayers and support for the books were a huge blessing.
Jacob: Where is your story placed? Any modern location? Why that place?
Harding: I do have a general idea in my head where the story takes place but I didn't share that information in the books so as to add to that feeling of the Babel dispersion effect - not knowing where in the world everyone else had gone to and not knowing exactly where your family group is in relation to the rest of the world's lands. The area in my head was especially changed by the rising sea levels (approximately 400 ft.) during the "ice age".
Jacob: Why foundlings?
Harding: I love the sound of that word. When I was in Thailand as a brand new believer, I stayed at an orphanage, called Christian Happy Home, in the jungle. It was run by a Native American woman who travelled to Thailand not knowing the language or anyone in the country and she began rescuing children who had either been orphaned or sold by their families into begging rings and worse. It had a profound effect on me.
Jacob: Did any of your characters represent people in your life?
Harding: Not completely, though aspects of some characters were taken from real people. For example, the high-pitched laughter of McDougal can occasionally be heard coming from myself. McDougal, to me, represents fathers in general in that we often feel self conscious, defeated, or insufficient to the task of being the leaders of our homes. Yet, when we keep our eyes on God, and the needs of our wife and children, we can truly be the greatest of heroes.
Jacob: Who is your favorite character?
Harding: That's a tough one. I especially like Fergus Leatherhead, Diego Dandolo, and Percival.
Jacob: Are some of the places in your book based on anything historical (e.g. Dwarven Brotherhood's underground kingdom)?
Harding: Yes, the Dwarven Brotherhood and the underground kingdom are a conglomeration of things taken from history. There are some huge underground cities in turkey, some of which were estimated to house about 30,000 people. There was a community of dwarfs from ancient times that lived in America though it is a mystery what became of them, and of course there are dwarf communities still surviving today - the pygmies of Africa.
Jacob: Is the death hunt historical?
Harding: I wouldn't be surprised if it was, but I made it up loosely based upon the surprisingly huge role that animals have played in war down through the ages.
Jacob: Is Princess supposed to be a pterosaur?
Harding: Probably, but who knows what other flying serpent/dragon/dinosaur fossils will be found in the future.
Jacob: Why are the dragons like mythical dragons (in your books) when they are supposed to be dinosaurs? Are you trying to make them more like pterosaurs?
Harding: This question is somewhat akin to one of the reasons why I had the dwarves living under ground, which has also been popularized in fantasy fiction, movies and games. I wanted to take what the world has called fantasy and play with possible ways that true creatures and peoples could have plausibly lent themselves to what later became myths.
Underground cities are obviously not the best environment to live in, but they are good for defense, for a people not otherwise capable of great defense against a stronger foe. So I merged the idea, and it lends itself to further study for those who might be interested.
I thought along similar lines when using the artwork and depictions within my writing of flying dragons. I looked at a lot of old art and ancient art, and read some fascinating accounts where people saw flying dragons, and of course we have fossil records of what could be termed as flying dragons. Lately they have found a new dinosaur that so closely resembles the look of the 'mythical dragon' that headlines such as 'Dragon or Dinosaur' have been used referring to it. I've also read Creation Scientist reports about how large Pterodactyls could not lift their body mass into the air in today's environment, so something must have been different. They postulated that whatever it was might have changed slowly during the time after the flood (during the ice age), which might explain the gradual loss of human longevity. Again, exciting stuff for further study.
Jacob: Any more books readers can look forward too from you (in or out of series)?
Harding: I have a number of side story ideas to go with the Peleg Chronicles, but for now I'm working on a new series called Ebenezer's Land which takes place in the year 2026.
Foundlings, book one of Matthew Christian Harding's Peleg Chronicles is set some time in the post-Flood world in a story that pits the followers of the God of Noah against the Cult of the Dragon.
Harding's writing reminds me of Beowulf, Tolkein or [to a lesser degree] Hickman and Weis' secular Dragonlance Chronicles. The back cover promises that there will be no magic, no humanism and no evolution in this fantasy adventure and Harding keeps those promises without sacrificing a good story. He peppers his character's speech with allusions to the Book of Job and the Psalms and heroic rhetoric praising the God of Noah and the merits of honor and battle. The allusions to Beowulf are quite on purpose; Harding's book explores the possibility that Beowulf's exploits reflect actual historical events in a post-Flood world still plagued by dinosaurs, reptilian sea monsters, and lyftfloga [flying pterosaurs]. The characters face numerous foes, both human and otherwise, relying on God's strength and provenance.
The characters of Foundlings are probably its strongest attribute. The Quixotic Lord McDougal the Friendly, the Just, the Dead; his loyal but emotionally constipated shield-bearer Fergus Leatherhead; the dwarf Gimcrack; the giant Oded the Bear; the intrepid young Ranger Thiery; the brave Susie and her bear Griz; Igi Forkbeard; and all the rest are well-sketched and draw you into the tale very quickly.
Readers should keep in mind that Foundlings is something of an introductory adventure in the spirit of The Fellowship of the Ring. In fact, my only complaint is that the story follows two strong protagonists whose storylines intermingle but never quite meet. I would've preferred a stronger antagonist as well. Perhaps in the next book_
I recommend Foundlings especially for young boys and teen readers with a taste for adventure. I look forward to reading book 2 of the series.
You can find out more about the Peleg Chronicles at MatthewChristianHarding.com.
-Rev Tony Breeden
From the Bookwyrm's Lair
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."