Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book #29

The Gift, by Bryan Litfin. Paperback.

In Book 2 of the Chiveis Trilogy, Teo and Ana continue their search in a post-apocalyptic world four centuries in the future for the lost words of Deu, which we know as the New Testament. This novel includes swords, pirates, betrayal, kidnappings, darings rescues, forgiveness and discovery.

Litfin separates Teo & Ana on more than one occassion, allowing the main characters to develop their strengths, as well as their feelings for each other. Tension is developed well, and Litfin's skillful use of language is again on display. There were a few CBA tropes that appear here, such as Ana falling sway to the glamorous life, developing a love of fine clothing and high society out of nowhere. Of couse, the ultra-manly Teo remains upstanding and stalwart.

I do have one indelicate issue with the books. In these first two books, Ana has been imprisoned for many weeks combined, by a range of ruffians who continually threaten to rape her or sell her into prostitution. But for all the time she has spent alone with pirates and kidnappers and all kinds of horrible men, nobody actually treats her inappropriately. I did not "want" Ana to be raped, but I wonder if there is an underlying message here that being a victim of sexual abuse would make Ana less pure, both to Teo and to the Lord. This is a message that I find wildly inappropriate, and potentially harmful.

That being said, there are some aspects of the world and the story that I find encouraging. The fact that it takes place in Europe was cool, as well as the central role that Rome plays in the remnant Christian community. These are positions that are atypical among the CBA world, and appreciate Litfin's broad view of the Church.

My only worry about the series is whether it will sell enough to guarantee the publication of the last novel in the series. I am often tempted to wait on CBA series, especially genre series, to be complete before diving in. I have been caught hanging before, waiting for a further book that will never come. Christian fiction is itself a niche marketplace, and when a CBA novel strays from prairie romance, sadly the potential audience shrinks even further, and the line between a profitable and non-profitable book must be very thin.

While not trying to get my hopes up only to see them dashed, I do want 2012 to bring us the final book in the trilogy.


  1. Hi Alan -- Thanks for the nice review. I've been working on #3 all day. Don't worry, it's under contract and will be published. :-)
    Bryan Litfin
    p.s. I wasn't trying to send any message about abuse victims. I just didn't think Christian readers would want to read something brutal like that as their entertainment.

  2. Thank you so much for replying, Bryan -- I appreciate that, and am looking forward to #3!

    I certainly did not intend to imply that you were sending an intentional message, but I wonder that in our (evangelicals) desire to keep our entertainment clean and pretty, there may be unintentional messages sent.

  3. I read the first book in this series last year and was also bothered by Ana's ability to escape her dangerous situations unscathed, for the same reasons. I think it sends a very bad message to real victims of abuse. I also wasn't very fond of Ana's character... she seemed overly perfect and beautiful.

    I liked the first book well enough but I wasn't sure I wanted to read the second one. I may give it a try.

  4. My problem, Allison, is that once I'm into a series, I am all-in. So I will read the third one. But boy does Christian fiction send weird messages to females sometimes.