The Sword by Bryan Litfin

This novel was an interesting foray into the What If world. What if all except a few in the world were annihilated? What if those who survived didn't know much if anything about God? What if a demon of incredible power suffused... no, wait, that isn't right. What if an evil person who knew about God was influenced by Satan to suppress everything having to do with the one true God? But then one young man who happened to be a professor at a college found out about God. What a great concept!

In fact you will find two such books on Christian Book Stores shelves with this premise. Neither relate to the other and the story lines actually are a lot different.

In The Sword, you have all the elements of adventure and intrigue almost from the first page. The protag, Teofil, is rather two dimensional at first because we just don't know what he looks like, we don't know his name, but boy we've got an excellent man and bear fight over the fresh wild boar kill. The man was salivating over roasted pork ribs. The day is saved by a slip of a girl/woman who fires an arrow into the bear's chest.  I'm thinking this is going to be a most satisfying read. But, I'm only on page 29.

The characters are numerous, so much so, that if you don't read straight through you are likely to forget who is who. I am not saying this is a bad thing. Any reader knows that when a character is given a name, then you will meet that character again, so you try hard to remember who is who. Because this is a trilogy (book 1) I realize there will be a lot of characters, and it could be because I'm getting old, for me it was hard to keep track of them all.

The story takes place on earth 400 years after the catastrophe. There should be some things that are the same, but everything--building, landmarks, everything--was overgrown or completely gone, so there wasn't any geographic connection. I couldn't envision where this took place. Again, I'm not saying that it is a bad thing, it was just a little disconcerting for me because I knew it was earth, but nothing recognizable not even places. I know there is an analogy in some of the names, but I didn't catch them... like the place called Toon. My first thought was, "Wonder if we'll meet Daffy?" Call me sacrilegious.

For me, the story was good. I love good vs evil stories. I love it when the heroine isn't this weak-kneed, screamer. I love it when she's fiery and womanly. It is very hard to write, but Litfin captured this very well. There was nothing cartoonish about our Ana. I also love it when the rogues are truly, thickly evil.

I do recommend this first novel by Bryan Litfin. I warn you, if you'll be up late at night. Once you get all the characters straight, it is a delicious read.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sword
Crossway Books (April 30, 2010)

Bryan M. Litfin


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


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).

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