Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor is Book 5 in Chuck
Black's novel series The Knights of Arrethtrae. The series is an
allegory of the spiritual warfare that we are constantly engaged
in as Christians. In the land of Arrethtrae, there are two types
of knights--Dark Knights and the Knights of the Prince. Working
in the background, often unbeknownst to the knights, are Shadow
Warriors (on the side of the Dark Knights) and Silent Warriors
(on the side of the Knights of the Prince). Thus the stage is set
in the land of Arrethtrae for the battles that are waged for the
souls of the people.
Twitch and Tav are two young men that have been raised together
in a village in Arrethtrae where few now aspire to the knighthood
that was once revered. A merchant in town begins to give away little
creatures to the youth of the village called paytha. The paytha
are warm and cuddly and very trainable. They also reproduce quickly.
While they appear to be harmless and cute, very quickly they begin
to take over the town and rule their owners. Twitch begins to sense
a danger in the creatures, but Tav is quite taken with them. One
day the two boys are summoned to a mountain to meet with Sir Baylor,
who is Tav's uncle and a Knight of the Prince. They don't know
why they are being summoned. Lured away by his paytha, Tav doesn't
go, but Twitch meets with Sir Baylor and witnesses a battle he
can not comprehend. As it turns out, he is the one chosen by the
Prince to lead an elite group of knights called the Swords of Valor,
and he is given a new name--Sir Quinlan.
The Swords of Valor embark on a quest against an evil invasion,
but when tragedy strikes, Sir Quinlan is blamed and loses his courage.
He can't understand why he was chosen to lead when he is so inadequate.
Tav and his other friends are training as knights as well, but
their loyalty is superficial, and they are distracted by their
allegiance to their "pets." Quinlan leaves the village and meets
Taras, a messenger sent by the Prince to assist him in becoming
all that he was intended to be. Through an intensive training program,
Quinlan becomes all that the Prince sees in him and goes on to
lead the Swords of Valor to a stunning victory over the Dark Knights.
The story explores the deception of sin and the trap of our own
desires and inadequacies. It also explores the redemption through
Christ after failure. While Chuck Black's setting for these books
is one of knights and castles and warriors, the story line will
appeal equally to girls as well as boys. While children of almost
any age would enjoy the story, those in middle and high school
would get the most out of the allegorical meanings within the novels.
I highly recommend these books, which come with a study guide,
for any family wanting to explore these deep issues in a relevant
and meaningful context.