A few months ago, my husband and I were searching the shelves at a nearby Bible bookstore with a goal in mind. The criteria was simple, or so we thought. The book needed to have a medieval theme and be age appropriate for our teenage son. We wanted to encourage his love of reading by providing the stimulating subject with which he was already enthralled. And yet, as we looked for a book to give him for Christmas, our search was met with disappointment. Looking back now, I can see God's hand at work just a few weeks later in providing what we needed.
I did not realize when TOS Publisher, Gena Suarez, handed me The Kingdom Series by author Chuck Black one Sunday afternoon, just what that would mean for our family. It was for this very reason that this father of six was led to write for his own homeschooled children. He, too, saw the need for books of this caliber. Wholesome, character-building stories packed with action that kept his children excitedly coming back for more. What boy or girl isn't intrigued by sword fighting, battle scenes, and keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-adventure? Even more, Chuck realized that there was a greater importance to his writing - to make a spiritual impact, as well.
That is why his series of four books, Kingdom's Dawn, Kingdom's Hope, Kingdom's Edge, and Kingdom's Reign, are a Biblical allegory. In the author's own words, this is clearly explained, "The Kingdom Series is a four book series that is a medieval action/adventure Bible allegory which covers the span of time from Adam through the Millennium. Leinad is the main character in books one and two and represents all of the Old Testament prophets. In books three and four, Leinad mentors Cedric who is the main character and represents all of the Christians after Christ's sacrifice. There is no magic, wizardry, or mysticism." His hope is that these books will inspire the reader to go to God's Word to learn more.
Our family chose to read the series together aloud, and what fun and a blessing that was. My 17-year-old daughter, Kayla, shared with me a spiritual observation she made. Leinad's father teaches him all he knew of sword fighting, as his father is quite skilled because the King himself had trained him. However, evil Lord Fairos defeats Leinad. Yet, when Leinad receives his own training by the King, he then becomes the superior swordsman. My daughter noted, "That's how it is with us, since your parents can only teach you so much spiritually and then you have to have your own relationship with God." On another day, as we were taking a lunch break from reading a few chapters, my 10-year-old-son Benjamin spontaneously prayed, asking God to help us be better Christians. I'm certain that what we had been reading that day had touched his heart and prompted him to pray this simple prayer (He also thanked God that Chuck Black wrote these books!). I know I'm thankful for the ways I'm seeing my children's hearts touched in this way.
In speaking with author Chuck Black, I learned that his own family has been a part in the Kingdom Series right along with him. His son, Reese, is quite knowledgeable in history and was able to provide pertinent information about the time period that assisted his dad in writing. Chuck's daughters, Emily and Brittney, composed and recorded the four theme songs. I would highly recommend that you go to the Perfect Praise web site to hear these beautiful pieces of music. They are so enjoyable that I've listened to them several times. Andrea, Chuck's wife, was the primary editor of all four books. However, she was not alone in this endeavor. Brittney's skills in grammar and proofreading had reached such a level of expertise that she worked along with her mother and was considered her co-editor. What a blessing to hear that this project brought them together with their gifts and talents, rather than taking this father's time away from his family.
Evidently, this author's gift of writing had been tucked away until God's time and purpose for it were to be revealed in this way, as writing is a new adventure in Chuck's life. You wouldn't know it by his ability to describe characters and scenes so vividly that even the emotion of the passage can be felt. As my four children and I read the Kingdom Series, we excitedly related the people and events to familiar Bible stories. We vividly saw the fall of Adam and Eve, Moses being prepared to carry out God's plan to free His people, and much more. And yet, as my children raced to call out the Bible character or scenario that they recognized, the Kingdom Series is anything but predictable. Often I was caught by surprise with the events that took place.
What amazes me is how well the books can captivate readers of such a range of ages. My children range in age from eight through 17, and each of them thoroughly enjoyed the stories. And this 40-something mom often found that she was just as caught up in them, excitedly reading further (and not necessarily because the children were cheering her on to do so!). Many a lunch hour was overextended in order to hear what would happen next! As we came to the end of Kingdom's Dawn, the first of the four books, my youngest, Sarah, asked with disappointment, "Is that all?" She grinned happily to hear there were three more.
I also appreciated the opportunity to expand my children's vocabulary. We began keeping the dictionary handy in order to look up new words. The reading material challenged in this way without being over the heads of our younger listeners. The new vocabulary words were definitely beneficial to my children's education. And as for 13-year-old Zachary, he has enjoyed the books just as much as the rest of us. In all honesty, I have to admit that originally I planned to assign the reading to him and his older sister, since typically these sort of stories don't catch my interest. But once I became intrigued enough to begin the first book, the rest is history.
Perfect Praise Publishing's web site gives you an opportunity to read the preface and first two chapters of each of the four books in the Kingdom Series. You can also read other reviews and read about the author, hear a radio interview, check out the striking book covers, and order your own copies of this remarkable series.