Review: THE SWORD, THE GARDEN, AND THE KING / by Michael Phillips

The Sword, the Garden, and the King / by Michael Phillips (Annals of the Forest, Book 1)
Sunrise Books     ISBN 9780940652705
MS     Grades 5-9     Rating: 5 THUMBNAIL_IMAGE

Michael Phillips  author of several historical fiction series, pens his own “fairy tale for children of all ages,” inspired by the tradition of C. S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia series) and George MacDonald (Scottish author known for his fantasy literature in late 1800s).

In The Sword, the Garden, and the King, fourteen-year-old Matthew Robinson and his siblings arrive for a visit at their grandparents’ house. At night Matthew dreams of animals and airplanes, perhaps influenced by the war stories his grandfather and great-grandfather told him over the years. When Matthew explores the nearby forest, he hears the animals talk and tell him about the King of the Forest – that’s when his adventure begins!

Two prairie dogs tell Matthew he has a special mission to serve the King. The next day, a crow takes him to meet him. Since he has never met the King, he doesn’t know that the crow works for an imposter. Matthew is taken in by the smooth lies spoken by the pretend-king, ones that appeal to his desires. He forgets his true mission as he falls under the imposter’s spell. Matthew must face the lies that have taken root within him before he can complete the mission for the true King. Will he be able to complete his mission?

Phillips creates a believable world where animals and humans interact and communicate with one another, where good battles evil in what looks like a English countryside but is a parallel world. The Sword, the Garden, and the King has the feel of Chronicles of Narnia in its spiritual overtones.

Recommended for public and school libraries, and fantasy lovers, especially Chronicles of Narnia fans.

— reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, 2014.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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