Beyond the Summerland: A magnificent work

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsChristian fantasy book review L.B. Graham The Binding of the Blade 1. Beyond the SummerlandBeyond the Summerland by L.B. Graham

Beyond the Summerland is a magnificent work — an adventure story that is compelling, fast-paced, and full of deep and rich characters. Deep in scope, filled with intimate duels and the clash of armies, it is a work that still maintains a sense of what man is and how his choices lead either to ruin or rejoicing. The race to an exciting and surprising conclusion will leave you hungering for more.

The story is seen primarily through the eyes of Joraiem, a young nobleman of the Novaana, who must journey to the town of Sulare to train and learn with fellow nobles the arts of battle, history, and leadership. But unbeknownst to him, Joraiem has been chosen by the Allfather to become something greater. With a love triangle, shipwreck, and battle with evil races bent on destroying those with faith in Allfather on all sides, Joraiem must use his newfound gifts for the benefit of himself, his friends, and perhaps the entire world of Kirthanin.

I am thrilled to find a Christian writer who writes fantasy well and doesn’t simply use it as a vehicle to preach or proselytize. Although Graham’s worldview is apparent throughout the book in obvious ways (such as leadership of the world belonging to the twelve, a fall from grace by humanity and one of those twelve leaders, and an age of suffering to one day be replaced by an age of Eden) he never falls into the trap of creating a world that replicates our own. Graham’s world is a world of his own making, not allegory or a replication of the Bible.

Although the story itself is intriguing, it is the deep intricacies of human nature that Graham willingly explores that most make this work a masterpiece of writing. No character is without turmoil, but faith in the Allfather’s will is what sees them through even in time of greatest peril. This is a great book to share with middle and high school children that they might gain from story what is so hard to teach through lecture or chastisement as Joraiem and his friends act courageously out of faith in a great God.

A book that will show you love, doubt, hate, revenge, courage and faith, Beyond the Summerland is a book whose surprise ending will leave you begging for more. The sequel, Bringer of Storms is as fascinating yet even greater in scope.

FanLit thanks John Ottinger III from Grasping for the Wind for contributing this guest review.

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JOHN OTTINGER III, a guest contributor to FanLit, runs the Science Fiction / Fantasy blog Grasping for the Wind. His reviews, interviews, and articles have appeared in Publisher’s Weekly, The Fix, Sacramento Book Review, Flashing Swords, Stephen Hunt’s SFCrowsnest, Thaumatrope, and at

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