Book Review: In the Kingdom of All Tomorrows

Book Review: In the Kingdom of All Tomorrows

About the Book:

Stephen R. Lawhead, the critically-acclaimed author of the Pendragon Cycle, concludes his Eirlandia Celtic fantasy series with In the Kingdom of All Tomorrows.

Conor mac Ardan is now clan chief of the Darini.

Tara’s Hill has become a haven and refuge for all those who were made homeless by the barbarian Scálda.

A large fleet of the Scálda’s Black Ships has now arrived and Conor joins Eirlandia’s lords to defeat the monsters. He finds treachery in their midst…and a betrayal that is blood deep.

And so begins a final battle to win the soul of a nation.

The Eirlandia Series:
#1) In the Region of the Summer Stars
(Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2XEXsMn)
(Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/31y9KXY)
#2) In the Land of the Everliving
(Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2F1H16t)
(Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/33wLZCq)
#3) In the Kingdom of All Tomorrows

My Thoughts:

First, you should know that this book does not stand alone. It is essential to the understanding of the story that you read books 1 and 2.

Stephen Lawhead is a well established author with a large collection of historical fiction works set in the ancient isles of Britain. He has also written fantasy and science fiction. This series incorporates the mythology of fantasy, drawing upon historical belief systems, and the realities of life in ancient Ireland. I personally think that the most challenging aspect of this book series was incorporating actual characters that were fairies and ancients gods/goddesses into the reality of a historically envisioned tale. I love fantasy, but this book often seemed to blur the lines between fantasy and history. Taking the entire tale as ancient myth and a certain way of seeing the world is what made it work for me.

As to the historical setting, the druids are perhaps a bit less dark in character in these novels than history informs us, but clan life and the war against the invaders was portrayed with all the violent historical aspects of reality.

The characters were well developed and their motivations believable. The books were complex, descriptive and difficult to put down. The bonds of friendship, the curiosity of seeking out truth and the honor of doing what is best for the sake of others are all strong themes within the work. I enjoyed the series from start to finish.

There was, however, a concluding section that I wish had been left out. Once the story is complete the author skips forward to St. Patrick and the coming of Christianity. What follows is a rather complicated pronouncement of prophesies. In reflecting upon this section it is clear that the author, through Patrick, is trying to explain that the Ireland that came before Christianity was part of the shaping of the people and that all that has brought us to the present moment can be honored as part of the greater story. And yet, I mentioned the lines between history and fantasy in this series seemed to blur at times. And Christianity is reality. The salvation of Jesus Christ isn’t built upon myths of the past. (Not to say that there isn’t some truth in mythology, you can read C.S. Lewis for more on that topic, but that the gospel is an entirely different way of seeing the world. It requires the re-ordering of our belief systems.) So I found this passage incongruous to the story as a whole and I wish the book would have ended without trying to justify the story within the context of Christianity.

That said, it is still an excellent story for lovers of history and fantasy alike.

I received a free digital copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.