Saturday, May 5, 2007

Captives and Kings by Craig and Janet Parshall

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Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, whether it is Christian fiction or secular. Most times, if I pick up a book and find it's historical, I'll put it back without a glance. But occasionally I've discovered a novel or a series that captures my attention and peaks my interest.

That is what I've found in "The Thistle and the Cross" series by Craig and Janet Parshall.

"Captives and Kings" is the second in the series and deals with Scotland and England as they were in 1606. War rages and revolution threatens as the Catholics and Protestants compete for who wears the crown and controls the country.

Andrew and Philip MacKenzie are Scottish brothers on opposite sides of the Lord. One is passionate about his faith and his country; the other is passionate only about himself and his own interests.

Tragedy befalls Andrew and his family, as an indirect result of Philip's careless selfishness. Forced to flee England, Philip sets sail for the New World, today known as the United States of America.

These novels are rich in historical fact, putting human faces on the stories read of in history books. King James rules in England, and the King James Version of the Bible is being birthed.

Two major themes I detected in this story are universal in their application and transcend time. First, religion can cause men to do things in the name of their God that do more harm than good, and zealots exist to serve the ends they think please God, but actually please themselves more.

And second, no man is an island. Even the most careless action can have wide consequences for families of the one doing the action. And the consequences can be life altering for all time. We need to take heed to what our decisions cause in the lives and the futures of others.

I highly recommend this series. To me, good historical fiction plays out like a motion picture for the mind. These novels do just that...I saw everything in my mind's eye, and I enjoyed both the story and the history presented in these pages.

As a homeschool mom, I also recommend this series as an excellent and entertaining history lesson. Older teens would greatly benefit from the knowledge of the founding of America, the battles raging in England and Scotland's part in it all, and the historical accuracy of the development of our Bible in modern language.

I give "Captives and Kings...the whole series for that matter...a full five bookmarks...and that is high praise from someone who doesn't care for historical fiction.

Happy Reading!


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