Between Two Kingdoms
By Joe Boyd
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2010, Standard Publishing
Paperback, 191 pages
"In this work of allegorical fantasy, author Joe Boyd takes us on a pilgrimage to a land of two kingdoms, but only one true King. An ancient land, where children never grow old. A living land, where foundations grow in trees and rivers sing and breathe. But also a dying land, where the darkness of a false prince threatens to swallow everything in its shadow.
Enter the adventure with Tommy, a child of the Great King, as he and his friends accept the challenge to live as grown men and women in the Lower Kingdom—where hope is hidden, vision is clouded, and pride twists truth into a beautiful yet deadly deception."
This book was such a unique read for me that I can't recall reading anything of this nature, with the one exception of The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, which is also allegorical in nature. The story in Between Two Kingdoms is told as a story that I think young children could appreciate just as well as adults because of the simplistic nature of the text. What intrigued me about this book was trying to figure out what each element of the story represented in reference to the Bible. Some things were obvious, such as the King being God, the Good Prince being Jesus Christ, and the River being the Holy Spirit. The interpretation of many elements though are biased according to how the author, Joe Boyd, interprets Bibical scripture, such as making the River female in nature, which would indicate Boyd's interpretation that the Holy Spirit is also female, which I do not agree with. Another interpretation that I found questionable was the Dark Prince and his true name, Adam. I could be wrong, but that tells me that the author interprets the origin of the Devil as the first man, Adam. I was completely baffled by the language that the Phantom Messengers spoke and what it was supposed to represent.
Many elements of the story were quite imaginative and fascinating, such as the behavior of the River, which was as playful and joyous as it could be peaceful and comforting. I love how the children could use such a simple thing as mirrors to destroy the Phantom Messengers by showing them their true selves. The Long Night was rife with metaphor, and I love good metaphors.
On the whole, I think this story is a great conversation piece for anyone interested in puzzling out the meanings behind the allegory.
The Cover: The cover is quite creative and original, using the title of the novel as part of the wrought-iron gate that separates the Upper and Lower Kingdoms from each other. The shadows in the background must represent the Lower Kingdom, by my understanding of the storyline.
First Line: "Mount Basilea pierced the highest clouds in the sky, rising up sharply from the center of a large island in the middle of a vast ocean."
The name of the mountain is the only part of this opening line that could be intriguing enough to entice the reader to keep reading. Ironically, this is also the only time that I recall the name of the mountain being mentioned in the entire book.
Favorite Quote: "The palace marked the heart of this mountain kingdom - the Upper Kingdom, which had no beginning, but always was. The Great King, whose name was ancient and unpronounceable, ruled the entire expanse of the Upper Kingdom - every tree and animal, every stream and pathway. His son, the Good Prince, faithfully served his father with eternal devotion. The King and Prince had justly and lovingly ruled their subjects for as long as anyone could remember."
Read For: Pages Read Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*