Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Relams Thereunder

The Ancient Earth Trilogy - Book One by Ross Lawhead
Blog Tour - Day 2
A thousand years? Is that too long to sleep?

(click image for Amazon link or click link below) The Realms Thereunder - available from:

I received a review copy from Thomas Nelson of The Realms Thereunder
in conjunction with the February CSFF Blog Tour

Wayne Shepard interview of Ross Lawhead on The Realms Thereunder:

The story begins a half-millieum in the past with the tale of blacksmith who meets a strange man one night who requires his services. After shoeing a horse in a hidden cave with golden shoes, the blacksmith is taken to another cave for payment. When the blacksmith returns to the hillside, the cave opening his re-hidden and the old man is nowhere in sight. The Realms Thereunder cuts to modern day where two teenagers are missing for over two months. The two missing teens are Freya Reynolds and Daniel Tully.

Daniel comes from a broken home. He has little in the way of family, friends, or fun. Readers are introduced to Daniel as he hunts a strange man-like creature with needle-sharp teeth through downtown Oxford, England. Daniel becomes the hunted and is forced to kill the creature. Flash back eight years before and after a miserable birthday morning, Daniel and Freya accidently open a portal to the Realm Thereunder; a place in the far past. Daniel soon acclimates to life in the Realm, and feels like he's found his place at last. He has a purpose and others need him. He's no longer seen as an outcast but as a young warrior. Daniel found a new self confidence and courage during his journey.

Freya comes from a middle-class family and shares birthdays with Daniel. In current day Oxford Freya is an obcessive compulsive who feels she needs to pass through arches, doorways, and entrances multiple times. In her classes at Oxford she keeps to herself unless it is to argue with an instructor about existence of worlds and beings that are viewed as fable and myth. Freya knows better, she's experienced both and it terrifies her. Freya followed Daniel into the Realm and found she couldn't return by the path taken. Rather than the excitement and new life Daniel found, she instead found despair and worry of never returning home. Instead of embracing the adventure, she responded by withdrawing into herself. From the Realm Freya found fear and near-panic of the unknown.

Inside the bowels of the church, Daniel and Freya follwed step after step down a curving stairway that opened on a small room with two sleeping figures on stone tablets. The two warriors were dressed in armor and were covered by a light coating of dust. After waking, the two introduce themselves as Swiogar and Ecgbryt, two sword brothers placed in near-suspended animation awaiting the great battle. The pair find they have slept for a thousand years and were awakened by Daniel and Freya's accidental visit. Swiogar and Ecgbryt have fought evil together in the past, and question why they were awakened now. Perplexed at finding two children, the group leave the sleeping vault to journey to fabled Nioergeard for answers.

At the city carved from rock, the four travlers are introduced to Modwyn, Nioergeard's Lady. Regally dressed, she exudes a quiet power and grace before the weary four-some. Modwyn is introduced as the ward and protectress of Nioergeard. Standing on tradition , Modwyn asks Daniel and then Freya if each will accept her hospitality. It seeming a type of legal binding that all provided an assurance of good character and support. Once plegdes are accepted, Modwyn warms to the teens and sends them to their rooms to rest.

Finally, I wanted to mention Ealdstan, the ancient and very wise ruler of Nioergeard. After passing door after door and climbing stair after stair, Daniel and Freya meet Ealdstan in a distant part of the castle. He seemed half-senile at first, by the way he dropped off at the end of a discussion or in mid-sentence. But Modwyn explains that Ealdstan is thousands of years old, and spends much of his time contemplating matters of the kingdom. This explained to me that he had little use for speech, having spent so much time alone. It wasn't that he was some type of backroom Wizard of Oz trying to hide behind a curtain, rather it was the fact that his farsighted planning had saved the city much over the centuries.

Day 3 Blog: Portals, Yfelopes, and a Langtoor, oh my!
Day Three I'll discuss some possible symbology and thoughts while reading The Realms Thereunder.

*Participants’ links:
Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Theresa Dunlap
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Joan Nienhuis
Crista Richey
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant


Keanan Brand said...

Excellent review! Just enough information without spoiling the story, something I'm afraid I'll do.

Fantasythyme said...

Thanks, Keanan. I try to find a balance between providing enough information to interest a reader in the book, and not so much information that it gives away too much of the story.