This book takes place a mere three weeks after the end of The Sword (which I reviewed earlier this month, right here). Teo and Ana have met scouts from a land called Ulmbartia, and are welcomed as heroes after Teo helps defeat some attackers. Ana is noticed by the top levels of Ulbartia’s social stratus, and is quickly welcomed into high society — which separates her from Teo. Everything looks wonderful in Ulmbartia.
But things are not always as they seem. Ulmbartia has a problem with people who are less than perfect; these Defectives are taken from society and never seen again. And there is even more hostility to the One God and His Book — even as Teo and Ana search for the lost second part of the Book. And Ana has to make a choice between the good life she’s been given and the man she owes her life to — a man she may even … love.
The Gift is a great sequel to The Sword. There is action (especially toward the end), there is suspense, main characters die or seem to die. There is theological exploration that reminds me of some of the questions that the Jews had of their Messiah — is He to be the conquering hero or the suffering servant? And which of these was Iesus Christos? We see the continuing development of an orthodox Christian theology as Teo and those with him begin to learn more and discover more about this ancient, lost faith called Christianity.
I’ve actually had this book done for quite a while (as you can tell if you watch the trailer above) — this series has grown on me, and I’m a little disappointed that the next book will be the last one (it’s a trilogy, after all) — though I’m hoping for a second trilogy. The plot moves, the twists and turns suck you in, and the characters are compelling (though I got a little frustrated at Teo and Ana constantly NOT declaring their love for each other). And once again, we get a glimpse of how theology may have developed in the early Church, and how different opinions and interpretations led to the many sects and denominations we have today. My recommendation of the Chiveis Trilogy is only strengthened after reading The Gift. It’s in stores — go buy it already!!