There was a reason that Jesus taught in parables. He knew that stories can convey deep truths in ways that a long explanation cannot. (Well, after all, He knows everything!). It surely makes sense to follow His example when we want to teach biblical concepts to kids: word pictures deliver!
If you have ever read Pilgrim’s Progress or Hinds Feet on High Places, you know that an allegory can take story telling to the next level. That is what Ed Dunlop, author of the Terrestria Chronicles, has set out to do in his stories. I received a copy of “The Crown of Kuros,” and “The Dragon’s Egg,” in exchange for my review of these books. They are book #4 and #5 within the 7 books that make up the series.
Set in the realm of King Emmanuel, Lord of all of Terrestria, within the walls of The Castle of Faith, the princes and princesses that serve the King find their commitment to Him tested in various ways. Both stories follow young Prince Josiah who has, in prior volumes, been freed from slavery to the wicked Argamor, (the King’s nemesis, who desires to cause unfaithfulness to King Emmanuel throughout the realm). Josiah is now in grateful service to the true King.
He and his fellow young noblemen, Prince Selwyn and Princess Gilda, are in the King’s employ and have various quests and errands that are entrusted to them as they serve in The Castle of Faith. The cast of characters in each story have names that, in most part, describe just that: their character! Names like Sir Faithful, Sir Dedication, Sir Pretentious and Captain Assurance will help the reader see how these traits play out in the lives through each individual's interaction. Or, how about Captain Covetousness and Captain Discontent as part of the crew of the bad guys? The way these chronicles state the obvious will help the reader recognize these attributes in their own lives.
In The Crown of Kuros, Josiah’s faithful heart is tested. He joyfully serves King Emmanuel but occasionally has his own agenda and is tempted by a desire to be recognized for his own glory. In fact, he learns that a rash act of impatience on his part, has perhaps cost the security of the realm.
Whoever holds the Crown of Kuros, controls the land of Terrestria. When it comes up missing from its secure place in the Castle of Faith, Josiah is determined to help bring the crown back. The quest leads him and Prince Selwyn into the underworld of Argamor where they overhear Argamor’s commanders plotting how they will overthrow the land of Terrestria. The evil doers know they cannot win by sheer force, as their numbers are much fewer than that of King Emmanuel. But there is a much more powerful method that they have devised to conquer the land: one heart at a time.
Through the use of “Spellavision” and seducing music, as well as a variety of subtleties such as making women discontent with their role as wife and mother, Aragamor’s minions have devised a subtle but formidable attack that will destroy Emmanuel’s kingdom from within itself. Through the power of allegory, your children will recognize how each of these temptations in Terrestria are very real struggles that are present in their lives today. Seeing how the people of the land are seduced-- or how they overcome-- will surely bring to light the struggle against evil that each of us face.
In the meantime, Josiah must come to grips with conflicts and struggles within. He is also haunted by the notion that the crown's disappearance just might have something to do with his own shortcomings. He is more determined than ever to recover the crown of Kuros to its rightful place in The Castle of Faith.
Once again, in The Dragon’s Egg, we find Josiah, zealous as always to serve, yet continuing to make selfish choices. This time The Castle of Faith and the land of Terrestria will be in grave danger thanks to Josiah’s secret sin. The thing that once seemed so innocent and so easily justified has taken on a life of its own! Your kids will recognize Satan’s ability, as old as the Fall of Man, to twist the words of Emmanuel and make us doubt the instructions He gives. Your children will see that those secret “little sins” are just as big as the obvious ones...and can be much more destructive.
Through the power of story, so many biblical truths come to light. In a very tangible way your kids will relate to the struggles, the temptations, and the promises of scripture that are reflected throughout the character’s adventures. I would give both books two thumbs up for their ability to make plain the truths of scripture, although the technical side of writing falls short. I think a good set of editorial eyes would be beneficial to Mr. Dunlop's terrific tales; yet it is doubtful that kids will be overly deft in this area.
To check out all of the Terrestria Chronicles, as well as other books written by Ed Dunlop, click here. Each paperback book sells for $7.99, or $39.99 for the set, (hardcover sets available at a higher price). You may also purchase a study guide which goes along with the entire set; this would be a great addition to family devotions.