“The Realms Thereunder” by Ross Lawhead — A Book Review

“The Realms Thereunder” is an exciting and fascinating book of inspirational fantasy by the son of Stephen Lawhead, Ross Lawhead. The story centers around two young adults who vanished several years prior to the present only to resurface to a world that is now filled with danger. Daniel lives as a homeless waif, wandering the streets of Oxford looking out for the reappearance of vile creatures who inhabit an underground world filled with gnomes and trolls and “yfelgopes”.

Freya is trying her best to put the past behind her and her obsession with doorways and portals underscores her bad experiences from the past. For, both young adults disappeared into an underground labyrinth with ageless knights who battle a growing evil that threatens to destroy the world. And they did so simply by walking through the wrong opening!

Daniel and Freya traveled with the knights to the underground kingdom of Nidergeard. There, they meet the almost immortal sage, Ealdstan the Ancient who revealed that they alone could stop the coming war with his nemesis, Gad. The book weaves back and forth from the present to Daniel and Freya’s experiences in the past.

Freya is soon fooled into thinking she has joined a band of fighters preparing for the coming invasion and thus is neutralized. Daniel falls through another portal into a fairy land where he must commit a vile crime in order to return to our world in time to stop the coming evil forces.

The Sleeping Knights were a really fascinating and engaging feature of the story. I loved this aspect of ancient knights reawakening to defend the world against evil. I kept recalling the old knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” looking Indiana in the eye and saying “You chose wisely.” And, Ross Lawhead chose wisely. What great characters were these knights!

At first, the device of shifting back and forth between the present and the past was somewhat jarring. But, as the story progressed this feature was actually compelling as the story threads both reached a climax at the end of the novel. Well done.

“The Realms Thereunder” is well written and its fantasy worlds well realized and developed. The inspirational elements are toned down and, frankly, I would not call this book “Christian Fiction”. It functions well as a book in the secular world as well in the Christian fiction world. The reader will not be disappointed at the travails, trials, and triumphs of its two young adults. I can’t wait for book two!


* Book link –  http://www.amazon.com/Realms-Thereunder-Ancient-Earth/dp/1595549099/

Author’s Web site  –  http://www.rosslawhead.com/blog/

Participants’ links:

http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/“> Gillian Adams

http://tessbissell.wordpress.com/“> Red Bissell

http://www.AdventuresInFiction.blogspot.com/“> Keanan Brand

http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham

http://www.hiddenvalleysimplicity.com“> Melissa Carswell

http://jeffchapmanwriter.blogspot.com/“> Jeff Chapman

http://csffblogtour.com/“> CSFF Blog Tour

http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap

http://home.earthlink.net/~wyverns/“> Emmalyn Edwards

http://projectinga.blogspot.com/“> April Erwin

http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile

http://going-greene.blogspot.com/“>Tori Greene

http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/“> Nikole Hahn

http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/“> Ryan Heart<

http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com“> Timothy Hicks

http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/“> Christopher Hopper

http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner

http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen

http://krystisbooks.blogspot.com/“> Krystine Kercher

http://mharvireads.blogspot.com/“> Marzabeth

http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/?page_id=189“> Shannon McDermott

http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller

http://thebookfae.wordpress.com“> Mirriam Neal

http://www.questwriter.blogspot.com/“> Eve Nielsen

http://linalamont.blogspot.com/“> Nissa

http://www.leastread.blogspot.com/“> John W. Otte

http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com/“> Donita K. Paul

http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/“> Joan Nienhuis

http://justanotherbookbag.blogspot.com/“> Crista Richey

http://www.sarahsawyer.com/blog“> Sarah Sawyer

http://www.chawnaschroeder.blogspot.com/“> Chawna Schroeder

http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith

http://www.mindsinger.com/“> Donna Swanson

http://www.rachelstarrthomson.com/inklings/“> Rachel Starr Thomson

http://christiansf.blogspot.com/“> Steve Trower

http://frederation.wordpress.com“> Fred Warren

http://www.fantasyandfaith.com“> Dona Watson

http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger

http://www.theravenquill.blogspot.com/“>  Nicole White

http://finishedthebook.blogspot.com/“> Rachel Wyant

About Bruce Hennigan

Published novelist, dramatist, apologist, and physician.

Posted on February 19, 2012, in Breaking News, My Writing, Speculative Fiction, Steel Chronicles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Interesting review. I felt also that the book would also appeal to non-Christians.

    I’m here on the blog tour, and in accordance with some silly thing I’m doing on my blog, I’m hiding a kitten named Consubstantial here.


  2. Love reading your review on this story and think you did a great job. It is interesting in visiting other reviewers that most of us found the switching storyline confusing and a bit distracting. I am hoping he’ll tie the elements of the story together more in future novels.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat


  3. Bruce, a good review. After a while I adjusted to the story rhythm, too. What seemed most disjointed to me was Alex’s story line.

    Interesting point about the Christian elements, or lack thereof. Maybe that will change in book 2 as well.



  4. Like you, I really enjoyed reading about the knights, who just might be my favorite characters in the story.


  5. Aw…Keanan stole my comment! I too loved the sleeping knights. A nice touch by the author. Nice review!


  6. For me the jumps were too much, but I’d check out his writing in the future.


  1. Pingback: CSFF Blog Tour – The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead « A Christian Worldview of Fiction

  2. Pingback: Summer Reading Reviews Just for You! « Bruce Hennigan

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