Chuck Black has been a household name since we first learned of his Kingdom Series several years ago. At that time, my husband read the 7 book set to our three oldest children. Now he's on a second read through with our three younger children and they are just as enthralled with the allegorical storyline.
When the opportunity to review a new book by Chuck Black came out, I jumped at the chance. I was curious how this first book in this new series might compare to the one I was familiar with.
Cloak of the Light is set in current times and the main character is not a Christian. There are only a handful of believers in the book that cross the hero's path. This could be a prequel to Pilgrim's Progress--the hero encounters struggles that [hopefully] will lead him to becoming a pilgrim. In this first book, we have yet to have a pilgrim. By comparing it to Pilgrim's Progress, I don't mean to imply that this is an allegory but the main character does encounter his share of obstacles, much like Bunyan's Christian.
Drew Carter is twelve when the book opens and he has just lost his father. The reader grows up with Drew through those lonely and agonizing years without a father. In high school, Drew and his mother move to a new town and a better job to meet their needs. Thankfully, Jake, a friend of his dad's steps in and provides some masculine leadership and mentoring--largely in the form of survival skills on annual camping trips. Jake is available for Drew through many ups and downs with the challenges of starting at a new school, fitting in and facing a myriad of temptations.
Through it all, Drew makes one friend, Benjamin, who sticks with him through thick and thin. After graduation, they even attend the same college and continue to support one another in their respective pursuits. Then one fateful night Benjamin confides in Drew about the experimental work that he's been assisting a professor with. The prof has disappeared and Benjamin wants to replicate the experiment.
Things don't go quite according to plan and they're both in a lot of trouble. The rest of the book deals with Drew trying to handle the events that are set in motion and the new realization of another dimension and the potential danger therein. He's not sure who or what the menacing presence is but it's clear they are out to get him and will stop at nothing to eliminate him.
This was a fantastic read that I would say is geared to upper middle school to high school audience. There is some violence but not excessively portrayed. If nothing else, the violence clearly paints the boundaries between good and evil. Along with Jake, Drew has a friend who has intrigued him since high school--a Christian young lady who has refused to date him but prays for him and encourages him when he feels alone and abandoned. And isn't ashamed about her faith.
There are others in Drew's life who try to point him to the truth but he's just not ready to hear it. Not everything is resolved in the first book so readers will definitely be wanting to read the next installment; hopefully we won't have too long to wait!
The Cloak of the Light will be released on March 18. You can find out more about this first book in the War of the Realm series by visiting the author's web site. You can pre-order a copy today. While you wait, indulge yourself by reading the first chapter. Want to connect with other readers? Visit Chuck Black's Facebook page.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Cloak of the Light from Blogging for Books program for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.