“…the spiritual discernment and imagination of C.S. Lewis…the fast paced action…is compelling.” Read Smartt, Christian Broadcasting Network
The Island is a paradise of wide beaches, palm trees, clear azure waters over beautiful coral reefs, and a wetland wilderness full of wildlife. But its natural beauty has been marred by the intrusion of its conquerors, who have turned it into a battleground for their competing ways of life and a graveyard for their children. It is divided by just about everything–race, religion, culture, politics, and economics, and those divisions have placed the hope of return to “normalcy” beyond the imagination of its inhabitants.
But the Island is not moulded by forces, but by people. At its root this work is the story of one woman whose single-minded pursuit of her purpose results in a total transformation of her life, her ministry, her position in affairs of state and ultimately of the people and nations around her. It leads her to places no one predicted she would go, to bring life and love to situations where none was thought possible–and ultimately to face the cross itself.
The Island Chronicles also have a “prequel”–The Ten Weeks, which takes us back a quarter century on an adventure through high school life in the early 1970’s.
The first book begins at the end of the one of the Island’s bloodier wars, the war for Drahlan independence. Crown Prince George of Serelia (the losers) comes for the independence ceremony. But he has another mission; suspecting that his old allies the Verecundans have an Island takeover plan, he enlists the assistance of Terry Marlowe, a Verecundan exile and Drahla’s Royal Counsellor. He puts together a state visit team of himself, his wife Princess Darlene and Terry. What Terry does not know going in is that Darlene’s brother, now dead, was the one who killed Terry’s husband in war and murdered her infant son in a massacre. Now they not only have to deal with that revelation, but with their discoveries concerning the left-wing Verecundans, facing the dilemma of how their relatively small and poor countries could effectively deal with a developed Verecunda. The solution of that dilemma and its aftermath is the book’s stunning conclusion.
The conflict resolved, Terry finds herself dismissed from office as a result of internal Drahlan politics. However, Darlene brings her to Serelia to be her spiritual advisor. Serelia is an Anglican country, which puts Pentecostal Terry in a difficult position. Her position is further complicated by the sudden romantic interest of the Very Rev. Julian Lewis, the Cathedral’s organist and choirmaster. The resolution of this situation is a combination of painful and difficult choices and hilarious church and state politics in the midst of the romance of two lonely people.Note: At the Inlet has been blogged in its entirety and can be read by clicking here.
Now husband and wife, Terry and Julian live through both the challenges of married life and of Terry’s new status in Serelia. The difficulties of adjusting to their new life are overshadowed by events to the west, where officials of Verecundan’s old regime attempt to put together their realm again in the midst of the Island’s poorer and more unstable regions. Everyone is forced out of their “comfort zone” by this turn of events: George and Darlene by the developing treason of Darlene’s own father, Julian by the demands of national security, and Terry by her mission to find allies, which lands her in the middle of their enemies’ territory and literally at the point of death. (Book includes family trees of the main characters.)
This story takes place the fall after The Final Decision. It tells the story of two people, at opposite ends of the Island in every sense of the word, and how they respond to change in their lives. One, the very proper Anglican teenager Mary Gant, Darlene’s niece, is forced to deal with her father’s exile and mother’s remarriage, all the while caught up in school changes and the romantic interest of a classmate who is half East Indian and Pentecostal in a culture where both are a big deal. The other, the Wiccan Cybele Drummond, is a high official in the Verecundan government. Her exposure to the world beyond a reduced Verecunda and the murder of a close friend bring her to some very difficult choices and consequences.
So what’s the Island all about?
- Join the Conversation: Visit the Island Chronicles Blog
- History of the Island, with interactive map (best place to start; requires Flash)
- Claudian Immigration and the Lodge in Verecunda
- Education in Old Beran and Its Successors
- The Sensual Societies
- Verecundan Holidays
- Overview of the Church of Serelia (includes information on all of the Anglican stuff)
- Book of Common Prayer for the Church of Serelia (pdf format)