At times I review books provided to me free of charge from their publishers. With all the down time I've had lately, I've really enjoyed the opportunity to get caught up on a few of these. I just finished Wolf of Tebron, by CS Lakin, that could be described as a cross between Pilgrim's Progress and The Chronicles of Narnia.
What a spectacular book! I got caught up in this epic struggle in the very first chapter, and didn’t put the book down until I’d read it through. In this allegory, Joran, a simple young man, finds himself leaving the world he’s always known in search of his wife, who was captured by some force of magic. He is joined by a wolf who accompanies and guides him on his quest. Their adventures force Joran to confront his inner demons and embrace who he was meant to be.
This is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels. Parents who read this to young children will find them hanging on every word as Joran journeys around the world to free his captive wife, having interesting conversations with animals as he goes. Older children will understand that the struggle goes beyond his fight to liberate her, and is actually a battle within his own self. Teens and adults will recognize themselves in the classic war between flesh and spirit.
Sprinkled on every page are pertinent proverbs from various sources, making this not only a wonderful work of fiction, but practically a manual for wise living. The characters are cleverly named, causing a bit of foreshadowing throughout the developing story. For example, the wife who is kind and forgiving despite her husband’s failures, is named Charris, almost the Greek word charis, which means grace—unmerited favor. The South Wind is named Noommah, which is pronounced like its Greek counterpart, pneuma, meaning breath or spirit.
At the end are study questions, making this a perfect book club read or high school literature assignment. It would also make a wonderful family read-aloud, worth the effort to expound on the themes and discuss the practical applications. I've already passed this one to Caroline, who also gave it two thumbs up. A must read!